Potato kibbeh (vegan)

June 15, 2014  •  Category:


For those of us who are squeamish about eating animal meat (and I am one of them), here is an alternative to the last post made with cooked potatoes, bulgur and herbs. To be perfectly honest, the dish could easily be served with some grilled sausage or kebabs. 

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  • 1 pound of cooked potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or other waxy variety), mashed
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur, soaked in very hot water for 10 minutes, drained well
  • 1 cup chopped parsley or a combo of fresh chopped herbs (mint, tarragon, chervil, dill)
  • 1 cup chopped onions, pan-fried in olive oil
  • 1 or more tablespoons of kammuneh spices or a combo of cumin, black pepper, chili powder, nutmeg and salt to taste (start with a small amount, say half a tablespoon, and taste)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, more to garnish platter
  • juice of half a large lemon

1. In a mixer bowl, place all the ingredients and combine. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with green onions and a drizzle of olive oil. 

lavender bushes

Rows of onion, Deir el-Qamar, Chouf (Lebanon)

onion row


18 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Very original and tasty. I’d love to have a meal there…



  2. Elizabeth says:

    Looks great. I used to work for a Syrian woman and she made a delicious potato kibbeh baked with onions and sumac. I’ve forgotten the finer details though if you know what I’m talking about I’d love if you could post a recipe.

    • Joumana says:

      @Elizabeth: I am still learning the finer points of Syrian cuisine; I have made several potato kibbeh, the baked ones and my favorite is stuffed with caramelized onions and walnuts. I will research it and see if I find something like that. Did she make it one layer or two ?

  3. Stephanie Watt says:

    Hi, Joumana,

    I don’t have access to ready-made kammouneh. How much of each spice should I use for homemade kammouneh? Thanks for your guidance. I hope to make this kibbeh tonight!

    All the best,

    • Joumana says:

      @ Stephanie Watt: There are many versions but each contain a touch of red chili pepper (or smoked paprika or similar spice), lots of cumin and fresh herbs. The dry spices are salt (to taste), cinnamon, allspice, marjoram, cumin. The kammuneh also can include mint (dried or fresh), chopped onion and rose petals if available. Use equal amounts of each spice, except for the cumin (use more); say one teaspoon of each and 1 1/2 tsp for the cumin; the cumin can be whole-grain then ground. Keep in mind that there are no rules and let your own taste be your guide. Start using a small amount, say one tablespoon total (of fresh and dried) and increase gradually 🙂

  4. Susan says:

    What a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy this lovely dish! Fresh garden onions are the best.

  5. Stephanie Watt says:

    @Joumana: Thanks for the detailed explanation. I made the kammuneh and potato kibbeh last night. Your recipe is delicious!

    • Joumana says:

      @Stephanie Watt: So glad to hear you liked it!

      @Freddy: Glad you like it, have got tons of vegan recipes for your consideration. 🙂

  6. Freddy says:

    Hi Joumana – I recently came across this website and think it’s great! I’ve made a few delicious things now.

    So thanks, and please keep it up – esp. the vegan recipes!


  7. humble_pie says:

    love those warm, welcoming mountainside stone-walled gardens rising in tiers! can’t quite make out what the trees are but their fruits (apples? olives?) must be something that goes with onions!

    plus i cannot resist a cheeky post! might i launch a suggestion re the lavender?

    Joumama, could you, would you, some day, post a recipe or a how-to-do about the lavender?

    lavender is such a difficult herb to cook with because the flavour is not only strong but peculiar. There’s a harsh, antiseptic, medicinal quality to it. I know people who absolutely do *not* like lavender cream pies, etc. A tiny amount of lavender goes an extremely long way in the kitchen, i find.

    my favourite thing to do with lavender: dry the flowers, then sew them into fragrant sachets made from those beautiful small embroidered linens & handkerchiefs that our great-grandmothers & great-great-aunts made so wonderfully well (who now in the western world knows any longer how to hand-sew Battenburg lace? if anyone did, the gorgeous product would sell for $1,000 per metre.)

    best of all, though, is to chop fresh lavender flowers & leaves into a small mason jar with a greater amount of st john’s wort flowers, buds & leaves, plus a few lemon balm leaves. Fill but do not pack down the mason jar with the plant material. Fill again with vodka or grain alcohol, seal & store for a few months.

    the fragrance & flavour will be irresisttible. It’s impossible to describe. The flavour that extracts from st john’s wort flowers is out of this world, never mind the medicinal properties. It marries beautifully with lavender. Red pigments from the yellow st john’s wort flowers will turn the preparation a deep rose-pink in colour.

    strain off the plant material after a few months & use as is or turn into a simple syrup. This imho is the start of some divine whipped cream & dessert dream confections …

    • Joumana says:

      @humble_pie: Lovely comment, and much appreciated. We do similar things here with the lavender, but I will try to come up with a novel idea this summer. Thanks so much for all your suggestions 🙂

  8. lieblingsmahl says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! We love to read your posts and gain insights into the lebanese cuisine. We nearly can smell the oriental spices and herbs whenever we are looking at your fotos.

    Greetings from Germany
    Herr und Frau Lieblingsmahl

  9. Oui, Chef says:

    I would love this dish, I just know it!

  10. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Ah ! ça, je fais souvent ! Je pourrais en manger à tous ls repas … ou presque ! Simple et bon … Très bon ! Je n’avais jamais entendu le mot kammuneh. J’ai appris quelque-chose !
    Rebises et à bientôt

  11. Fiona says:

    I love your Blog Joumana, and every time I visit I find something new. I wanted to ask if you send out a Newsletter. I am interested in traditional Lebanese desserts, and to find out more about spice blends that are used in Lebanese cooking. I am going to order your book, as I really love what I see here.Thank you!

    • Joumana says:

      @Fiona: Thanks so much! Actually, I have been thinking about doing a newsletter for folks who don’t have time to visit the blog or any of the major social media. Kind of like a recap of the month, highlighting new developments. This will have to wait until next year when I am back in Lebanon and resettled into my regular blogging routine. Fiona, I have a lot of info on spice blends in the tips category (which may be changed soon to “ingredients”) as well as in the book. As for traditional desserts, I have covered most of them in the blog (ma’amoul, muhallabieh, ashtaliyeh, zalabieh, nammoura, etc) and the book has enough recipes to give you a good feel for them as well.

  12. Charles says:

    I am part Syrian and part Lebanese….what a great gift. I love to cook….and kibbee batata’ is so simple..and very tasty…ok lots of calories, too.

    I have a question…..in fatayer spinagh do you use roasted snobah or not? Sometiems our family did…sometimes not….and I forgot which side of the family did. Also do you use that”7 SPices” in them, too>???


    • Joumana says:

      @Charles: Indeed! You got the true Levantine heritage through and through! As far as the spinach turnovers, I do not remember the pine nuts ever being roasted; things have changed though and pine nuts are so expensive that a lot of people are using walnuts or almonds or even omitting the nuts altogether. As far as the seven-spice, I have seen some people use a pinch, some don’t. The important spice is the sumac of course. 🙂

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