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4.91 from 10 votes
lentil keema pie
Middle Eastern Lentil Kibbeh Pie
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A vegan riff on Yotam Ottolenghi's delicious Open Kibbeh, baked layers of bulgar wheat, seasoned lentils and mushrooms, all topped with a sumac-spiked tahini sauce.

Course: DInner
Cuisine: MIddle Eastern, vegan
Keyword: bulgar wheat, kibbeh, lentils
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 430 kcal
Author: kellie anderson
Base Layer
  • 150 g bulgar wheat or wholemeal couscous
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 225 ml water boiling
  • 1 tsp dried mint optional
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Lentil Layer
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled, finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped (about 185-200G)
  • 200 g chestnut/cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • tsp ground allspice
  • tsp ground coriander
  • tsp ground cumin
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp Marmite or Vegemite optional, but adds to depth of flavour
  • 250 g cooked firm lentils see Notes for more info
  • 50 g pine nuts divided use
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley divided use
Tahini Topping
  • 50 g light tahini
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 50 ml water
  • tsp ground sumac optional
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan/180F. Line a 20cm/8-inch spring-form cake tin/loose-bottomed tin with crumpled baking parchment. You want it to come up the sides most of the way.

  2. Pour the bulgur wheat and flaxseed into a bowl, along with the salt and dried mint. Pour over the boiling water and cover with a plate. Leave to absorb for 20 minutes. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a wide skillet and saute the onion and garlic over a medium heat until soft. Add the spices and cook for one minute, followed by the mushrooms. Cook down until the liquid that is released is almost completely gone. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and Marmite, followed by the cooked lentils most of the pine nuts and most of the parsley. Grind in some black pepper if you wish.

  4. Use your hands to squish up the rehydrated bulgur wheat and flaxseed into a quasi-dough, and press firmly into the bottom of the lined tin. Spread over the seasoned lentil and mushrooms and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

  5. While this is in the oven, stir together the tahini lemon juice, and water. Add a good pinch of salt and the sumac.

  6. Remove the pie from the oven and carefully spread over the tahini sauce. Top with the remaining pine nuts plus the sesame seeds, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes, or until the pine nuts are browned a bit. Sprinkle over chopped parsley and mint. Cut into wedges and serve warm or room temperature.

Recipe Notes

The Lentils - I used a pouch of cooked Merchant Gourmet Beluga Lentils for ease. If you are boiling up from scratch, do use a firm lentil like Puy. You want the cooked lentils to still hold their shape and not be at all mushy.

The Flavourings - I tried to recreate the depth of flavour that you get in an authentic lamb or beef kibbeh by using the sticky, savoury condiment Marmite. If you don't have this or the Vegemite, just leave it out. The pomegranate molasses is also not authentic but is essential for the rounded flavour that I hope you will find when you eat this dish.

The Bulgur Wheat - My bulgur wheat was quite coarse so I whizzed it up a bit in my blender. It might not be necessary but if yours is also coarse, do break it down a bit if you can as I think it might help it stick together. You may use couscous in place of the bulgur wheat. 

Lower-Fat Option - to cut down on the fat (even though they are healthy, nutritious fats, they might not suit all of you) eliminate the tahini layer - or replace with ft-reduced hummus - and use oil-spray or vegetable stock to cook the vegetables.

Nutrition Facts
Middle Eastern Lentil Kibbeh Pie
Amount Per Serving (6 g)
Calories 430 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 244mg11%
Potassium 443mg13%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 304IU6%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 98mg10%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.