Zaatar Spring Rolls (Sambousek)

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This zaatar spring rolls recipe is a Lebanese inspired appetizer that's savory, crunchy and incredibly easy to make! They are oven-baked and have a similar texture and flavor to Middle Eastern cheese sambousek, which are small cheese-filled pastries traditionally fried. This is my modern twist on a recipe I grew with!

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Zaatar Spring Rolls (Sambousek)

Growing up in a Lebanese family, we loved eating sambousek, which is a popular cheese-stuffed pastry that’s fried and fabulous. When we moved to the U.S., my mom started embracing alternatives to traditionally-fried foods, and we pretty much never did any deep frying in my house since then. It was something we enjoyed when we were out at restaurants but not so much at home. I remember when my mom first bought egg rolls wrappers from the store and made Chinese inspired spring rolls. Then another time she was missing a couple ingredients and made some substitutes, and again more substitutes until we started calling them surprise rolls (sambousek)! And one day, zaatar spring rolls were the best surprise ever!!

This zaatar spring rolls recipe is a Lebanese inspired appetizer that's savory, crunchy and incredibly easy to make! They are oven-baked and have a similar texture and flavor to Middle Eastern cheese sambousek, which are small cheese-filled pastries traditionally fried. This is my modern twist on a recipe I grew with!

Till this very day, we all love when my mom makes surprise spring rolls. And I started making them in my house as well because I could use leftover chicken, cheese, vegetables or whatever, roll them up, pop them in the oven and produce the best appetizers ever! For this sambousek reipe, I use halloumi cheese because it’s dubbed “the non-melting cheese”. It literally doesn’t melt so you can fry it, bake it, sautee it and it will retain its shape!

This zaatar spring rolls recipe is a Lebanese inspired appetizer that's savory, crunchy and incredibly easy to make! They are oven-baked and have a similar texture and flavor to Middle Eastern cheese sambousek, which are small cheese-filled pastries traditionally fried. This is my modern twist on a recipe I grew with!

These zaatar spring rolls sambousek that were inspired by my mom, are:

  • golden crispy on the outside
  • soft and salty on the inside
  • and utterly addicting all over!

Dip them in labneh yogurt for a perfect bite!

This zaatar spring rolls recipe is a Lebanese inspired appetizer that's savory, crunchy and incredibly easy to make! They are oven-baked and have a similar texture and flavor to Middle Eastern cheese sambousek, which are small cheese-filled pastries traditionally fried. This is my modern twist on a recipe I grew with!

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the halloumi or other white cheese block into slices about the size of your thumb.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Place the stuffed eggs rolls seam side down on the prepared baking dish, and repeat with the remaining wrappers until complete.
  6. Brush the egg rolls lightly with olive oil or coat them with cooking spray, then sprinkle the zaatar spice.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until they are golden brown and crisped on the outside, about 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with labneh yogurt cheese, if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • If you can’t find halloumi cheese or Syrian cheese, you can use any other table white cheese of your choice (like mozzarella). However, since these other cheeses will melt, I would advise you to freeze the egg wrappers before baking in the oven to keep the cheese intact in the middle. Or you can use a smaller size cheese portion in the wrapper.
  • For best results, I would recommend that you thaw wraps at room temperature before using so they don’t easily break while handling them.
  • 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.
  • If you have any leftovers, which is highly unlikely, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 7 days. You can reheat them in a toaster oven to get them crunchy again.

Comments

  • Reply
    Makos (@thehungrybites)
    March 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Hey Yumna! These look delicious!!!

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      March 15, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Hey! Thank you so much!!

  • Reply
    Amy
    March 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Definitely super easy to make every day . I enjoy it as a snack, as an appetizer & on the go meal.

  • Reply
    Salwa
    January 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Very appetizing, once you start you can’t stop.

  • Reply
    AJ
    January 19, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Amazing ????

  • Reply
    Wassim
    January 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    ????????????????????????????. So delicious!!!

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    January 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Zaatar is my favorite! I even add it to dressings and roasted potatoes!

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