Sambousek with Meat: A Savory Middle Eastern Appetizer

Meat Dishes

sambousek with meat
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Sambousek with meat is a delicious Middle Eastern appetizer that is usually served during festive occasions or as a snack. It is a pastry that is filled with a savory mixture of ground beef, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices. The pastry is then baked until golden brown, giving it a crispy texture that complements the juicy filling.

Only a few ingredients are required, available in most grocery stores. You will need all-purpose flour, kosher salt, vegetable oil, and water for the dough. You will need olive oil, onions, garlic, ground beef, baharat spice mix, pomegranate molasses, pine nuts, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper for the beef filling.

This is a fun and easy activity that you can do with your family or friends. Whether you are an experienced cook or a beginner, this recipe will impress your guests and leave them craving for more. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!

History of Sambousek


The word “sambousek” comes from Persian, where “sanbosag” means “triangle.” The pastry is typically has a triangular or half-moon shape and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.

Sambousek was probably introduced to the Levant region during the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over the area for centuries. The Ottomans brought with them a variety of culinary influences, including the use of phyllo dough in pastries.

Regional Variations

While sambousek is popular throughout the Levant region, there are regional variations in both the filling and the pastry dough. In Lebanon, sambousek is often filled with ground beef or lamb, onions, and spices, and is made with a dough similar to that of a pie crust.

In Syria, sambousek is typically filled with cheese or spinach and is made with a dough similar to that of a samosa. However, Jordanians, fill it with a mixture of ground meat and pine nuts and make it with a dough similar to a dumpling.

Regardless of the regional variation, it remains a popular appetizer in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often served at family gatherings and special occasions.



  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of water

Beef Filling

How to Make Sambousek with Meat?

Making the dough:

  1. Combine flour, salt, oil, and water in a large bowl. Mix it well until you can form a dough ball.
  2. If the dough feels dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Once you have a ball, dust it with flour, cover it, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Preparing the filling:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and cook it until it’s browned.
  3. Next, add baharat, pomegranate molasses, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Sauté for a few more minutes.

Assembling and frying:

  1. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half on a floured surface to ⅛ inch thickness.
  2. If the dough is difficult to roll, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.
  3. Use a large cookie cutter or bowl to cut out 4-inch dough rounds. Reroll scraps to make more rounds.
  4. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of a dough round. Fold it in half to make a half-moon shape.
  5. Seal the edges by pressing with your hand or a fork, or by twisting the edge.
  6. Heat oil in a fryer or pot to 350°F. Fry the sambousek in batches until golden brown (2-4 minutes per side).
  7. Drain excess oil on a paper towel-lined dish.

Serving Suggestions

Dipping Sauces

One of the best things about this sambousek is that it pairs well with a variety of dipping sauces. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Tahini Sauce: Made from ground sesame seeds, lemon juice, and garlic, tahini sauce is a classic Middle Eastern condiment that goes perfectly with sambousek. Its creamy texture and nutty flavor complement the savory meat filling.
  • Garlic Yogurt Sauce: This tangy sauce mixes plain yogurt with minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt. It adds a refreshing contrast to the rich sambousek.
  • Harissa Mayo:  Harissa Mayo is a great choice for those who like a little heat. Simply mix mayonnaise with harissa paste (a spicy North African condiment made from chili peppers, garlic, and other spices) to create a creamy, slightly spicy dip.

Side Dishes

While this can be a satisfying meal on its own, it’s always nice to have some side dishes to round out the meal. Here are a few options that I think work particularly well:

  • Tabbouleh: This refreshing salad is made from parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat, all tossed together with lemon juice and olive oil. Its bright flavors and crunchy texture provide a nice contrast to the warm, savory sambousek.
  • Hummus: A classic Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, hummus is always a crowd-pleaser. Its creamy texture and mild flavor make it the perfect complement to sambousek.
  • Fattoush: This salad is made from lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and toasted pita bread, all tossed together with a tangy dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac. Its crispy, crunchy texture, and bright, fresh flavors make it a great side dish for sambousek.

Nutritional Information


One piece of this sambousek contains around 190-200 calories. While this may seem like a lot, it’s important to remember that this is a snack or appetizer, not a full meal.


Sambousek can be high in fat, depending on the type of meat used and how it’s cooked. Beef and lamb are both higher in fat than chicken or turkey, so keep that in mind when choosing your filling. Baking or air frying sambousek can help reduce the fat content compared to deep frying.


One piece of this sambousek contains around 5-7 grams of protein, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.


Sambousek is made with a dough that is typically high in carbohydrates. However, the amount of carbs can vary depending on the recipe and how much filling is used. The carbohydrate amount in this recipe is around 18 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals

This pastry doesn’t provide a significant amount of vitamins or minerals, but it can be a good source of iron and zinc if made with red meat.

Cultural Significance

Festivals and Celebrations

this pastry is often served during festivals and celebrations in the Middle East. It is a staple at weddings, family gatherings, and other special occasions. The dish is a symbol of hospitality and generosity, and it is often served as a way to welcome guests and show appreciation.

During Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, it is a popular dish for breaking the fast. It is often served alongside other traditional foods such as dates and lentil soup. This dish has become an integral part of the Ramadan experience for many people in the Middle East.

Sambousek in Popular Culture

It has also made its way into popular culture. Many street vendors in the Middle East sell this as a snack by the roadside.

In recent years, it has gained popularity outside of the Middle East. Many restaurants worldwide offer this dish on their menus, and it has become a favorite among foodies and culinary enthusiasts.

Variations of Sambousek

As a popular Middle Eastern snack, it has been enjoyed by many people. However, some variations of sambousek cater to different dietary preferences and tastes. In this section, I will discuss two main variations of sambousek: vegetarian alternatives and size and shape variations.

Vegetarian Alternatives

For those who prefer a vegetarian diet, sambousek can also be made without meat. Instead of meat, some common fillings include cheese, spinach, or potatoes. Vegetarian sambousek can be just as delicious and satisfying as the meat-filled version, and it is a great option for those who want to try something different.

Size and Shape Variations

Sambousek can come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the region and the occasion. The most common shape is a triangle, but sambousek can also be made into circles, squares, or even crescents. The size of sambousek can also vary from bite-sized to larger portions. In some regions, sambousek is served as a main dish, while in others it is served as a snack or appetizer.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storage Tips:

  • Store sambousek in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help prevent them from drying out and keep them fresh for up to 3 days.
  • It’s also possible to freeze it for up to 2 months. Just be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing them in a freezer-safe container.
  • When thawing frozen sambousek, do so in the refrigerator overnight. This will help maintain their texture and prevent them from becoming soggy.

Reheating Tips:

  • To reheat sambousek, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the sambousek on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
  • You can also reheat sambousek in a toaster oven or microwave. However, this may result in a less crispy texture.
  • Avoid reheating it in the microwave if possible, as it may make them soggy and affect their texture.


Sambousek with meat is a delicious and easy-to-prepare dish perfect for any occasion. The combination of crispy pastry and savory meat filling makes it a crowd-pleaser that will impress your family and guests.

To make the perfect sambousek, it is important to use high-quality ingredients and follow the recipe closely. Be sure to use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor and depth to the filling. Also, properly seal the pastry to prevent any leaks during baking.

If you are looking for a dish that is both tasty and easy to prepare, sambousek with meat is an excellent choice. Whether you are hosting a party or just looking for a quick and delicious meal, this dish is sure to satisfy. So why not give it a try today and see for yourself how delicious it can be?

As written above, tahini is perfect for dipping your sambousek.
Get its recipe now (by clicking the image below):
simple tahini sauce

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