Simply Lebanese

Spinach Fatayer

Spinach Fatayer
  • Prep Time
    2.75 hrs
  • Cook Time
    15 mins
  • Serving
    8
Fatayer are a staple of Lebanese cuisine. The variety of fillings are endless! The most popular ones you will find daily at local bakeries in Lebanon are sabenekh (Spinach) and lahme (Meat).
Spinach Fatayer

Spinach Fatayer are a staple of Levantine cuisine. Homemade dough stuffed with fresh spinach, onions, and other delicious ingredients, these are truly irresistible. A delicious mezze, these fatayer are found alongside the classic appetizers of hummus, lahm bi ajeen and kibbe. 

Fatayer are Middle-Eastern savory pies that can be stuffed with a variety of stuffings, most popular being spinach or meat. Triangular in shape, these pies are the perfect appetizer, mezze and finger food! In Lebanon, these spinach pies are known as Fatayer bi sabanekh. 

Homemade Dough

I want to mention that while homemade dough may seem very intimidating, I swear to you that it is A LOT easier than you might think. However, if you do not have the time to prepare homemade dough, you can easily substitute pre-made dough. Pizza dough from the supermarket works wonderfully, as well as frozen rolls, or even the biscuit dough found in the refrigerated section at the supermarket.

Spinach Fatayer

I begin the homemade dough by warming up a half a cup of milk until it is warm to the touch but not too hot. If the milk is too hot, the yeast will not proof. In a large bowl mix the warm milk with sugar and yeast. I use whatever milk I have on hand which tends to be 1 or 2% but whole milk works even better. Wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to double in size. Once the yeast has doubled, add half the bread flour and start mixing. You definitely can substitute bread flour with all purpose flour. 

I use my stand mixer using the dough hook attachment and start with a speed setting of 2. If you do not have a stand mixer, this can be done in a food processor (how my mother does it) or by hand. Slowly add the other half of cup of milk, vegetable oil, salt and the rest of the flour. Higher the speed and knead the dough until it all comes together. There should be nothing sticking to the bowl. If there is, and you feel like the dough is sticky, then it needs more flour. Add one tablespoon at a time until it comes together. If you feel like the dough is too dry and not coming together, then add a tablespoon of water at time until it comes together. The dough will rise twice in about an hour and a half timeframe.

The Spinach filling

I love to use fresh spinach when available, but, do use frozen spinach as well if I do not have any fresh spinach on hand. Since spinach retains SO much water, the frozen spinach needs to thaw fully and drained from all its liquid before using. For the fresh spinach, I roughly chop the spinach and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle some salt and let sit for at least 10 minutes to help draw out all the liquid. Then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This step is very important to prevent watery pies. 

Spinach Fatayer

You can shape the pies as small or as large as you like. The filling is also quite versatile. The chopped onions are a must, but tomatoes are optional. The fatayer come together pretty quickly and in only 12 minutes in the oven, you have yourself your first batch!

Fatayer can be served warm or at room temperature. To freeze for the near future, just wait until they are room temperature and place in a freezer safe bag. When you are ready to eat, thaw out to room temperature or you can warm them in a 200F oven.

Spinach Fatayer

STEP 1 - Preparing the Dough

Mix half a cup of warm milk with sugar and yeast. Wait 10 min. for yeast to double in size.

Once the yeast has foamed and doubled in size, add salt, and half of the flour. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add the vegetable oil, rest of the milk and flour. Higher the speed and let knead until the dough comes together.

Remove the dough from the mixer and form a ball using excess flour. Place the dough back in the ball and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm area for about 1 hour to rise.

STEP 2

Once the dough has doubled in size, form into 2 inch balls using excess flour. You should get about 18-24 dough balls.

Spinach Fatayer

Cover with kitchen towel for another 30 min to rise again.

Spinach Fatayer

STEP 3

While the dough is rising, prepare the spinach filling. If using fresh spinach, roughly chop and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt.

Set aside for 10 minutes, then squeeze the spinach dry. If using frozen spinach, thaw out then squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside.

STEP 4

Chop the onion and tomato finely. Add to the spinach along with the olive oil, black pepper, 7 spices and sumac.

Spinach Fatayer

Juice a lemon and add it to the filling right before stuffing so filling does not get too wet. Taste for seasoning.

Spinach Fatayer

STEP 5

Preheat the oven to 425F and place oven rack in the middle. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

STEP 6 - Spinach Filling

Roll out the dough to a 5-inch circle.

Spinach Fatayer

Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle. Bring 2 sides together and pinch to close. Bring the third side up so it looks like a triangle and pinch to close well.

Place on baking sheet.

Spinach Fatayer

STEP 7

Whisk 1 egg well.Using a pastry brush, brush all the fatayer on the sheet right before putting in the oven.

