Spinach Bolani

Spinach Bolani

Walking around the farmers market, minding my own business, some guy calls me over for some samples. Sometimes instead of a hasty no-thank-you, I weasel out of trying samples by asking if it’s vegan. Usually it’s not. But sometimes, it’s like hitting a vegan food jackpot – like the bolanis and sauces from East and West Gourmet Afghan Food.

Bolani is a traditional Afghani thin flatbread stuffed with either spinach, potato, lentil or pumpkin and baked. Even though it’s low-fat, low-cal and low-carb, it’s very tasty as well as filling. One serving of the spinach bolani is just 103 calories.

Top with any one or a combination of their many sauces and spreads for a delicious layering of flavors. For the spreads, I got the Lentil Curry and Cilantro Pesto. The curry is not really spicy hot but it’s got plenty of taste. The pesto is also very nice and light as it’s made without any oil.

Spinach Bolani

Available at numerous farmers markets throughout Northern California and a few in Southern California, they’re very generous with their samples. They’ll just keep handing you sample after sample after sample. The only item that isn’t vegan is the Garlic Mint Cheese, but it is vegetarian.

Two bolanis come in each package for $6, the sauces and spreads are also the same price. But if you buy a few items, you’ll get a deal. I got 3 things for $15. Also available at NoCal Whole Foods, Andronico’s and Mollie Stone’s. But if you like to taste before you buy, the farmers market is really the way to go.

Update
While shopping at Whole Foods recently, I see that the bolanis there are $5.79, the spreads were $4.99 and the sweet jalapeño sauce was also $5.79. So it seems to be cheaper at Whole Foods if you just want to buy one or two items.

31 Comments so far

  1. Zoa on November 7th, 2010

    This looks great! I was in kind of a rut before VeganMoFo started this year, all stews and hot pots, but now…I had never heard of this dish before I saw it here, and I’ve already looked at bolani recipes…with the lentil curry spread it sounds like you got the best possible taste combination!

  2. Tiffany on November 7th, 2010

    The spinach bolani is so good! I may not be able to resist the free samples next time I hit up the farmers’ market, so perhaps I’ll try the pumpkin and potato bolani then haha. The eggplant spread and red pepper hummus are also really tasty.

  3. jessy on November 7th, 2010

    i’ve never heard of bolani before, they look and sound so wonderful! filling, delicious, low in carbs, fat and calories – wow! i’m impressed! oil-less pesto ‘n all. i’m gonna have to do some research to see if i can make some for dan, and perhaps a gluten-free version for myself. kick booty on a vegan farmer’s market find!

  4. Noelle on November 7th, 2010

    Looks so delicious!

  5. Amy on November 7th, 2010

    I’ve had the guy from this stand try to hand me samples, and I also initially backed out, assuming it wasn’t vegan. Those things are delicious though! I passed them up today because I thought they were high in calories – shocked to see how low-cal they are! I’ll have to pick some up next week, thanks for the tip!

  6. Andrea on November 7th, 2010

    This looks wonderful to me . I’m going to follow Zoa’s example and look up a recipe.

  7. dreaminitvegan on November 7th, 2010

    My mother-in-law just recently told me about this Afgani Spinach flatbread she tried at the Farmers Market but couldn’t think of the name. She brought me one of the sauces for it, it’s a sweet jalepeno sauce. It looks delicious!

  8. chow on November 8th, 2010

    Zoa – I’ve never heard of bolani before either until I tried a sample. I do like the spinach bolani with the lentil curry the best.

    Tiffany – I’m looking forward to trying out other combos too.

    jessy – It would be awesome to make your own, I’m sure they would be delicious.

    Noelle – It was yummy!

    Amy – I know! They taste so good, it’s hard to believe they’re low-cal.

    Andrea – I would do the same if it wasn’t so easy for me to just pick some up at the market.

    dreaminitvegan – I tried the sweet jalapeno sauce too. It was good!

  9. Jennifer on November 8th, 2010

    These remind me a bit of dosas.

    Three cheers for free samples of delicious vegan food!

  10. DJ Karma (VegSpinz) on November 8th, 2010

    OMG- are you talking about those guys at the Davis Farmer’s Market? We just got some this past weekend! Love your pics! :)

  11. KTBuns on November 8th, 2010

    Ohmygoodness, these look delicious!! *slobber*

  12. chow on November 8th, 2010

    Jennifer – They kinda do look a bit like dosas.

    DJ Karma (VegSpinz) – Yes! Those guys are at most farmers markets around here.

    KTBuns – They are yummy! :-)

  13. Cherine on November 9th, 2010

    This looks so good!

  14. Hannah on November 9th, 2010

    I heard about these and tried looking up recipes, but to no avail. They sound amazing… I wish someone could come up with a a copycat recipe though!

