Pumpkin Kibbeh Pie with Walnuts and Caramelised Onions

Kibbeh can be approached in over 20 different ways. The sheer variety of kibbeh in Lebanese cuisine is what makes most people consider it Lebanon’s national dish. There is raw goat kibbeh, kibbeh meat balls, chickpea kibbeh, potato kibbeh, pumpkin kibbeh, lentil kibbeh, sweet potato kibbeh, rice kibbeh, and the cooking methods include boiling, baking grilling and frying. So in essence, kibbeh is not a singular dish, rather a family of dishes that share a commonality. The basic approach is the mixing of a binding agent (be it meat or a mealy grain or vegetable) with burghul and spices. At its most basic form, raw kibbeh is a fine paste of (traditionally) goat’s meat with burghul, salt and allspice.

I’ve written before about pumpkin kibbeh, which to me is the queen of kibbeh. I moved away from the traditional approach for this recipe. Instead of boiling the pumpkin, I roasted it at 200c with olive oil and salt. The roasting concentrated the sweetness and added the complexity of caramelisation. To complement the sweetness, I caramelised 3 large onions with star anise until they became beautifully dark. Star anise has an affinity with caramelised onions and takes them to a whole different level. This dish proves two things. First, it proves that my design skills are terrible – I can’t draw for shit. Second, it shows that vegetarian dishes can, if done correctly, outshine meat any day. Seriously, this dish is a must try. Give it a go.

Pumpkin Kibbeh Recipe


  • 1 medium sized butternut pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 to 2 cups white burghul (depends on how much you like)
  • Flour (around 4 tbsp)
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 star anise wrapped in muslin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pepper


Slice the pumpkin, toss in olive oil and salt and bake at 200c until soft and slightly blistered. In the meantime, slice the onions and fry in olive oil with the star anise and a touch of salt on low heat, stirring occasionally until caramelised. Roast the walnuts for 5 minutes in the oven. When the pumpkin is cooked, cool it down and remove the flesh from the skin. Discard the skin. Mash the flesh into a pulp and squeeze through a clean pillow case or something similar, removing as much liquid as possible. Mix the cinnamon and pepper with the pumpkin flesh and add the burghul. Leave for 15 minutes to allow the burghul to soften. Add enough flour to to the pumpkin and burghul to bind it. Oil a cake tin and put half the pumpkin mixture on the bottom, flattening it evenly. Mix the walnuts and the onions, adding them on top of the pumpkin, discarding the star anise. Use the remaining pumpkin and create a layer above the walnuts and onions. Make a pretty design, brush with olive oil and bake on 200c for around 30 minutes, until the surface is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool it down. This pumpkin kibbeh pie is best eaten at room temperature.



  • Thank You for your great article we make most of our food fresh in our restaurant. It is great to find a resource to add to our variety.

  • This looks and sounds amazing, Fouad! Bookmarking as the perfect thing to cook for a good vegetarian friend of mine who’s moving back to Oz shortly after several years overseas. Thanks!

  • This is one of the most original recipes I’ve seen in a long time. I did a double take when I saw pumpkin and kibbeh in the same title. I have one Queensland Blue pumpkin left in the pantry and this recipe is likely to be its destiny. Warm regards from the Pacific Northwest. Great blog!

  • Beautiful kibbeh Fouad and next time I make it you bet i will try your technique~ which sounds excellent. I think you are being hard on yourself: the design looks excellent to me, beautiful in an organic way;

  • Hi Fouad – love reading your blog. Thanks for this recipe – have just eaten vegetarian baked kibbeh (bought from the great food store Oasis in suburban Melbourne), which was ok, but this recipe sounds great and I’ll certainly be making it.

  • I just made this Fouad and it was great! And so incredibly filling. My pumpkin must have been on the dry side because I didn’t need to squeeze any moisture out or use any flour, which of course made the whole process even easier. And your design on top left mine for dead!

  • Well done Fouad, ad don’t sell yourself short – it looks great.
    As a confirmed pumpkin adict, this will be made here this week!

  • I am obsessed with pumpkin at the moment and this sounds really interesting and looks delicious. I might try it.

  • Hi Fouad, Love your beautiful pumpkin kibbe – looks appetising and easy.
    Are you interested in Ayurvedic cooking? I have cured some serious indigestion with it.
    A friend of mine has a great businessfor sale: Pharaoh’s Pantry, a Middle eastern grocery store in Mullumbimby. Maybe you have a young energetic foodie friend who would be interested in a great village life style near the coast. I can see them selling warm m’naish, fresh labne, tabbouleh, fatousch….
    Anyway thanks for your passionate blog -keep it up.
    Sahtein to you and your fans,

  • Hi Stephanie. I’m so glad you tried it! If you found it too heavy, try using less burghul next time. Nice flavours, right?

    Hi Tom. Love your blog too! Vashon Island sounds wonderful. Did you end up trying the kibbeh?

    Marhaba Vivianne. This kibbeh must be coming out of your ears this far into lent! Hope all is well in Lebanon

    Hi Joumana. Do let me know if you try this recipe. Would love to hear your feedback.

    Hi Joy. thanks for visiting. To me, nothing beats home made kibbeh. I’ve never had amazing kibbeh at a restaurant. Try making it, and you’ll be seriously surprised.

    Hi Paty. thanks! Didn’t expect anyone to like the design, so I’m glad you do.

    Hey Amanda. Just noticed that I’m having issues with your feed url. Have a look. I havent been receiving updates.

    Hi Muppy. Thanks for visiting. Do let me know if you end up making it.

    Marhaba Cecile. Thanks for your comment. I haven’t looked into Ayurveda in any serious way. My food is usually 80% raw/vegetarian/Low GI, and it seems to work for me. Your friend’s store sounds fantastic. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to leaving Sydney and heading to Mullumbimby myself! Hope one of my readers finds this an interesting opportunity.

  • I am making this for Easter! just one question though- is it ok to swap out the white onion for red or for leeks? white onion and i don’t get along so well…

  • Thanks Fouad! My girlfriend and I tried this recipe tonight and it was delicious! I particularly liked how all the different flavors retained their individuality while complementing each other beautifully. It never would have occurred to me to caramelize onions with star anise. Since I didn’t have any, I substituted allspice and cloves, but that worked too! I think I may make this for my family for this Thanksgiving.

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