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Homemade Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer bi Sabanekh)

It's been a while since I've shared one of mama's chaotic Lebanese recipes. Well, I needed to get one more in before the new year. I can't think of a better one to share than homemade spinach pies. I have to tell you...I absolutely love spinach pies. They are so tasty and it's so hard for me to eat just one. It's one of the few bakery items that don't do it justice. The difference between the homemade versions and the ones you get at the bakery is so significant. You really can't get better than homemade Lebanese spinach pies aka fatayer bi sabanekh. It's a lot of prep work and there is a lot going on at the same time. That's why I call it chaotic. But, don't be intimidated. Have fun, get in there and try out the delicious chaos.

REASONS YOU SHOULD TRY THIS RECIPE:

  • homemade spinach pies are way better than the bakeries
  • easy to work with dough
  • an amazingly flavorful filling and light flaky bread

INGREDIENTS FOR THESE HOMEMADE SPINACH PIES:

DOUGH

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour or 2 lb 7 oz sifted
  • 2 cups leban Middle Eastern yogurt, room temp
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • ½ cup warm water 105°F
  • pinch of granulated sugar

FILLING

  • 4 large red onions chopped small dice
  • 2 bags of spinach each bag is 2 lbs 4.4 oz, washed, dried and chopped
  • ¼ cup sumac
  • ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pomegranate molasses to taste (optional)

HOW TO MAKE MY Homemade Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer bi Sabanekh)

DOUGH:

  • Pour and sift the flour into a very large bowl.
  • Pour out leban into a bowl and stir until smooth. Make sure the leban is at room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water and the instant yeast. Add a small pinch of sugar. Stir to combine and until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. If the yeast mixture bubbles up, proceed. If not, dump it out and use newer yeast. Into the bowl of flour, add in the yeast mixture, leban, and olive oil. Use the cup of warm water to wet your hands while kneading or pour it in directly while mixing.
  • Begin to mix with your hands. Fold and knead for about five minutes or until the dough comes together and is smooth. You can pour a little bit of olive oil over the top and cover the bowl with aluminum foil and then a heavy towel. Set aside in a warm spot and allow it to proof for about 30-40 minutes.

Filling:

  • In the meantime, you can work on your filling. Start by placing your spinach in a colander and thoroughly washing the spinach. You can also save some time by buying some prewashed spinach.
  • Once the spinach is washed, set aside over a bowl to allow the excess water to drip. Once dry, begin to roughly chiffonade chop the spinach, and set the chopped spinach in a large clean bowl.
  • Once all your spinach is chopped and in a bowl, you can start to grab palm-sized handfuls and begin to wring out the excess liquid from the spinach into the sink or a separate bowl.
  • Make sure to have a new bowl for your wrung-out spinach.
  • If 30-40 minutes have passed at this point, check on the dough and shift your focus on that. If not, continue working on the filling. Now that the spinach is prepped, we need to chop the red onions into a small dice. We also place the onions in a colander so excess liquid can drip out. You can use a paper towel to assist in pushing out any excess liquid. Set aside once the onions are prepped.

Back to the Dough:

  • Our dough has now been proofed and is ready to be shaped.
  • Start by flouring your surface well. Next, begin to pinch off a small section of dough (roughly a handful) and begin to pinch in the dough underneath until a smooth ball of dough forms. It's a similar process to when you're making pizza. Continue this until all the dough is balled up. Cover the dough with foil that is greased with oil and then a towel over that. Make sure there is space in between each dough ball as they will slightly expand during the second proof. We want them to proof a second time for about 20-25 minutes.

Filling:

  • Now that our dough is on its second proof, we can focus back on the filling. Our ingredients are prepped and now all we have to do is season and mix. Dump the spinach and onions into the largest bowl or bucket you have. This makes a ton of filling. Add the salt, lemon juice, sumac, and olive oil.
  • Mix thoroughly, yet gently until everything is uniform and combined.
  • I can't emphasize this enough, taste the filling! We did taste it a few times before it got to what we liked. You have to taste for salt but also for the other ingredients. It may need more sumac, lemon, or salt depending on your taste. We like it slightly sour so we always add more of a bit of everything. If you do decide to add more of something in, make sure to give it a thorough mix again before re-tasting.
  • Once mixed, pour the filling into a colander over the sink or over a bowl so the excess liquid can drip down. You can do this in sections since there is a lot of filling. I'd leave it for about five minutes for each section. Then pour into a separate clean bowl. Continue this process until all of the spinach mixture has had the excess liquid drained. Set aside the spinach mixture when done.

Assembly:

  • Uncover the dough balls. Take one dough ball and using a rolling pin, begin to roll out the dough into a small square shape. You want it large enough to where you can cut out a few circles from it. You also want to roll it very thinly.
  • Using a 3" round cutter, begin to cut out circles. Cut as many circles out of the square as you can and set them aside.
  • Note: Ours may look bigger in the picture below because initially we were using a larger cutter but decided 3" is ideal later on.
  • Into the center of the circle, spoon a large tablespoon of filling. Take each side of the circle and bring it to the middle. Begin to pinch to form a closing at the top. It should look like a triangle when finished. Continue to cut out and shape the pies until you have enough to fill a parchment-lined and lightly greased sheet tray.
  • You don't want to shape them too far in advance as the liquid in the filling may cause the dough to weep.

