Pumpkin Kibbeh by Zaatar and Zaytoun - Lebanese Recipes (2024)

Pumpkin Kibbeh is another Lebanese speciality that everyone looks forward to, usually because you can only have it at certain times of the year.

It follows a similar method to the standard kibbeh bil sanieh, one of our most popular recipes, so if you have attempted that I would definitely give this one a go.

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The other great thing about this pumpkin kibbeh recipe is that it is completely vegan before it became a thing, making it a great centrepiece for a vegan feast at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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The pumpkin

My mum's recipe uses more pumpkin than other ones you might find, as it gives it more flavour and turns out less dry.

Pumpkins are in season from October to December. Go for pumpkins that have smooth firm skin and feel dense when you pick them up.

Although Halloween pumpkins are popular, it is best to buy ones that are more suitable for cooking.

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You will need a very sturdy sharp knife to cut into it. Start by carving it in half and then big wedges, which you can peel and chop into chunks.

You will need around 1.5kg of pumpkin for 1 tray of kibbeh. If your pumpkin is larger, you can always still cook the rest for use in soups or stews or put it in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week.

Another good storage option is to freeze them for use later in the year.

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The filling

The filling for pumpkin kibbeh is sour and savoury to balance out the sweetness of the pumpkin and has lots of sumac and pomegranate molasses in it along with earthy spices.

Start the filling by sautéing a couple of onions until golden, before adding chickpeas and walnuts.

The walnuts are crushed to a coarse consistency to give a nice contrast in texture. You can do this either by and or pulsing using a food processor.

Some people add spinach to the filling or make a meat based one but I think this chickpea walnut one is the best.

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The Spices

Kibbeh spices are very important in making a successful kibbeh. You might want to prepare the various spice mixes the day before to save you some time.

In addition to Lebanese seven spice mix, full recipe which can be found here on the blog, you will also need to have a kamouneh spice blend (made just using ground spices) and also kamouneh mix for kibbeh (which is combined with herbs, onions and bulgur wheat).

I have written all of these spice blends on the blog for you in full but as a summary, kamouneh mix can be made as below:

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Kamouneh mix for kibbeh:

  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1small red onion
  • ½white onion
  • ¼cupof fresh mint
  • ¼cupfresh parsley
  • ¼cupfresh basil
  • 1tbspdried marjoram
  • 1tbspdried mint
  • 3tbspkamouneh spices
  • 1tbsp7 spice
  • 2tspsalt
  • 2tspground cinnamon
  • 1tspblack pepper
  • 1tspwhite pepper
  • ½birds eye chilli
  • 1cupfine bulgur wheat

The casing

Kibbeh casings always use fine bulgur wheat. These are readily available in Middle Eastern grocery shops.

Never use coarse bulgur wheat or your kibbeh will come out chunky and fluffy as opposed to refined and elegant.

The casing is pretty straightforward to make. Once you boil the pumpkin and drain it, simply add it to the bulgur wheat with a few spices and cilantro (fresh coriander).

The art of the kibbeh is to get a good ratio of casing to filling. The kibbeh casing layers shouldn't be much more than approximately ½ cm thick which means your kibbeh won't be too dense.

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Top tips for making pumpkin kibbeh

Pumpkin kibbeh needs time and patience to get right. You can't rush the process so make sure you have a few hours to spare.

You can use the seeds to make a salty snack by drying them out and roasting them later.

The spicing is vital so make sure you prepare all your spice blends prepared beforehand or it might get overwhelming.

Always cut up the kibbeh before you add the thin film of oil. If you are going to freeze an extra tray of kibbeh, you can add the oil before it goes into the oven.

Actually, it's a good idea to make a double batch of kibbeh as it's a little messy and you can have an instant gourmet meal for later.

