This is a vegan take on the classic Lebanese and Syrian kibbeh nayeh - a popular raw-meat paste - made here with pumpkin and burghul.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 300 g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into large cubes
  • 120 g alfa burghul or fine brown burghul
  • 1 tbsp salt flakes
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tbsp marjoram leaves, finely chopped
  • 7-8 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 7-8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil, Middle Eastern flat bread, radish wedges, spring onions and cucumber sticks and toum, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 3 hours

  1. Place the pumpkin into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is nicely softened and can be mashed easily with a fork. Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the burghul into the saucepan with the cooked pumpkin and stir through to combine. Cover and set aside for about 2-3 hours to allow the burghul to soak up the excess water.
  3. Once the burghul has absorbed all the water, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool completely.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the burghul, and using your hands, knead until very well combined. If the mixture is a little dry and very thick, you can add a little cold water to make it a little more pliable. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt, pepper or chilli if needed.
  5. To serve, place the kibbeh in a shallow serving bowl and create a shallow well in the centre. Drizzle the olive oil into the centre. Serve with Middle Eastern bread, radish, cucumber sticks, spring onions and toum.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.