One of my favourite things about making the transition towards a plant-based diet is that I get to recreate recipes from back home in vegan form. There are a lot of delicious traditional Arabic dishes that I often crave when I miss home. Most of which typically contain meat (like the Kibbeh Tray). But that shouldn’t get in the way of making them anyway…with some minor adjustments!
As we are approaching the Holidays, I figured I would share with you another childhood recipe that I am so thankful to have eaten hundreds of times. This Kibbeh Tray, with a touch of pumpkin, is a veganized version of the traditional Arabic dish. Made with a super flavourful chickpea walnut raisin filling, to substitute the traditional ground beef filling. Making it the ultimate vegan Arabic dish to serve for your Friendsgiving Dinner Party!
Let’s talk cooking!
Although it seems like there are a lot of steps to it, this recipe is actually quite simple and straight-forward. There are two main parts to making the dish: Kibbeh dough & the filling. The filling can be made ahead of time (stored in the fridge) for when you need it. The kibbeh dough does take some time to rest and rise, though preparing it is pretty easy!
Let me show you how here!
Preparing the kibbeh dough
Begin with mixing the bulgur, semolina, salt, cumin, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper in a large bowl. Top it off with hot boiling water until the mixture is fully covered. Give it a good mix to make sure all the bulgur and semolina are coated with the water.
Once coated, and the bulgur starts to rise, cover with food wrap, and let it rest for about 2 hours. The dough should then double in size, and all the water should be absorbed.
Preparing the filling
While the dough is resting, prepare the filling in a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion with the same spices as the kibbeh dough (adding cinnamon). Add the canned chickpeas and cook to soften for a few more minutes. Add in the crushed walnuts and raisins, and stir to finish it off.
Set it aside and let it cool down to room temperature. In a large baking pan, use a little oil spray around the dish, and start layering the filling. Push down with a spoon to form an even layer. Make sure to cover the edges tightly.
Kneading the kibbeh dough
After the resting is done and the dough is stiffed up, add in the pumpkin purée and knead (in the bowl) with your hands. Make sure to fully incorporate the purée into the dough.
Note: Preheat the oven to 375 F | 190 C at around this time.
Preparing the baking pan
Back to the baking pan with the filling, add half of the pumpkin kibbeh dough and gently spread it around the pan to cover the filling. After forming an even layer, add the rest of the dough and repeat. Making sure to spread it evenly, and cover the edges tightly here again.
Using a spatula, carefully create lines across the pan to form squares (like the pictures below). You can adjust the surface of the squares afterwards, to make sure the dough is flattened down, so it cooks evenly.
Bake & Separate
Top off each square with a walnut in the centre, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour – until the top is crusted and golden. Using a fork, gently poke and separate the kibbeh squares. Let it rest for a few minutes.
When it comes to serving the kibbeh, there is a variety of options you can go with. Enjoy it with a side of salad, sriracha yoghurt, rice or potatoes, or simply enjoy it as a standalone appetizer. Which is why it’s perfect for your Friendsgiving Dinner Party this Holiday! You can somewhat be certain that it will go with whatever else is being served at the table.
Thanksgiving isn’t a Holiday we celebrate back in Jordan. I haven’t personally heard of it until I moved to Canada. For me, I like to get together with my close ones to host a Friendsgiving Dinner Party. Where we catch up on things, share some delicious food, and give our thanks for one another.
This year of course, is a little different for many people. Where we are in quarantine and keeping distant from large social gatherings, this dish is also a good option to make for a smaller group, as any leftovers are great for a meal prep!
I served this delicious Pumpkin Kibbeh Tray alongside my Tabouleh – another childhood recipe that’s Holiday-Approved for this year’s Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all of you being here, joining me this journey, and I can’t wait to share more of my Vegan Arabic dishes soon! Happy Friendsgiving, friends!
Hope you give this recipe a try. I’m sure you will enjoy it! If you do, I would love to see your recreation and learn how it went. Leave me a comment here and tag me in your photos on Instagram/Facebook/TikTok @demeals.ca #demeals
Pumpkin Kibbeh Tray (Kibbet Elyaateen)
- Kibbeh Dough
1 Cup Bulgur
1 Cup Semolina
1 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Paprika
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Allspice
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Pumpkin Purée
- Chickpea Filling
2 Tbsp Veggie Oil
1 Diced Onion
2 Tsp Allspice
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Can Chickpeas – Drained & Rinsed
1/2 Cup Crushed Walnuts
1/2 Cup Raisins
- Preparing the kibbeh dough
- In a large bowl, mix all the kibbeh dough ingredients – except pumpkin purée.
- Top off the dough mixture with hot water until covered.
- Mix it up to make sure all is well coated, and the bulgur starts to rise.
- Cover with food wrap, and let it rest for 2 hours.
- Preparing the Filling
- While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. Heat the oil in a pan over med-high heat.
- Sauté the onion for 3-5 mins. Add in the spices and stir. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5-7 mins. Add the crushed walnuts and raisins. Stir and cook for an additional 2 mins.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool down to room temperature.
- Kneading the kibbeh dough
- Once all the water is absorbed and the dough is stiff, add in the pumpkin purée.
- Knead with your hands until the dough is well combined.
- Preparing the baking pan
- Preheat the oven to 375 F | 190 C.
- In a large baking pan, use a little oil spray all around the dish, layer the filling, and push down with a spoon to form it into an even layer.
- Add half the kibbeh dough mixture and spread around to cover the filling. Add the remaining dough and continue spreading evenly.
- Using a spatula, carefully poke lines across the dish, forming mini squares.
- Bake & Separate
- Top off each square with a walnut in the centre.
- Bake the kibbeh in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour – until the top is crusted and golden.
- Using a fork, poke and separate around each of the kibbeh squares.