Afghan Bread with Spinach


Afghan bread and the seasoning zahtar are sold at Middle Eastern markets and some well-stocked supermarkets. For the bread, you may substitute pita loaves—plan to use the two-ounce size, one loaf per serving. As an alternate to zahtar, use your favorite seasoning mix, one that has plenty of flavor. Dried fruits such as dates, raisins and apricots, plus hot tea, complement this simple, light meal.

  • ServingsServings


  • 14-oz. loaf Afghan bread or 12-oz. pkg. pita loaves
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/4 lb. spinach, rinsed, stemmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup canned fava beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Zahtar to taste
  • 1 8-oz. container herb-flavored soy cream cheese
  • 4 to 5 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Open up and flatten Afghan bread loaf and slice into 2-oz sections; there will be one leftover section. Sprinkle with water and heat under broiler for about 30 seconds until softened. Remove from oven.
  3. Meanwhile, take rinsed spinach with water still on leaves and place in large pot. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and steam spinach over medium heat about 5 minutes, or until wilted, taking care not to scorch. Remove from heat, press firmly with tongs to press out excess water and drain carefully. Chop spinach and separate into 6 equal-sized portions.
  4. Mash fava beans coarsely with olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, zahtar, salt and pepper. Divide into 6 equal-sized portions.
  5. Using about 2 tablespoons per serving, spread bread slices with soy cream cheese. Then spread with mashed fava beans, covering the cream cheese well, and top with equal portions of well-drained spinach—if not well-drained, spinach could turn bread soggy. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Wine Suggestions

The slight acidity of the vinegar; the nuttiness of sesame oil, sesame seeds and zahtar; and the fresh taste of spinach match well with Isabel Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: Serves 6
  • Calories: 330
  • Carbohydrate Content: 38 g
  • Fat Content: 16 g
  • Fiber Content: 7 g
  • Protein Content: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 3 g
  • Sodium Content: 510 mg