*If you want this recipe to be vegetarian/vegan, skip this step.

STEP 8

Bake for 12 minutes. Depending on how hot your oven runs, give or take a couple minutes so start checking on them at the 10-minute mark.

They should be a beautiful golden brown.

Spinach Fatayer
Spinach Fatayer

Spinach Fatayer

Fatayer are a staple of Lebanese cuisine. The variety of fillings are endless! The most popular ones you will find daily at local bakeries in Lebanon are sabenekh (Spinach) and lahme (Meat).
4.61 from 41 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: fatayer, fatyer, sabanekh, spinach
Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 315kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 3 cups Bread Flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Active Yeast
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tb. Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

Spinach Filling

  • 2 10 oz. Spinach Bags or Frozen
  • 1 med. Onion
  • 1 sm. Tomato (Optional)
  • 2 tb. Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon (Juiced)
  • 2 tb. Sumac
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. 7 Spices

Instructions

  • Mix half a cup of warm milk with sugar and yeast. Wait 5 minutes for yeast to double in size.
  • Once the yeast has foamed and doubled in size, add salt, and half of the flour. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add the vegetable oil, rest of the milk and flour. Higher the speed and let knead until the dough comes together.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer and form a ball using excess flour. Place the dough back in the ball and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm area for about 1 hour to rise. 
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, form into 2 inch balls using excess flour. You should get about 18-24 dough balls. Cover with kitchen towel for another 30 min to rise again.
  • While the dough is rising, prepare the spinach filling. If using fresh spinach, roughly chop and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, then squeeze the spinach dry. If using frozen spinach, thaw out then squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside. 
  • Chop the onion and tomato (optional) finely. Add to the spinach along with the olive oil, black pepper, 7 spices and sumac.
  • Juice a lemon and add it to the filling right before stuffing so filling does not get too wet. Taste for seasoning.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F and place oven rack in the middle. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  • Roll out the dough to a 5-inch circle. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle. Bring 2 sides together and pinch to close. Bring the third side up so it looks like a triangle and pinch to close well. Place on baking sheet.
  • Whisk 1 egg well. Using a pastry brush, brush all the fatayer on the sheet right before putting in the oven. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.  

Notes

Fatayer can be served warm or at room temperature. To freeze for the near future, just wait until they are room temperature and place in a freezer safe bag. When you are ready to eat, thaw out to room temperature or you can warm them in a 200F oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ve been trying different fatayer recipes for years and yours is by far my most favourite one. I use your 7 Spice mixture as a reference to make some for this recipe as well and it’s become one of my family’s favourite recipes. Thank you!

      • Iman

        That is wonderful! Thank you!

    • Nair N

      5 stars
      Thank you , this was so easy to make and so delicious . The dough came out so good . My family loved it .

      • Iman

        Thank you, so glad you liked it!

    • Taylor

      5 stars
      Thank you for this recipe! My great aunt used to use frozen dough when we made fatayer. It always worked well but there’s no substitute (in my mind) for home made dough. The dough always turns out so well and I like to experiment with not so classic combinations when I have some left over after stuffing. I truly appreciate your blog and all of your recipes!

      • Iman

        Thank you for your sweet words, I am glad you enjoy it!

    • Saara

      5 stars
      Made this today and it is delicious! The whole house smelled amazing while they were in the oven. I had to do a different filling (can’t have spinach) but it turned out so good, hubby is already asking for more. The step by step instructions are very useful. Thanks for a great recipe!

      • Iman

        So glad you enjoyed them!

    • Kat C

      Thanks Iman for firstly, posting this recipe! Unfortunately, my dough didn’t double in size, and so I figured my yeast must be bad or the milk not warm enough etc.! I just tested the yeast in warm water, and it seems to fizzle and double so I can assume it’s fine. Would you recommended increasing the yeast amount in this recipe? Not sure why my dough didn’t rise! :/

      Was really looking forward to this one – will try it again!

      Thanks,
      Kat

      • Iman

        Is your yeast old? Many don’t realize, but yeast actually expires! Also, make sure the environment you place the dough in to rise is warm. If your kitchen runs colder, I would heat the oven to 200F, turn it off then place your dough in there for 30 minutes (with oven OFF). It should be warm enough for your dough to rise. Hope these tips help!

    • Mich

      So you don’t cook the spinach? It does not say in your recipe.

      • Iman

        No, I do not cook the spinach, no need!

    • Carla

      When I was younger I worked in a pizza restaurant that was Lebanese owned. His parents would stop in for a visit when they came over from Lebanon. When his mother would come in she always made different foods and would let me try them. My favorite was the spinach, tomato & onion bundles. I just googled what they were called ‘Fatayer” and it listed 7 spices in the recipe, but didn’t tell what the spices were. Thank you for listing them. I have all the spices in my cupboard. I’ve been telling my kids about them for years so now that I have ALL the components I look forward to making the tasty treats from my past. THANKS

      • Iman

        What a wonderful story, I am so happy you found my recipe and I hope you love it!

