Kibbeh Bil Sanieh


Kibbeh Bil Sanieh, also called Pizza Kibbeh for its appearance, is a spiced, bulgur-based vegetarian main course, a decadent dish enjoyed by the monks at Saint Anthony of Qozhaya in Lebanon on special occasions. This version is one of their favorites. It's one of Ana Sortun's favorites, too. Sortun, who learned how to make the recipe from the Lebanese monks, offers this advice: "The most important part is to knead the bulgur in the same fashion as though it were meat, until it holds together and becomes creamy—usually a minute, sometimes a bit more. You can use your hands or a KitchenAid with a paddle attachment. If you don't knead the bulgur enough, it will stay crumbly."

Kibbeh Bil Sanieh
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis
Active Time:
50 mins
Soak Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
14 hrs 40 mins
6 to 8


  • 1 cup dried split chickpeas (chana dal)

  • ¾ cup olive oil, divided

  • 1.66667 cups uncooked fine bulgur

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed 

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Place chickpeas in a colander; rinse under cold water, stirring chickpeas with your fingers, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl or container; add water to cover by 4 inches. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Drain and set aside.

  2. Pour 3 tablespoons oil into a 12-inch round cake pan; swirl and tilt pan to coat in oil. Set aside.

  3. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean cotton or linen kitchen towel. Add bulgur; rinse under cold water, stirring bulgur with your fingers, until it begins to soften slightly, about 4 minutes. Transfer bulgur to a large bowl; add lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line colander with a fresh double layer of cheesecloth. Add bulgur and soaking water; drain. Gather cheesecloth up around bulgur; twist and squeeze to wring out water.

  5. Combine onion, garlic, lemon zest, allspice, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and drained bulgur in a food processor. Pulse until bulgur is tinted brown and mixture is thoroughly combined, about 10 pulses, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add parsley, salt, and drained chickpeas; stir until thoroughly combined.

  6. Transfer mixture to a clean work surface. Using both hands, fold mixture over itself, firmly pressing down while mashing mixture together with your hands, until mixture is the consistency of a sticky dough, 7 to 9 minutes. (The mixture should come together in a single tacky mass; no need to be gentle here.)

  7. Place kibbeh in prepared cake pan; press firmly into pan to create a compact, even layer. Drizzle with 1/2 cup oil. Using a sharp paring knife, slice kibbeh into 18 wedges in pan. Working from outer edge toward center of kibbeh, cut 2 (1/4-inch-deep) diagonal slits spaced 1 inch apart into each wedge. Brush remaining 1 tablespoon oil over kibbeh.

  8. Bake in preheated oven until outer edges of kibbeh are brown and mixture is set, 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.

Make Ahead

Kibbeh may be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.


Find bulgur and split chickpeas at Middle Eastern and Indian grocery stores.

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