Baking:

  • Bake at 375°F for about 40-45 minutes or until slightly golden brown and the dough is cooked.
  • Note: You can use an egg wash for more color, but we choose not to with these.
  • Once they are cooked, move them to a wire rack to cool slightly and continue cutting, shaping, and cooking the rest. This recipe makes a lot of spinach pies so be prepared for that. You can eat these cold, warm, room temp, or hot. We enjoy them best slightly warm or at room temp. Enjoy!
homemade spinach pies
MORE GREAT LEBANESE RECIPES:

Sayadieh Lebanese Fish and Rice

Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Lebanese Spinach Pies

fharajli
Homemade spinach pies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Lebanese

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour or 2 lb 7 oz sifted
  • 2 cups leban Middle Eastern yogurt, room temp
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • ½ cup warm water 105°F
  • pinch of granulated sugar

Filling

  • 4 large red onions chopped small dice
  • 2 bags of spinach each bag is 2 lbs 4.4 oz, washed, dried and chopped
  • ¼ cup sumac
  • ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pomegranate molasses to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Pour and sift the flour into a very large bowl.
  • Pour out leban into a bowl and stir until smooth. Make sure the leban is room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water and the instant yeast. Add a small pinch of sugar. Stir to combine and until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. If the yeast mixture bubbles up, proceed. If not, dump it out and use newer yeast. Into the bowl of flour, add in the yeast mixture, leban, and olive oil. Use the cup of warm water to wet your hands while kneading or pour it in directly while mixing.
  • Begin to mix with your hands. Fold and knead for about five minutes or until the dough comes together and is smooth. You can pour a little bit of olive oil over the top and cover the bowl with aluminum foil and then a heavy towel. Set aside in a warm spot and allow it to proof for about 30-40 minutes.
  • In the meantime, you can work on your filling. Start by placing your spinach in a colander and thoroughly washing the spinach. You can also save some time by buying some prewashed spinach.
  • Once the spinach is washed, set aside over a bowl to allow the excess water to drip. Once dry, begin to roughly chiffonade chop the spinach, and set the chopped spinach in a large clean bowl.
  • Once all your spinach is chopped and in a bowl, you can start to grab palm-sized handfuls and begin to wring out the excess liquid from the spinach into the sink or a separate bowl.
  • Make sure to have a new bowl for your wrung-out spinach.
  • If 30-40 minutes have passed at this point, check on the dough and shift your focus on that. If not, continue working on the filling. Now that the spinach is prepped, we need to chop the red onions into a small dice. We also place the onions in a colander so excess liquid can drip out. You can use a paper towel to assist in pushing out any excess liquid. Set aside once the onions are prepped.
  • Our dough has now been proofed and is ready to be shaped. Start by flouring your surface well. Next, begin to pinch off a small section of dough (roughly a handful) and begin to pinch in the dough underneath until a smooth ball of dough forms. It's a similar process to when you're making pizza. Continue this until all the dough is balled up. Cover the dough with foil that is greased with oil and then a towel over that. Make sure there is space in between each dough ball as they will slightly expand during the second proof. We want them to proof a second time for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Now that our dough is on its second proof, we can focus back on the filling. Our ingredients are prepped and now all we have to do is season and mix. Dump the spinach and onions into the largest bowl or bucket you have. This makes a ton of filling. Add the salt, lemon juice, sumac, and olive oil.
  • Mix thoroughly, yet gently until everything is uniform and combined. I can't emphasize this enough, taste the filling! We did taste it a few times before it got to what we liked. You have to taste for salt but also for the other ingredients. It may need more sumac, lemon, or salt depending on your taste. We like it slightly sour so we always add more of a bit of everything. If you do decide to add more of something in, make sure to give it a thorough mix again before re-tasting.
  • Once mixed, pour the filling into a colander over the sink or over a bowl so the excess liquid can drip down. You can do this in sections since there is a lot of filling. I'd leave it for about five minutes for each section. Then pour into a separate clean bowl. Continue this process until all of the spinach mixture has had the excess liquid drained. Set aside the spinach mixture when done.
  • Uncover the dough balls. Take one dough ball and using a rolling pin, begin to roll out the dough into a small square shape. You want it large enough to where you can cut out a few circles from it. You also want to roll it very thinly.
  • Using a 3" round cutter, begin to cut out circles. Cut as many circles out of the square as you can and set them aside.
  • Into the center of the circle, spoon a large tablespoon of filling. Take each side of the circle and bring it to the middle. Begin to pinch to form a closing at the top. It should look like a triangle when finished. Continue to cut out and shape the pies until you have enough to fill a parchment-lined and lightly greased sheet tray.
  • Bake at 375°F for about 40-45 minutes or until slightly golden brown and the dough is cooked.
  • Once they are cooked, move them to a wire rack to cool slightly and continue cutting, shaping, and cooking the rest. This recipe makes a lot of spinach pies so be prepared for that. You can eat these cold, warm, room temp or hot. We enjoy them best slightly warm or at room temp. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • *Be sure to use the same mug or cup to measure everything including the flour, leban, olive oil, water, lemon juice, etc.
  • Traditionally, you may find pomegranate molasses in these, but my family doesn't like it so we leave it out. Feel free to add a bit to the spinach mixture if you'd like
  • These can be eaten warm, room temp, cold or hot.
  • Best the day they're made.
  • You can use an egg wash for more color, but we don't suggest it.
  • Taste your filling!

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