Chickpea & Eggplant Kibbe

Kibbe is a traditional Lebanese dish made with bulgur and ground meat. In this version, chickpeas and eggplant replace the meat. The result is a hearty, one-dish meal that can be assembled ahead of time and baked half an hour before serving. I serve this with a sesame sauce made by thinning hummus with a little soymilk.

Serves 4 to 6

What You Need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

What You Do:

  1. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain well and press to remove excess water. Place the bulgur in a large bowl.
  2. Coarsely chop or mash the chickpeas and add to the bulgur along with the allspice, cinnamon, marjoram, mint, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and eggplant, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the nuts, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press half the bulgur-chickpea mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish, smoothing the top. Add the eggplant mixture, then cover with the remaining bulgur-chickpea mixture, pressing down to smooth.
  5. Bake until hot and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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