Spinach Sambusak (Savory Middle Eastern Pastry)

By • August 27, 2013 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is made from a yeast dough, rather than the more typical non-leavened olive oil dough. It's a middle eastern turnover filled with a savory combination of spinach, onions and pine nuts. It's adapted from a recipe in Gil Mark's "Olive Trees & Honey." Sambusak can be served as a side dish, main dish or appetizer. This recipe makes approximately 30 side-dish size pastries. Ann Goldman


Makes approximately 30 side-dish size pieces


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (one package)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 3-4 tablespoons sesame seeds (black or white) or za'ataar

Spinach Filling

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 16 ounces defrosted frozen or fresh steamed spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (more if you like)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Make the dough:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and water. Mix at low speed.
  3. Combine oil and salt. Pour into mixing bowl
  4. Increase mixing speed and mix until a shaggy dough is formed. About 4-5 minutes.
  5. Gather the dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about an hour in a draft -free place or place in refrigerator and let rise overnight. Bring to room temperature before you roll it out.
  6. Prepare the filling:
  7. Heat the oil, saute the onion until translucent.
  8. Add the spinach, lemon juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Stir and cook until dry. Cool the mixture.
  9. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.
  10. Prepare to roll out the dough. Divide into 4 pieces. Dust your work surface with flour.
  11. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/4" thick.
  12. Using a biscuit cutter or a 2 inch diameter glass cut out rounds of dough. Gather up scraps, place back into the mixing bowl to rest. It will be easier to re-roll the pieces of scraps if they have rested and the gluten has rested.
  13. Take one round of dough, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center.
  14. Fold one edge over , pinch the dough edge. Working around the edges, pinch together to form a half-moon shape.
  15. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process. Fill the baking sheet with approximately 10-12 pastries. This recipe will make approximately 30 2 inch diameter pieces.
  16. Wash each piece with egg white and sprinkle with seeds or za'ataar.
  17. Bake 20-22 minutes until light golden. Cool the sambusak on the baking sheet.
  18. Serve at room temperature or store in closed container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
  19. Sambusak can be frozen; double wrap and store for up to one month.

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