Growing up in a Lebanese family, we loved eating sambousek, which is a popular cheese-stuffed pastry that’s fried and fabulous and these zaatar spring rolls as a modern version of that. The traditional wrappers used for sambousek can be difficult to find, so my mom and I started making these in egg rolls – same great taste and more approachable!
What ingredients do you need for zaatar spring rolls?
For this sambousek recipe, I use halloumi cheese because it’s dubbed “the non-melting cheese”. It literally doesn’t melt so you can fry it, bake it, saute it and it will retain its shape! I also add mint leaves on the inside. Then I use wonton wrappers to wrap everything and sprinkle zaatar on the outside.
How do you make zaatar spring rolls?
Place a slice of cheese (about the thickness of your index finger) along with mint in the middle of the wonton wrapper. Then roll it up while slowly tucking in the corners as you roll. Then, I roll it up, spray it with olive oil and sprinkle the zaatar spice.
Next, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven, but you can also fry them if you prefer.
And this is what they look like fresh from the oven:
These zaatar spring rolls sambousek are golden crispy on the outside, soft and salty on the inside and utterly addicting all over! Dip them in my homemade labneh (Arabic yogurt cheese) for a perfect bite!
Tips for making zaatar spring rolls
- Thaw wraps at room temperature if using frozen ones. They stay more pliable that way as compared to quickly microwaving them. I found it’s the best way to make sure they don’t easily break while handling them.
- Fry them instead of baking them. For us, we love how these taste baked and the healthier alternative. However, if you prefer to fry these, you can heat the oil to 350°F and place rolls flaps down a few at a time in a large skillet, and fry until golden.
- Freeze before baking. Since I use halloumi cheese, which is non-melting, the cheese doesn’t usually ooze out. For most other firm white cheese, it may get melty and seep from the egg wrappers. So I would advise you to freeze the egg wrappers before baking in the oven to keep the cheese intact in the middle.
Frequently asked questions
Can I make these in advance and freeze?
Yes, you can prep these and roll them up and freeze them. After rolling them, lay them on a flat baking dish in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When frozen, place them in an airtight bag. Bake them while they’re frozen, but add an extra 5 minutes of bake time.
What’s the best way to reheat spring rolls?
We prefer reheating these spring rolls in the toaster oven. It takes a couple minutes, warms the cheese on the inside and then gives the best crispy edges on the outside.
More mediterranean recipes:
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Zaatar Spring Rolls
- 16 oz halloumi cheese or Syrian cheese soft white cheese like Ackawi
- 16 square 7-inch egg roll wrappers (I use Nasoya)
- 1 small bunch mint leaves roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup zaatar
- Small bowl of water for sealing edges
- Olive oil or cooking spray for coating
- Labneh yogurt cheese for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the halloumi or other white cheese block into slices about the size of your thumb.
- Arrange the egg roll wrappers on a dry cutting board or other working surface, and position them at an angle so that the corner of each wrapper is closest to you.
- Place a slice of the cheese at an angle in the lower third of each spring roll wrapper, and sprinkle with the fresh mint. Dab your fingers in the bowl of water and rub it around the edges.
- Beginning at the bottom angle closest to you, roll the wrapper up and fold the edges inward along the way. Roll the wrapper shut, adding a dab of extra water if needed. Press lightly to seal the edges together.
- Place the stuffed eggs rolls seam side down on the prepared baking dish, and repeat with the remaining wrappers until complete.
- Brush the egg rolls lightly with olive oil or coat them with cooking spray, then sprinkle the zaatar spice.
- Bake in the preheated oven until they are golden brown and crisped on the outside, about 15 minutes.
- Serve with labneh yogurt cheese, if desired.
- To freeze them prior to cooking, lay them on a flat baking dish in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When frozen, place them in an airtight bag. Bake them while they're frozen, but add an extra 5 minutes of bake time.
- To freeze them after cooking, simply store them in an airtight bag after they've cooled. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.