Dad's Pumpkin Kibbeh

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My mom is hands-down the Queen of Kibbeh (such an official title). I don’t know what she does to it (I’ll find out, don’t worry), but it always comes out amazing with her. If you aren’t familiar with kibbeh, it can be prepared as either a flattened Middle Eastern meatloaf or individual meatballs (shaped more like footballs) that are filled with more meat, called the hashwi or stuffing. However, there are so many variations to kibbeh these days that have no meat in them at all, one of them being this Pumpkin Kibbeh. Now, if my mom is the overall Queen of Kibbeh, my dad is the appointed King of Pumpkin Kibbeh. Literally the only word that I can think of to describe it is pure perfection. It’s basically two layers of luscious pumpkin goodness that have a tangy spinach chickpea filling nestled in between. It is the quintessential pumpkin autumn supper that is best topped with a yogurt sauce and served with a fresh garden salad. So if you’ve been on a pumpkin kick lately and have room to try only one more recipe, make this one it. This will become your new favorite meatless dinner that you will start preparing year-round like we have done. 

INGREDIENTS

PUMPKIN LAYERS

  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) pumpkin purée

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus a little more to drizzle on top)

  • 2 cups bulgur, very fine

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 2 teaspoons salt

SPINACH CHICKPEA FILLING

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen spinach, thawed and drained

  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon sumac

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  2. Start by making the pumpkin layer. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin purée, olive oil, bulgur, flour, allspice, and salt. Mix until well combined. Set aside. 
  3. In a sauté pan, prepare the filling by first heating olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach, chickpeas, onion, chopped walnuts, garlic, sumac, salt, allspice and cumin. Mix together and sauté until onions are slightly softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. 
  4. To put kibbeh together, start by spreading half of the pumpkin layer mixture into prepared baking dish. Then, add filling and spread to cover entire bottom layer evenly. Finish by spreading remaining pumpkin layer mixture over filling. 
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares or the classic diamond shape. 
  6. Drizzle top with a little more olive oil and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  7. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until top is nice and firm. 
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 
  9. Enjoy!