    • Dennis T.

      You state that the chopped spinach should have 1 tsp of salt added to draw out
      the water. In the ingredient mixture should another tsp of salt be used or does
      it only need to come from the salted spinach ?

      We made this once already and it was just fine without added salt but I want to
      get this done the best way. I am 71 now but between the ages of 13-18 I spent
      many a day with 2 Lebanese families and I learned to love the food. When I was in Vietnam the Adib Nemer family sent me pita bread which got very stale in transit and a large jar of Syrian olives. What a fine surprise that was.

      • Iman

        Yes, you should add another teaspoon of salt to the filling, but also taste the filling for preference!
        What a beautiful past you spoke of as well, thanks for sharing.. Middle-eastern food really is so wonderful.

    • Roba Khachfe

      4 stars
      Hi,

      So I’ve noticed that with all purpose flour using 2 and half cups is better than 3, I’ve made the recipe twice and regret using 3 cups of all purpose flour, I also added pomegranate juice instead of lemon. But it was a helpful recipe thanks.

    • Amal

      Hello, what a nice recipe! I want to ask how much ml a cup is? Thank you!

      • Iman

        Hello, to be honest I am not sure but, you can google specific quantities like 1 cup flour into ML and get the correct quantities. Good luck!

    • Khaled

      Hi Iman,

      I made your recipe and it’s fantastic. The dough is amazing, thanks so much for sharing!

      • Iman

        So glad you enjoyed it!!

    • Khaled

      Hi Iman,

      Does the dough stay soft after baking with your recipe? All the fatayer I’ve made always come out crusty. Also what temperature should I set the oven to? Can’t wait to try your recipe.

      Many thanks,

      Khaled

      • Iman

        Yes, they do stay soft! I have listed in the directions, temp is 425, unless your oven runs hotter I would start at 400, enjoy!

        • Khaled

          Thanks so much and Happy Holidays!

    • Pat

      My fatayer open a bit as they bake eventhough I repinch them before baking. What would explain this?

      • Iman

        One explanation could be if you let the dough rise too much? You should work with the dough as soon as it is fully rises.

    • Leroy

      What are the 7 spices you mentioned in the Ingredients?
      I like the recipe .

      • Iman

        Seven spices are a Middle-eastern spice blend. You can find it pre-made at any Middle-Eastern grocery store or online. If you’d like to make the mix yourself, I have a full recipe– https://www.simplyleb.com/seven-spices/

        • Rebekah

          It didn’t look like I could comment on the seven spices page, so leaving it here – the article says to use a half portion of cloves, but the recipe lists a full teaspoon like all the other spices.

          • Iman

            You are correct, it is only 1/2 tsp. of cloves, I will correct it in the ingredients list ASAP, thank you!

    • Novellian

      4 stars
      What about adding tahini paste with the spinach? My mother did do and it was just out of this world:)

      • Iman

        Ohhh I have never heard of that, but sounds delicious! Ill have to try it one day..

    • Maribel

      5 stars
      Simple and easy steps to follow up.

      • Iman

        Thank you, glad you think so!

    • Miriam

      As a full-blood Lebanese, I was surprised to read Yolzy’s comment that added tomatoes are ‘not the proper way’, as mother and grandmother (plus other relatives) always added tomato.

      • Iman

        I guess it depends on the village or part of Lebanon you come from!! Glad you enjoy it with tomatoes as well!

    • alicia

      4 stars
      These were really good- we just had so much leftover spinach filling for the amount dough. So, we served the spinach filling as a side salad to go along with the spinach pies!

      • Iman

        Oh, I am thinking you did not stuff them as much as I do maybe, to have so much extra filling? Nevertheless, glad you enjoyed it!

    • Yolzy

      Why add tomatoes? It’s not the proper way..mum never added it

      • Iman

        It delicious with tomatoes! But, as I stated in the post, the tomatoes are optional. I like to add them for extra flavor, but you do not have to if you dont like!

    • Abhay

      5 stars
      This was the first time I made a dough from scratch, and it was near-perfect 🙂 Thank you so much for the recipe, Iman!

      • Iman

        thank you so much, you’re so sweet!

    • Yousra

      Hi, what if we don’t have bread flour here in Egypt? What do I do? Use plain flour and add baking powder? ?

      • Iman

        You can just use regular all-purpose flour, no need to add anything extra to it!!! It’ll work wonderfully as well.

    • Tmac

      Hi, is that supposed to be 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon sugar for the dough. Thanks.

      • Iman

        Hi! It is 1 tablespoon of sugar. Tb=tablespoon, tsp=teaspoon! Enjoy!

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