Maftoul and cranberry beans

November 11, 2011  •  Category:


Food historians have found that combining legumes and a starch is one of the most ancient dishes to come out of the Middle-East in one form or another. Nutritionists have found that this combination is excellent for one’s health as each component works to facilitate the digestion of the other component.


I just had some cranberry beans laying around and this box of maftoul that had to be used up; this dish is popular in rural areas in Lebanon and is usually cooked with bulgur, lentils and beans (even wheat berries) all mixed together.

Any combination of a whole-grain and a legume will work.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 1 cup of cranberry beans
  • 1 cup of maftoul or coarse bulgur (#3 or #4)
  • 1 large onion
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1/4 cup of red pepper paste or tomato paste (optional)
  • Seasoning: 1 tsp of garlic paste, 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper, 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube or 3 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • yogurt if desired (as a side)


  1. Heat 3 cups of water or vegetable or chicken stock in the pot; add the beans and simmer for about one hour or longer until tender.
  2. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil and add the onion and fry until the onion is golden-brown. Add the maftoul and let the grains get coated in oil for a minute or so. Transfer the onions and grains to the bean mixture, add the spices and red pepper paste if using and cover the pot; let the mixture cook gently for 30 minutes, checking it every so often, adding more water if needed.
  3. Serve.




15 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    That is a beautiful dish! I really love the way it has been served.



  2. Nicole says:

    It’s a beautiful dish. I have never heard of maftoul! Lovely looking grain. I do love wheat berries.

  3. Lyndsey@Tiny Skillet says:

    This looks simple and delicious! I love coming here…so many good things.

  4. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I’m looking for some great veggie/grain/legume dishes for Thanksgiving here, and this might be it! Love the bowl!

  5. Vianney Rodriguez says:

    Lovely dish, the spice mix is loaded with great flavors!!

  6. Jamie says:

    This is very Italian and probably part of every poor culture but it is a combination I love. It is warming and comforting, isn’t it? I love your middle eastern flavors. Perfect.

  7. Cherine says:

    I never heard of this dish before. I love it. Looks wonderful

  8. Oui, Chef says:

    Awesome, I have everything I need for this dish in my pantry right now….Yippee!

  9. Amanda says:

    This looks so delicious! I love all of the distinct flavours you’ve incorporated here! I have a recipe for curried couscous salad that I think you’ll enjoy. Check it out here:


  10. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    This dish will be on my Thanksgiving menu! I’m exciting about making it. I’m blogging right now about what will be on the menu and I’m including a link to this dish! You inspire me so much!

  11. Peter says:

    Love bulgar for its taste and healthy properties.Nice presentation and delish to boot!

  12. Nancy/SpicieFoodie says:

    These types of legume and starch mixes are one of my favorite ways of eating. Now reading from you that it is healthy, then I’ll have seconds please. Thanks for sharing this mouthwatering recipe.

  13. Virginia says:

    Thank you so much for all your recipes. I’ve been using them for the last two years, from kibbeh through kunafa (which is amazing!). Can you please PUBLISH?! I would love to have a cookbook to thumb through instead of trying to balance my laptop on my toaster! I’d give your book to all of my family too..who are always asking for the recipes.

    • Joumana says:

      @Virginia: I am working towards that goal, one of the reasons for my temporary move to Lebanon. Could you tell me which recipes you would ideally like me to include? Thanks a bunch!

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