Fatayer Sabanek (Spinach Pastry)

Spinach stuffed pastry or Fatayer Sabanek can be eaten as a snack by itself or as a side in a meal. I have made Greek spinach pie spanakopita and we all loved it. When I found this recipe here I knew my family would love it.

The origins of fatayer is disputed as a lot of countries lay claim to it. It means pastry in Arabic and you will find it in a lot of the countries in the Middle East.

Fatayer is made using leavened dough. I had a little sourdough starter handy and decided to use it. Before commercial yeast became available all leavened dough was made using wild yeast starter. The resultant pastry was crunchy but soft on the inside.

When I made this as part of the meal I did not have the time to let the dough rise overnight so I used a scant half teaspoon of commercial instant yeast to help speed up the process on one batch of the dough. This batch I stuffed with spinach and flavored it with onion and a little salty cheese. The second batch of dough I left overnight in the refrigerator and made fatayer as a snack the next day. I did not add commercial yeast to this batch and I stuffed it with cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro.

You will need
For the dough
1/2 cup sourdough starter 78% hydration (increase flour by 1/2 cup if you want to skip this)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur whole white wheat)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup yogurt
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. instant dry yeast (if you skip the sourdough use 1 tsp. yeast)
1/2 tsp. sugar
Up to 1/2 cup warm water

For the spinach filling
1 bunch spinach
2 tbsp. onion
3 tbsp. cotija cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

For the cheese filling
1/4 cup cotija cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4-5 sprigs of cilantro, minced

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl. Add the oil and yogurt and combine with the flour. If you are not using sourdough starter you will need a half cup of water. If you are using sourdough starter use half the water and if needed add more, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough. Knead well and keep aside covered until it doubles in volume. If using sourdough you can keep it overnight in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to develop.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare the cheese filling by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep aside. Blanch the spinach and drain. Heat the blanched spinach in a pan until all the water evaporates. Cool. Combine with the other ingredients and keep aside until needed.

Transfer the risen dough to a working surface and cut into lime sized portions. Roll one portion to form a disc. Place the filling in the center.

Bring up two sides as shown in the picture below.

Pull up the bottom to form a triangle.

Pinch the seams to seal them. If the dough is dry use a little water to seal the seam shut. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Continue with the remaining portions. I made some with spinach filling and others with cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Broil for one minute.



  1. Nice spinach filling. Fatayer looks delicious and must taste a lot like samosa.

  2. Another interesting dish to make..pls send send these for the anniversary party event..thanks..

  3. very nice, loved the fact these are like samosas but healthier...

  4. I wanted to make these, but all the recipes were with phyllo, which we don't get here...love the homemade dough and folding style.good one.

  5. REally good dish and the filling is definably a yum one.

  6. Thanks you for posting this. I made it using frozen / thawed spinach, feta instead of the cotija, and sautéing some garlic with the onion. The pastry is wonderful: crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside as you described, and it was a good use of my sourdough starter. I am about to make this a second time and might use the dough for potato samosas as well as spinach pies. I never manage to get samosa dough right, but this seems like it would work great for them.


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