Lebanese Kibbe with Homemade Spelt Bulgur

Kibbe is a beloved dish all over the Middle East. We used our homemade spelt bulgur to make Lebanese sheet kibbe: layers of ground lamb mixed with bulgur and spices stuffed with onions and pine nuts baked to a golden-brown with a slightly crispy surface.

Lebanese Kibbe with Homemade Spelt Bulgur

spelt lebanese kibbe Prep Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings



  • 1 cup fine-grain bulgur, made from whole spelt kernels
  • 1 pound/400 grams lamb shoulder, ground fine
  • ¼ cup grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 2 cups sliced onions, 1/4-inch thick
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Greek-style yogurt, for serving


  1. Rinse the spelt bulgur well, then cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Put the drained spelt bulgur, lamb, grated onion, cumin and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well with your hands to distribute the seasoning. With a wooden spoon, beat in about 1/2 cup ice water. The mixture should be smooth and soft.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and fry gently, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Raise the heat and add 1/4 cup of the lamb mixture. Continue frying, allowing the meat to get crumbly and the onions to brown nicely, another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the pine nuts and taste. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then press half the remaining lamb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Spread half the onion-pine nut mixture over the meat. Add the rest of the meat to the pan, patting and pressing it with wet hands to make a smooth top. If desired, score the top with a sharp paring knife to make a traditional diamond pattern at least 1/2-inch deep.
  5. Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden. Spread with the remaining onion-pine nut mixture. Serve warm, at room temperature or cool, with a dollop of yogurt.
Adapted from The New York Times