Spinach and Cheese Turkish Pizzas

In Istanbul, there’s usually a queue for this filling flatbread with cheese and spinach fillings or countless other variations.

You can make your own dough (instructions below), or buy two uncooked pizza bases from your supermarket or deli, cut them in half (depending on the size), then shape, fill and bake.

Serves: 4


  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 200ml warm water
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • polenta, for dusting

Egg wash

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Spinach and cheese filling

  • 400g spinach, boiled and chopped
  • 500g cheddar, or any hard Turkish-style or Greek cheese, grated


Put the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, stir well and leave for 15 minutes or until it becomes frothy. Sift the flour and salt in a separate, large bowl and mix. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast solution into the well. Mix well with your hands until you get a dough-like consistency, adding a little more water if necessary. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, sprinkling with extra flour if the dough is too sticky. Grease the inside of a large bowl with a little olive oil and put the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave the dough to rise for about one hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees Celsius.

For the egg wash, combine the beaten egg and olive oil in a small bowl.

To start making the pizza, turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down gently to release the air. Knead it into a cylinder shape and divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten. Roll out each disc into a flatbread about 40cm long and 15cm wide and as thin as you possibly can. Pinch the dough along the sides and end to make an oval boat shape.

Add the spinach and cheese filling into the dough. Brush the edges with the egg wash and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

Dust with polenta and bake for 10–15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.


Recipe taken from Eat Istanbul by Andy Harris

Intrepid food and travel writer Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus reveal the wonderful tastes and exotic allure of Istanbul, one of the world’s most fascinating cities. These recipes reveal the heart and soul of Turkish cuisine and range from breakfasts through to salads, soups, easy lunches and fast suppers to celebratory dishes for special occasions. Enticing dishes include roast chicken and pilaf, imam bayildi, cheese and spinach pide and fried mussel rolls or Turkish po-boys along with classic mezze plates, kofte and delicate honey-soaked pastries. Simple substitutions are also given for those ingredients that are less widely available.

You can purchase Eat Istanbul at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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