Green beans, bulgur and chick peas casserole

February 15, 2010  •  Category: ,

Madfooneh means buried;  here,  green beans are buried in bulgurand chick peas; a  rural dish from the  region west of the Bekaa valley.  The bulgur after cooking becomes silky soft and turns me into a glutton. I  try to resist eating too much of this dish in one sitting. Eating it  takes me to a small village in the Lebanese mountains where life is close to nature and devoid of technology and consumerism.

When I read articles on Lebanon byforeignjournalists I am always stunned! They miss the point! All they see is theglitter: How trendy the bars are, how women parade in bikini at the beaches, how fashionable and stylish people look, how amazing the restaurants are, etc. They fail to see that the memorable aspect of Lebanon is village life! A life that is going extinct! You will not find these dishes at restaurants, these are dishes that the villagers eat.


INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup of  olive oil (or more as needed)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head of  garlic, mashed in a mortar with a dash  of salt
  • 1 pound of thin green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups of coarse bulgur (#4)
  • 1  can  of cooked chickpeas
  • 3  cups tomatoes, cut in dice
  • cumin and cinnamon to taste (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)
  • 1 red chili pepper (optional, not traditional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and fry  till  golden-brown.
  2. Blanch the  green beans in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes until limp.  Remove from the pot and reduce the water to about 2 cups.
  3. Mash the garlic with some salt in a mortar (cut the cloves in little pieces first, it makes it easier)
  4. Add the tomatoes to the onions and mix; add the spices and  cover the pot and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the bulgur and the chick peas and the mashed garlic. Stir well to mix. Add the green beans water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes.  Uncover the pot and let the liquid reduce. Taste seasoning. The bulgur should be soft and silky. Add the green beans.
  6. Serve hot with some scallions or other fresh vegetables such as radishes.

Source for the recipe: Chef Ramzi, The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon.

NOTE: The recipe calls for cooking the green beans with the onions and tomatoes and garlic. I prefer to cook them separately.


23 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Priya says:

    Truly delicious casserole, looks fantastic and filling..

  2. peter says:

    A lovely nest of beans with more vegetarian in the middle. Can you tell, I’m into Lent now.

  3. Erica says:

    This sounds delicious!!!! I love learning about other cuisines!!!!Nice blog and thank you for visiting mine!

  4. Dinners & Dreams says:

    So healthy and delicious. I love all the ingredients in this dish.


  5. Arlette says:

    Hello my friend
    nice dish to start Lent…. love the way you presented the dish…anything wih burghul is delicious…
    i agree with you about the reports which mislead the true spirit and traditions of the Lebanese . They only care to write what sells.
    My family started Lent today, my husband insist on following the Catholic Church here where they celebrate ash Monday on Wednesday.

  6. souska says:

    Very nice and delicious.

  7. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    What a very special recipe! I like the fact that it’s a village recipe and one that you may not find outside of the villages. Thankyou for sharing it with us! 😀

  8. Sushma Mallya says:

    Delicious and healthy casserole…

  9. Michelle says:

    The thin green greens look so fresh and delicious and a perfect nest for the bulgar. Looks so good…I love Lebanese Recipes.

    I was at a Middle Eastern Market today and bought some Sumak. Any recipe suggestions using Sumak?

  10. Mamounette85 says:

    Merci pour votre visite sur mon blog.
    Une belle association ces légumes, féculents et légume vert un trio gagnants.
    De plus très belle présentation.
    Bonne journée
    Bon Ap chez Mamounette

  11. oum mouncifrayan says:

    miammm, elle me tente bien cette belle recette!! merci

  12. delices eyes says:

    Un plat très savoureux….
    Bonne journée

  13. Simply Life says:

    YUM! This looks like my perfect plate!

  14. HistoryOf GreekFood says:

    I understand why bulgur turns you into a glutton! 🙂 Delicious dish!

  15. Marysol says:

    Forgive me Joumana, but the name does not do this dish justice. That said, I know what I like, and that casserole looks perfectly healthy and delicious. But even if it weren’t healthy, it wouldn’t stop me from going in.

    Btw, the tomatoes here are looking a bit sad and decrepit, so I hope you won’t mind if I substitute (good quality) canned tomatoes…no, don’t try to stop me. I have to make this.

  16. sabah says:

    Ah j’aime bien cette recette, je veux bien l’essayer, merci pour ce beau partage.

  17. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Such a nutritious and yummy casserole! I love the chickpeas here!

  18. Azita says:

    I like this dish very much, so delicious! love those village recipes!

  19. Juliana says:

    Nice dish…I have bulgur at home and always want to cook with it…great dish…will have to try it 🙂

  20. Bria says:

    Love this dish. You’re so right about the journalists. So many of these articles on Lebanon focus on the glitz and the bikinis, like that’s anything special. Missing the point is right!

  21. TastyTrix says:

    I always want everything you make. No exception here! I am SO glad you are showcasing food that isn’t often highlighted. (But it’s just the kind of food I like best!)

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