Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways
Three delicious ways to enjoy Manakeesh, a traditional Arabic flatbread.
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5 from 3 votes

Arab, and Vegan? is a column by Waseem Hijazi that covers a range of topics that dive into the vegan Arab cuisine. It explores naturally-vegan Arabic recipes, and ways to veganize traditionally meat-based classics. In this installment, Waseem shares his recipe for Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) – 3 Ways.

Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) – 3 Ways

Manakeesh (or Manousheh for singular) are Arabic flatbread baked with dozens of different toppings. From the classic za’atar and olive oil spread, to herby cheesy variations, savoury meat or vegetable fillings, and much more. They’re often enjoyed for breakfast or lunch, especially on the weekends, where my whole family would get together to share food. They can be thin or thick, soft and pillowy, or with slightly crispy edges. Today I’m sharing 3 ways I’ve been enjoying them lately.


First is a vegan meat mixture. Similar to Lahmacun, this filling is used in an Arabic dish known as Sfeeha (or Lahm b Ajeen). Which translates to “Meat in Dough”. It’s an open-face meat pie, made vegan; using a homemade ‘meat’ mixture from mushrooms and TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). Next is the earthy spice mix of dried oregano and thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds (known as za’atar), mixed with extra virgin olive oil, for the simplest most perfect flavour combo. Last but not least, an herby cheesy two-ingredient topping; made of chopped parsley and dairy-free mozzarella shreds.

3 different toppings


While it can be convenient to use store-bought meat alternatives, you can also make your own at home with simple ingredients:

  • TVP: rehydrated in beefless broth.
  • Button mushrooms: blended up with the TVP.
  • Parsley: finely chopped curly parsley – stems included.
  • Beefless broth: or use vegetable broth with extra spices.
  • Pomegranate molasses: found at local Lebanese/Middle Eastern stores.
  • Tomato paste
  • Spice mix: seven spice, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt & pepper. Withoptional addition of cayenne pepper and Mediterranean spice blend, if available.

Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways- ingredients

Note: you may be left with extra filling, depending on the size of the rolled dough. 
 Store in air-tight container in the fridge to use later.


Using the same dough from the Fatayer Sabanekh (Spinach Pies). This versatile 6-ingredient dough works great for lots of home baking recipes. The thinner you roll each dough ball, the crispier the edges cook. Flatten down into a slightly thicker layer for a softer and airy insides.

dough balls on a plate


There are many ways to shape Manakeesh. The traditional circles for za’atar Manakeesh, oval- shaped Sfeeha, folded into stuffed boats and squares, among many others. Start by rolling into circles and ovals, then shape into mini Manakeesh for a shareable collection.

flatbread dough

Regardless which topping you choose, make sure to gently press it down onto the dough, brush it lightly, or generously stuff with the filling. That way it can stay sticking to the flatbread, and hold its shape when it’s baked. The ‘cheesy’ parsley Manousheh is an oval, pinched from it’s ends to stuff the filling into a boat. Or keep it flat to keep it simple!

Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways


Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways

Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways

5 from 3 votes
Three delicious ways to enjoy Manakeesh, a traditional Arabic flatbread.
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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Author: Waseem Hijazi
Servings: 18 Manakeesh


For the Dough:

  • 2 cups 250g all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup 50ml vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup 115ml water, lukewarm

For the Vegan Meat Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup dry TVP rehydrated per package instructions
  • 1/2 cup beefless broth or vegetable broth with extra spices
  • 4 115g button mushrooms
  • 40 g 1/2 bunch curly parsley, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 tsp seven spice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt & black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • Pinch of Mediterranean spice blend - if available

For the Za’atar Olive Oil:

  • 1/4 cup za’atar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Cheesy Parsley:

  • 50 g vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 20 g 1/4 bunch parsley, rinsed and dried


  • Preheat the oven to 350F (or 175C). Or use an air fryer with a bake option, reducing the time slightly.

Making the Dough:

  • Add the sifted flour to a large bowl. Mix in the instant yeast. Add the salt and sugar and whisk again, making a well in the centre.
  • Add the oil to the centre. Cover the flour on top and rub by hand to coat it all in oil. Go in with the water and knead to combine until smooth. It may look too wet at first and sticking to the fingers - that’s normal. Continue mixing and kneading to bring it together into a ball.
  • Gently push down with your fist to flatten down into the bowl. Cover with food wrap and kitchen towel. Rest in a warm place (inside the pantry cupboard), allowing it to rise for an hour to double in size.
  • Once the dough is ready, punch down and roll into a giant ball. Cut into 4 quarters, then continue cutting into 18 equal parts. Use a kitchen scale to weigh each for best results. Should be about 25g each. Form each into a ball, pinching the bottom and rolling to smoothen out. Place separated on a flat plate, and cover in food wrap to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Take one out - keeping the rest covered. Gently push with your fingers to flatten down. Roll out into a thin circle or oval using a rolling pin. Make sure to time this for when the fillings are ready to use.

Making the Vegan Meat Mixture - Makes 7 Pies:

  • Rehydrate the dry TVP with boiling beefless broth (or vegetable broth and extra spices). Simply stir and let sit for 10 minutes to absorb.
  • Gently rinse off the mushrooms and pat dry. Cut into slices and sauté with a little oil (or broth) for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Press down with a spatula near the end to remove excess liquids.
  • Add the parsley into a food processor (stems included). Blend until finely chopped. Add the TVP and mushrooms and blend again into crumbles. Go in with the remaining ingredients for a final blend - scraping down the sides as needed. It should be a thick paste-like mixture that sticks together.
  • Empty a heaping tablespoon of the filling on top of an oval-shaped dough. Gently press with the back of a spoon to spread around the edges.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges have a slightly golden crisp.

Making the Za’atar Olive Oil - Makes 7 Pies:

  • Mix the za’atar with olive oil in a bowl until it’s almost paste-like.
  • Spread a tablespoon’s worth on top of a circle dough, leaving a little space around the edges.
  • Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until dough is cooked through and it’s light and soft.

Making the Vegan Cheesy Parsley - Makes 4 Pies:

  • Add the parsley (stems included) to a food processor. Blend on high until finely chopped.
  • Add the dairy-free mozzarella shreds. Blend again to chop down into bits and combine with parsley.
  • Empty into a bowl. Add a heaping tablespoon on top of an oval-shaped dough. Gently press down with the back of a spoon, leaving space around the edges.
  • Fold each end by pinching the sides together, shaping into a triangular boat.
  • Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until cheese is melted and dough is baked.


  1. Make sure to weigh the ingredients - especially for the dough - for best results.
  1. The beefless broth adds a nice ‘meaty’ flavour to the TVP. If not available, simply replace with vegetable broth and add extra spices to the vegan meat mixture.
  2. You may have leftover ‘meat’ filling once you’ve used up all the dough. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge to use later.
  3. Baking times can be different for each of the 3 types of Manakeesh. The ‘meat’ one usually takes a couple extra minutes. While the cheesy filling may need less time to keep it nice and soft.
  4. Oven vs. Air fryer: I use an air fryer with a baking option. Using the same temperature as a preheated oven, but baking at less time (because of the smaller basket size). Adjust accordingly.
  5. The thinner you roll the dough, the crispier the edges get. Gently roll it out into a slightly thicker layer to keep it light, soft, and airy.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Manakeesh (Arabic Flatbread) - 3 Ways


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If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these Vegan Ghraybeh (Arabic Shortbread Cookies) by the same author. Click here for the recipe.

Ghraybeh | Arabic Shortbread Cookies

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Waseem hijazi



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