  15. Nicole on March 1st, 2011

    I was just thinking about the bolani’s that I purchased from this amazing family owned & run company (didn’t know it is called East and West Gourmet Afghan Food), googled the topic to see how they are made – and found your post. They make the best food, and they are so nice! I love shopping at their farmers market booths! :) Thanks for the post! Oh and I think the spinach bolani’s are the best:)

  16. Gauri Radha on May 6th, 2011

    Never heard of this item but it sounds really good.

  17. Staxy on May 22nd, 2011

    Just tried for the first time today at the farmers market-I’m hooked! Bought 2 spinach, 1 jar of the sweet jalapeño sauce, sun dried tomato spread and garlic mint cheese. It was $24 for all so they basically gave me one item free.

  18. Meghan on July 14th, 2011

    I love these. That same guy came into Whole Foods and started handing me sample after sample. I’ve been hooked for a year now!

  19. Lindsay on July 21st, 2011

    Their gracious representative gave me a generous sample at the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market and it was wonderful.

  20. Hwang on February 11th, 2012

    They were at COSTCOs – not sure if its a permanent thing or a special…but they were delicious!

  21. JDay on February 13th, 2012

    I am not vegan or vegetarian but I was introduced to this at the Delaire Farmer’s Market and walked away with a pack of Spinach Bolani and some of the sun-dried tomato pesto. It makes a really nice snack!

  22. rebecca @outinthemsticks on March 2nd, 2012

    I searched and there is no real recipe for this. I’d love to make this myself. :( I might have to start experimenting.

  23. 4pawhoward on March 7th, 2012

    I just tried the spinach bolani from Costco in SSF w/the garlic mint cheese, sweet jalapeno sauce,and pesto sauce and it was VERY yummy! It’s a great snack, and my picky in-laws also enjoyed it.

  24. Gloria Huerta on March 13th, 2012

    Oh my goodness! I had the same experience you describe. I went to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market for the first time and was super excited about it. It was an awesome experience. As I passed by the food stations … not really tempted to try anything…99.9 not vegan. Then, by chance, I happened to come across this same small, obscure stand. I asked: Is it vegan? YES! I bought one of each and am enjoying a lentil bolani right now, topped with a serving of zippy yams and collard greens. It’s like a turnover, but not “fried” or wreaking with oil. Definitely better than a Mexican quesadilla. It’s basically a flour tortilla recipe and you stuff it with your filling and cook it on a griddle. I’m going to try to duplicate this.

  25. Sharon on October 1st, 2012

    I was offered a taste at the Farmer’s Market like so many and now have to have some spinach bolani every couple of weeks. You can freeze them too.I did find a recipe online at this link for bolani…
    http://www.virtualafghans.com/culture/recipes/bolani.asp

  26. chow on October 4th, 2012

    Thanks Sharon for the link! I know quite a few people have been wondering how to make bolani. :-) It’s so good!

  27. Joanne on October 28th, 2012

    In Pittsburgh, we have a Middle Eastern bakery that stocks a very thin flat bread – whole wheat – called
    Markouk – it is frozen at our bakery – but I have been drizzling it with olive oil & a special spice blend called satsire – ???? – I think that’s what it is called??? But Marouk is whole wheat and very flat – I am going to try to fill it with any of your recipes – I’m excited to try but it is Sunday and it is pasta day in my country! Great idea though – Thanks!

  28. Alphonse da foodie on January 15th, 2013

    Costco stores are showcasing a delicious array of Bolani fare right now (15 Jan 2013) in my town of Rohnert Park, California. This stuff is insanely good!! Check your nearest Costco before the show leaves.

  29. Susan Ottmer on August 5th, 2013

    I love these Bolani! They are so good, and equally delicious with the sauces. I would love to get my hands on a gluten-free version, since I am gluten sensitive. I have seen them at Costco this summer a lot as well as at all the local farmer’s markets.
    (I live in Benicia, BTW)

  30. Gudrun F. on February 21st, 2014

    I do not usually buy already prepared food, and I am not vegan. But after trying this during a demonstration at Costco in Tigard OR…I am hooked and I hope it will be available from now on!!! The fellows handing out the samples were sooo nice and helpful. I bought 2 Spinach Bolani, and one 3-pack of condiments with Cilantro Pesto, Curry Lentil and Sweet Jalapeno….went right home and shared it with a friend ….forgot the sour cream but substituted (no fat) Greek Yoghurt I had on hand…….. Yummy!!! The prices are a bit higher than mentioned a couple of years ago (I paid $34,67)….not cheap…. but it was worth it.

  31. Mila on April 8th, 2014

    I have to get some of these- they look so good!

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