Beef sambousek, also known as beef samboosa, or sambousek lahmeh, is a beloved Middle Eastern appetizer and side. Typically, this pastry is stuffed with a spiced meat filling and deep fried. However, for this recipe; I use puff pastry sheets and bake the beef sambousek; giving you a healthier result that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or crunch.
These meat pastries are on most Middle Eastern spreads, especially for special occasions. These are almost always prepped before Ramadan and cooked throughout the Holy month to enjoy. They make for a delicious and quick appetizer and/or side with most meals. I personally love dipping them in cucumber yogurt salad.
How to make Beef Sambousek?
- Prepare the filling. This is just sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, followed by adding ground beef and seasonings such as seven spices, salt, and pepper. Pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, toasted nuts, and parsley are added for flavor. Set that to the side.
- Thaw & Roll Puff Pastry. I purchase Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets conveniently found in most supermarkets. Let the sheets thaw enough, roughly 30-40 minutes, and roll out more. Use a 3-inch or 4-inch round cookie cutter to make circles. This is the signature look for beef sambousek. However, you can cut it into squares and fold them to create a triangular shape.
- Stuff & shape. Add a spoonful of filling in the center and fold the prepared discs like an empanada. Crimp the edges with your finger and then a fork to ensure it is closed shut.
- Freeze or Bake. You can freeze them by following the instructions below or bake them immediately until golden brown and crisp.
Is Beef Sambousek Freezer-friendly?
YES! I think that is partially the reason why they are so loved. The fact you can make these ahead of time is such a convenience. Another time saver for this particular recipe is using store-bought puff pastry rather than making your own dough. Puff pastry works excellently in achieving a flaky, crispy result without frying so much less mess and healthier.
To freeze these puff pastry beef sambousek, stuff and shape them, lay them flat on a baking pan, and place them in the freezer until frozen. At this point, these are raw – not baked. Once frozen, add them to a freezer bag or airtight container to store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you need them, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake from frozen. Ir is really that simple!
Be sure to check out my Beef Sambousek video below! For the best viewing experience, watch the video in full-screen mode!
Other make-ahead Appetizers:
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- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Small onion,finely diced
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 tbsp Seven Spice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/2 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
- 1/4 cup Toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts
- 2 tbsp Parsley, chopped
- 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed cut into 3 or 4 inch discs
- Egg wash- 1 egg with 1 tbsp heavy cream or half n half mixed
- Flaky Salt
- First, prepare the beef filling by sauteeing the onions and garlic in olive oil until transulecent and fragrant.
- Add the ground beef to this and season generously with salt, pepper, and 7 spice. Stir and break the ground beef apart into smaller pieces. Cook for a few minutes until completely browned.
- Add the pomegranate molasses and tomato paste to the beef and mix well. Lastly, fold in the toasted nuts and parsley. Taste and adjust with more seasonings if necessary. Set the beef filling to the side.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheet a bit thinner and cut into 3 or 4 inch discs with either a round cookie cutter or using a small bowl as your stencil with a knife.
- In each disc, add a spoonful of the filling in the center. Then, fold over and seal the empanada with your fingers by rpessing down at the seans,
- Repeat this step until either puff pastry or filling is done. Then, using a fork; place indents into the pressed seems to further close the puff pastry dough ensuring it will not open while baking.
- Brush a thin layer of eggwash onto each puff pastry. Sprinkle each with flaky salt on top. Don't miss this step-it makes a diffrence in taste!
- Bake in the preheated 425 F oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Enjoy these warm! See notes below on storage and freezing details.