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📖 Recipe

Pumpkin Kibbeh by Zaatar and Zaytoun - Lebanese Recipes (10)

5 from 6 votes


Pumpkin Kibbeh

Vegan Pumpkin kibbeh with a chickpea walnut filling

CourseMain Course


KeywordHealthy, vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time 1 hour

Cook Time 40 minutes

Servings 8

Author Zaatar and Zaytoun


For the pumpkin filling

  • 4onionssliced into strips
  • ¼cupregular olive oil
  • 250gcooked chickpeasdrained
  • 1teaspoondried coriander
  • ½teaspoonturmeric
  • ½teaspoonblack pepper
  • 1teaspoonkamouneh spice blend
  • 1teaspoon7 spice
  • ½teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 2tablespoonsumac
  • 3tablespoonpomegranate molasses
  • 100gwalnutscoarsely crushed
  • ½cupof kamouneh mixsee full recipe on blog
  • ½tablespoonsaltapprox

For the pumpkin casing

  • 1.5kgof pumpkinpeeled into chunks
  • 2.5cupsof fine bulgur wheat
  • ½cupchopped cilantrofresh coriander
  • 2tablespoonplain all purpose flour
  • 1cupkamouneh mix
  • 1tablespoonsalt approx
  • Small bowl of vegetable oil


To make the filling

  1. Cut the onion in half, then slice into thin strips. In a wide deep pan, add ¼ cup of regular olive oil and sauté until golden for at least 20 minutes, stirring every so often to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan

  2. Add the drained cooked chickpeas, dried coriander, turmeric, black pepper, 7 spice, and ½ tablespoon of salt and sauté for another 10 minutes or so on low heat

  3. Add the walnuts, sumac, pomegranate molasses and ½ cup of kamouneh mix. Sauté for another few minutes then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary before turning off the heat. Cover and set aside

To make the pumpkin casing

  1. Peel the pumpkin and chop roughly into 2 inch chunks. Transfer to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil for around 45 minutes

  2. Drain the pumpkin in a colander and transfer to a large bowl with the bulgur wheat, along with a cup of the kamouneh mix, chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and just under a tablespoon of salt

  3. Mash all the ingredients together using a potato masher until there are no large pumpkin lumps. Taste a bit and adjust the seasoning if necessary

To assemble the pumpkin kibbeh

  1. Add some vegetable oil to a small bowl (for dipping your hands into to avoid sticking) and position on the table. Preheat the oven to 200C (390F)

  2. Brush the bottom of a wide baking dish with some vegetable oil, then take a good handful of pumpkin casing and using your hands flatten into approximately ½ cm layer and add to the bottom of the dish

  3. When you finish the first layer of pumpkin casing, use your hands to compress it down firmly but gently and smooth it out

  4. Then add a layer of filling and smooth out using a spoon as much as possible

  5. Repeat the layer of pumpkin casing, dipping your hand occasionally into the oil to avoid sticking and smooth out the top layer

  6. Using a sharp knife cut into squares. Then drizzle a thin film of vegetable oil on top and tilt to make sure all is coated

  7. Bake for around 40 minutes until golden, turning if you have to ¾ of the way to get an even bake.

  8. Serve with a green salad or yoghurt and cucumber .

Recipe Notes

For the kamouneh mix and kamouneh spice blend, see the full recipe on the Zaatar and Zaytoun blog

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If you make any of our recipes let us know how it went by giving us a star rating below.

We have a livelyFacebook groupwhere we post frequent recipes and discuss Lebanese cooking in general, as well as a handyPinterest pagewhere you can save all of your favourite Zaatar and Zaytoun recipes.

You might also like these recipes from the Zaatar and Zaytoun collection:

  • Lebanese Kibbeh Recipe (Fried Kibbe Balls)
  • Kamouneh Mix for Kibbeh
  • Kamouneh Spice Blend (Kibbeh Spices)
  • Kibbeh bil Sanieh (Baked Kibbeh)
Pumpkin Kibbeh by Zaatar and Zaytoun - Lebanese Recipes (2024)


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