A few weeks ago I was trying my recipe for baked kipes (baked kibbeh, a healthier version of the fried kipes) and had my yoga friends and Ilana’s son try them. The reviews couldn’t have been better. Unfortunately Ilana couldn’t try it (she follows a meatless diet), and I had just one bite (I prefer not to eat meat, but taste some of my recipes). We felt a bit left out.
It occurred to me that compared to the many dishes I’ve adapted to make them vegetarian or vegan-friendly, making a vegan kibbeh recipe would be pretty easy. I just needed to find a combination of ingredients that worked. To the bat-kitchen, Robin!
I love me some chickpeas. I am always trying to incorporate more into my diet. They are a wonder food, serving carbohydrates and protein into one little orb of goodness, two of the essential components of a healthy diet rolled into one.
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) seemed the perfect substitute for meat in this dish. And I was right.
I love how these kibbeh turned out. They were crispy outside, moist inside and with such a wonderful mix of textures and spices. I specially loved the mix of raisins and pine nuts.
I was a bit afraid of Aunt Ilana’s reaction to them, after all, Aunt Ilana knows Middle Eastern food very well. I am glad to say that she’s asked several times when I was going to publish the recipe. A testament both to the success that was this dish, and to my unending talent for procrastination.
To serve them I suggest this creamy, rich tahini dip, which is firmly inspired by the dip with which traditional kibbehs are served. They took this dish to 11. And to make this into a complete meal, a arugula, tomato and cucumber salad.
Sure there’s one dish that is baked, but the fact that you can make the dip and salad beforehand, and stay out of the kitchen while the kibbeh cooks, makes this a perfect dish for the summer: Simple, light, filling.
You don’t need to be a vegan to see how this is a great idea.
- 1 cup of bulgur
- 1 1/2 cups of boiled chickpeas , drained of water
- 2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 medium purple onion , chopped coarsely
- 1/2 cup of roasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup of raisins
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Juice of 3 limes or lemons
- 1/4 cup of pitted olives , chopped
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1 garlic cloves , mashed into paste
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
Pour the bulgur into a large bowl and add enough water to cover it. Let it rest for an hour.
Pour the bulgur and water into a sieve and drain as much water as possible. Press the bulgur with your hands to get rid of excess water.
Pour the bulgur into the bowl of the food processor (if you don't have a food processor see notes for alternatives). Add chickpea, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds, cinnamon, bell pepper, and onion to the bowl. Pulse until all the ingredients are well mixed, and pepper and onion are the size of a grain of rice.
Remove from the food processor and pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add pine nuts, raisins, and parsley and mix well with your hands.
Pour half the oil into a 1-quart [1 lt] baking pan and spread it on the bottom and sides.
Pour the bulgur mixture and press with your hands to form an even, compact layer.
Heat the oven to 450 ºF [232 ºC], or the maximum your oven reaches.
Cover the top with the remaining oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top has turned golden brown.
Mix all the ingredients, minus the salt. Taste and season with salt to taste.
If you don't have food processor, use a potato masher to mix, making sure that you crush all the chickpeas and they are thoroughly incorporated. The onion and bell pepper have to be chopped very finely beforehand.