Kibbeh, in any form, is an act of love and an artistic expression. The Summer of 2020 brought us great heartache in Beirut but also an incredible blessing. Due to COVID travel restrictions, we took our summer holiday in the north of Lebanon in a small, sweet village called Barbara. Our 2 week- holiday turned into a 3 month stay where we met many of the villagers who have become an extension of our family. Auntie Sania was our direct neighbor and is for me, a beautiful representation of matriarchal love. At 80-something, she is chic and beautiful, as smart as a whip and cares for her grown children and grandchildren with deep love.

She cooks for them daily and her food is beautiful and delicious. I loved watching her in the kitchen and one of her yummiest, most beautiful and practical dishes is Kibbeh bil Sanieh. Translation: Kibbeh on a plate. For this one you should have plenty of olive oil on hand and a fine knife for letting your creativity shine when decorating this beautiful dish.

So, without further adieu, here is Autie Sania’s Kibbeh Bil Sanieh recipe.

Ingredients for filling
1 pound lean ground beef from round or chuck cuts
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon Soul Roots Kibbeh Spice
1⁄4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil


Kibbeh Mixture for casing (lower and upper layers)
2 pounds 100% lean ground beef from round or chuck cuts
2 cups fine #1 bulgur wheat
1⁄2 cup ice water
1⁄2 cup packed mint leaves
1 large onion in quarters
2.5 tbsp Soul Roots Kibbeh Spice

1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare 2, 14-inch round baking pans for a more traditional look to your Kibbeh bil Sanieh. You can also use rectangular 9*13 inch baking pan. Coat pans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Pour bulgur wheat into a large bowl and add water. Let sit until the wheat has completely absorbed the water.

Now begin preparing the meat filling. Saute onion with olive oil. Add Kibbeh Spice. Add ground beef until all water has evaporated and the meat mixture is dry. Add in pine nuts. Set cooked filling mix aside.

Place soaked bulgur, mint, onion, salt and Kibbeh spice in a food processor. Blend until well combined.

Form flat, thin patties out of the bulgur and lay them at the base of the pan. Dip your hands in ice water to help seal the openings. Smooth the kibbeh around the perimeter of the pan as well. When the bottom of the pan is fully lined with the kibbeh casing layer, add the cooked kibbeh filling and layer evenly.

Take more of the kibbeh mixture for the upper layer, form patties and pat down onto the top of the kibbeh pan.

Using a smooth bladed knife cut a diamond-shaped, criss cross pattern on the top layer of the kibbeh. Drizzle with olive oil to coat the top layer. Bake until meat is fully cooked, about 40-45 minutes.

Each tray makes 6 servings. If you are not using both trays, freeze one to use another day. Just leave out the final drizzle of olive oil and reserve it for when you defrost the tray to use it.