Turkish Ispanakli Gozleme: Spinach-Filled Flat Bread

This versatile flat bread (gozleme) is common to many parts of Turkey and is often made at home but can also be found in cafes. Creamy spinach wrapped by grilled flat bread — sound delicious? I don’t want to give away the ending to this post but let’s just say it is worth making again. But, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care for spinach there are many different ways you can fill the flat bread: minced beef and pine nuts, eggs, shredded chicken, etc.

I am enjoying the Turkish cookbook and the picture of these Turkish flat breads made me instantly hungry. I love bread in all of its glorious forms, especially when grilled or fried. The creamy spinach filling looked good too, but for me this recipe is all about the bread.

Spinach-Filled Flat Bread
adapted from The Food and Cooking of Turkey

Flat Bread

1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dining
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
scant 1/2 cup water

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Use your fingers to create a small well in the center of the flour. Add the water and oil to the well. Using your fingers, begin stirring in the center of the well and slowly move outward until all of the flour in combined.

When the dough forms and the flour is integrated, tip the dough onto a flat surface and knead until smooth (about 3 minutes or so). Cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll into small balls. Place on a floured surface and cover with a moist towel for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, begin making the spinach filling.

Spinach Filling

10 oz. fresh spinach
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan (or kasar peynir)
salt and pepper to taste
4 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

Place the spinach in a steamer and steam until spinach wilts. Remove the spinach and run under cold water, then drain and squeeze dry. Roughly chop the spinach. ‘Roughly’ sounds so abusive. Don’t abuse your spinach but instead chop it into large pieces.

Melt butter in a small pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in the spinach, paprika and red pepper flakes. Next, add the flour and milk, stirring until the mix thickens. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Grilling the Flat Bread

Working on a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball into a circle 6-8″ in diameter. Heat a griddle over medium to medium-high heat and brush will a little olive oil once it is hot. Depending on the size of your griddle, place 1-2 flat bread onto the griddle and cook for about 1 minute on the first side. You will see bubbles in the dough as it begins to puff up. Brush with a bit of olive oil, then flip the bread. Cook for an additional 1-2 on the second side. Place cooked flat breads on a piece of parchment paper.

While still hot, place some of the spinach mixture down the center of the flat bread and top with slices of boiled eggs. Roll up the sides of the flat bread and wrap with parchment to make it easier to eat. Repeat with remaining flat breads.

We enjoyed these alot and can see how they would make for a perfect mid-day lunch. The spinach is creamy and savory, a simple and delicious filling. The eggs were added in order to bulk this up to a dinnertime meal. The parchment wrapping made it so much easier to eat as the filling would have slid out otherwise.

In case you have any leftover flat bread (or wish to bypass the spinach), you can simply drizzle the hot bread with honey, a few crushed pistachios and a pinch of cinnamon. It makes for a simple and amazing sweet treat. In retrospect, I could have made a meal of the sweet version instead and been a happy man!

Apparently, I’m not the only blogger who has come across this wonderful dish. Nearly all of the english recipes I found online for ispanakli gozleme were based on this same recipe from the cookbook I purchased. Gozleme are versatile and can have many ingredients aside from spinach – you’ll find more beautiful gozleme here and here. And of course, you can gain more inspiration for Turkish cuisine from Cenk of Cafe Fernando.

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  1. Hey, you’re making bread again! Not a yeasted bread, but still I do love it when that happens :) And what a wonderful wrap (pardon those who despise that term, I have no idea what else to call it in English) you’ve made here! I am a spinach-lover and I would gladly eat it anytime :)

  2. Peter G: We share a ‘brotherhood of the bread’ :-)

    Manggy: I know, I’m slowly working myself back to a few shameless carbs.

    Cenk: Thank you! I look forward to your upcoming Turkish recipes. I’m only just beginning to learn more about Turkish cuisine but every recipe I come across excites me. Maybe I was Turkish in a former life :-)

    Kat: Thanks!

  3. We just had these for our lunch (including the honey and pistachio ones for dessert), they were fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!

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