Recipe: Pumpkin Kibbeh From the Kitchen Window column

Pumpkin Kibbeh

This vegetarian version of stuffed kibbeh is traditionally eaten at Lent, but the pumpkin makes it perfect for Thanksgiving. This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse at

Michele Kayal for NPR
Pumpkin Kibbeh
Michele Kayal for NPR

Makes 12 balls

For The Filling

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup cooked and chopped spinach (frozen is fine, thawed and squeezed until well drained)

Salt and pepper

2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

For The Pumpkin Shell

1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh

2 cups fine-grain bulgur (No. 1, or fine, grind), unwashed

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons grated onion

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Vegetable oil for frying

Chopped parsley and quartered lemons

To make the filling, saute the onions in the olive oil until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, walnuts, spinach, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the pumpkin shell, combine the pumpkin, bulgur, flour, onion and seasonings, and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the bulgur soften. If the dough appears dry, add a few drops of water and knead well.

Here's the tricky part: To shape the kibbeh, knead about 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture until it holds together. Keeping your hands moist, form a smooth football-shaped oval. Stick your thumb into one end and turn the ball between your thumb and forefinger to create space inside for filling. Fill the space with 2 teaspoons of filling. Pinch the end of the football closed, and gently roll to reshape if necessary. Repeat until all the dough and filling is used.

Using a deep saute pan, add enough vegetable oil to come no more than 1/3 up the sides. Heat until a deep fat fry thermometer registers 375 degrees. Using a tablespoon, carefully slide the balls into the oil, three or four at a time. Don't crowd them. Fry for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat in batches until all are fried.

These freeze beautifully. To eat, defrost, microwave for about 30 seconds to heat through, then crisp them in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.