Chickpea pie with quinoa, silverbeet and sumac - Lebanese "kibbeh pie" (Vegetarian, GF version)

Updated: Jul 26

Finally, a gluten free kibbeh recipe that actually works. This one took quite a bit of testing to get right but we got there. Traditionally, kibbeh is made with an outer dough that includes mince meat, bulgar, a bit of flour and mixed spices. It's also stuffed with spiced mince meat (yes, more meat!) and toasted pine nuts with labne. Adding the bulgar and flour to the meat creates a unique consistency that allows you to mould the kibbeh ball into the right shape to be stuffed. It's very similar to the process of making arancini balls, but without the rice.

In this version, rather than moulding into ball shapes, we use the ingredients to make a pie in a tray. The Middle Eastern flavours of chickpea, sumac and silverbeet with lemon form the tangy filling of the pie. The quinoa, pumpkin and chickpea form the crust and base of the pie. 

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Tips for a smooth cooking process

Dry bake the pumpkin

Ensure the pumpkin is peeled before baking and do not add oil to ensure it cooks and remains as dry as possible. Cooking the pumpkin 'dry' means the skin will be tough once finished. This is why I recommend you use a blender or food processor to mince the pumpkin until smooth. You can also cook the pumpkin in a food processor.

Remove excess water from quinoa

To ensure your dough works well, you want to drain all the liquid from the quinoa. Once you have cooked the quinoa, place it into a sieve and let the liquid pour out. Press the quinoa down to ensure all excess water is drained. To take it a step further, use a cheese cloth to squeeze excess water out of quinoa.

Don't forget your seasoning

Don't forget to season your dough. The dough makes up a huge part of this dish and the seasoning and flavour you add makes a big difference. Sea salt and black pepper are a great start - but to take it a step further you can add a touch of spice, cumin and fried diced onions. Taste as you go.

Use extra virgin olive oil

Use extra virgin olive oil in the cook as apart from the fact that it's loaded with healthy fat and antioxidants, it also amplifies the flavour. If eating the pie a few hours after bake or the day after, I would recommend re-heating in the oven and then moderately pouring fresh olive oil on top to serve.

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Learn an authentic Lebanese dish with a modern and gluten friendly twist. A pie that will last you all week without becoming dry. A pie that boasts flavours of the Mediterranean and citrusy tartness from spices of the Middle East. Finally, a gluten free kibbeh recipe that actually works.

Chickpea kibbeh pie

Time: 2 Hours Yield: 8 -10 Serves

Nutrition Facts (coming soon)


1 large bunch silverbeet

1/2 large kent pumpkin 5 cups chickpea flour

2 cups dry quinoa (+ 4 cups water)

2 brown onions

2 lemons, juiced

2 cans cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly

2 tbsp sumac

1 tsp mixed spices

1 tsp chilli flakes

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for baking

To Serve

Tahini and lemon dressing: 1/4 cup tahini paste (add more to thicken)

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp lemon juice

pinch of salt


1. Peel and dice 1 onion and pan fry in a large wok with a drizzle of olive oil until translucent. Set aside on a paper towel.

2. Turn the oven on at 180 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into small chunks and remove the seeds and skin. Place them in a baking tray and season. Dry bake (no oil) until cooked. You will know they are cooked when you can easily pierce the skin with a knife.

3. Cook quinoa in water on the stove top on medium heat until water is absorbed completely.

4. While the pumpkin and quinoa are cooking, cut the silverbeet into small chunks and wash it thoroughly.

5. Peel the second onion, and then slice finely and pull it apart. Pan fry on low heat in the same large wok you fried the diced onion in.

6. Add the silverbeet after about 2 minutes and mix together with the onion until the silverbeet starts to visibly reduce in size.

7. Add seasoning, sumac, chilli flakes and chickpeas. Mix it all together in the wok until flavours are combined and the silverbeet and onions are cooked.

8. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice to the mixture and mix through. Set aside.

9. Take the pumpkin out of the oven once cooked and put in a food processor. Keep the oven on.

10. Place pumpkin into a large mixing bowl with 1 cup of chickpea flour, diced onions (previously cooked) and cooked quinoa. Mix it together, adding more chickpea flour as you go. It's important here that you drain the quinoa from water as much as possible before placing into the bowl. Mix together until it forms a sticky dough like consistency. You can add more chickpea flour if you feel necessary.

11. Brush a large baking tray with olive oil, approximately 40cm long, 30cm wide, 10cm in depth.

12. Scoop up a handful of the dough and press it firmly until it looks like a pattie. Line the tray with "patties" from the dough and then use a spatula or your hand to spread it out so its even. This forms the base of the pie.

13. Drain the silverbeet and chickpea mixture from juice and place the mixture in the tray over the base of your pie. This forms your filling.

14. Repeat the "pattie" process to create the crust or top of your pie and smooth out the top with a spatula or knife. Use a knife to cut around the edges of the tray to create a small gap between the tray edge and your pie. Use a clean knife to then create rectangle or diamond shapes on the top of your pie by drawing diagonal lines.

15. Pour olive oil on the top of your pie and tilt the tray back and forth to allow the oil to seep through the cut lines and the edges of the pie. This will ensure you get a golden crust and edge.

16. Place into the oven and bake at 180 degrees until the top is brown and crispy. This will take between 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven and temperature.

17. Once the top is brown and caramelised, take the pie out of the oven. This is best served hot with lemon and tahini dressing and a fresh salad as a side hustle.

For the tahini dressing: 1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until smooth.

2. Add more tahini for a creamy and thick consistency, add more water or lemon to reduce the sesame flavour.



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