Open cauliflower pies – Sfiha


Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 12 pies :

the simplest things are often the best, and the “sfiha” also called Arab pizza is one of my favourites recipes from “Falastin” cookbook.

What is sfiha ? 

Sfiha or sfeeha in arabic صفيحة‎ , is a dish consisting of flatbread cooked with a minced meat topping, often lamb flavored with onion, tomato, pine nuts, and spices.

It’s traditionally found in the countries of the levant, and is closely related to manakish and lahm bi’ajin  لحم بالعجين .

The recipe of the day :

In his book, Sami Tamimi call the “Sfiha” “open pie”. He proposes two toppings to choose, depending on if you’re a veggie or a meat person. I tried the “open meat pies”, during last ramadan, it was so delicious. So this time, I decided to go with the vegetarian version made with cauliflower, red pepper and onions, wonderfully flavoured with “baharat” composed of cardamom, cumin, paprika and turmeric.

The “Sfiha” goes perfectly with a simple green salad or a soup like this wonderful “butternut squash and saffron soup”.

How to make this amazing “Sfiha” ?

Making “Sfiha” has two parts :  first thing is the dough, which has a nice color from turmeric, soft, malleable and very easy to make. Once baked its crisp at the edges and softens as you reach the center. Second part, the topping composed with an amazing cauliflower mixture. Which is roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes with the red peppers and the onion flavoured with baharat. Once baked we add the lemon juice and the tahini.

I added some pine nuts and parmesan cheese, I just loved it. 

Sometimes instead of making pizza I go for this amazing “Sfiha” recipe. I found that’s the best way to make my 4 year old twin boys eat some veggies.

View Print Layout
Print Recipe
Close Print

Open cauliflower pies - Sfiha

  • Prep time: 40 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Serves: 12 pies :

Rest time 1h30.
The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge after proving. Just bring it back to room temperature the day you are rolling it out.


Dough :

  • 1-1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 170 ml lukewarm water
  • 320 g plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp milk powder , (dried skimmed milk)
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric, (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • salt

Veggie topping :

  • 500 g cauliflower , into roughly 5cm florets and any stalk cut into 1cm pieces
  • 180 g onion , large, thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, halved, core and seeds removed and then thinly sliced (200g)
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, or 1/3 tsp regular chilli flakes
  • 3/4 tsp baharat
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric , powder
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 g parsley , finely chopped
  • salt

Baharat :

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika


  • 1)

    First thing to do is to make the dough.
    In a small bowl, put the dried yeast, the sugar and the water, whisk to combine. And set aside for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble.

  • 2)

    In the bowl of a free – standing mixer fitted with the hook, mix the flour, the milk powder, the salt and the turmeric ( if using ), for 1 minute just to incorporate. 

  • 3)

    Then add the yeast mixture, followed by both oil. Work on a low speed to bring everything toghether it will take 2 minutes. Then increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for about 6 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic.
    It will feel very soft almost sticky, but this how it should be.
    Tip the dough to a clean work surface and bring together to form a ball. Grease the mixing bowl with 1 Tbsp of oil and return the dough to the bowl. Turn It a couple of time so that it’s completely coated in oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, set aside somewhere warm for 1 hour, until the dough is doubled in size.

  • 4)

    Meanwhile prepare the veggies :
    Preheat the oven to 180C fan.
    Put the cauliflower, onion, peppers oil and spices into a large mixing bowl with 3/4 tsp of salt. Mix well, then spread out in parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.


  • 5)

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, the chop the cauliflower Into 1/2 cm chunks. Finely chop the peppers, you can keep the skin. Place all the vegetables in a mixing bowl, add the tahini, the lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 tsp of salt. Mix to combine, and set aside.
    Weigh your dough, then roll it out into a shape of sausage, and cut into 12 even pieces about 46g each depending of the weight of your dough.
    Roll each pice into a ball, place on a large plate or tray, cover  a clean tea towel and set aside for 20 minutes rest.

  • 6)

    Preheat the oven to 200C fan. (180C fan for me ).
    Arrange the gh ball on a large tray or two lined with baking paper, space well apart.
    Using your fingerflatten each ball into a round disc, about 10cm wide and 2-3 mm thick. 

  • 7)

    Spoon 2 heaped tablespoons (about 50g) of topping Into the center of each disc and spread it outevenlyleaving 1cm border clean around the edge. Set aside for anotherr 10 minutes.

  • 8)

    Bake for 17-18 minutes, rotating the trays around halfway through o even witching around the position of the trays  if it looks like the pies on the top tray are taking too much colour (if you used 2 trays), or until the sfiha are cooked and the edges are golden brown.
    Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature, with a wedge of lemon alongside.


    Enjoy !!

Tricks & Tips :

  • The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge after proving. Just bring it back to room temperature the day you are rolling it out.
  • You can also  the pies up In full, topping and all, and freeze them before baking. They can go to the oven straight from the freezer.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous recipe Next recipe