Kibbeh/Stuffed Meatballs

A delicious Middle Eastern inspired meat and whole grain stuffed meatball.

I came across this recipe on the back of a package of Bob’s Red Mill Red Bulgur. We don’t eat a lot of red meat, but when we do we like serving it with a high fiber grain and loads of veggies. This recipe isn’t recipe heavy, but it does include a lot of fiber and nutrients from whole grain bulgur.

Don’t let the lengthy list of steps freak you out. These aren’t that complicated to make. I just broke everything down for easier reading. That said, the final bit of preparation makes a bit of a mess, but it’s well worth the effort.

I think you and your kids will love these stuffed meatballs because they are delicious. Of course, your kids will also love them because they look like…well…I’ll let your kids fill in the blank. The recipe below has been modified from the original to reduce the sodium for our family’s tastes.

These are good reheated the next day or frozen and reheated.

Kibbeh/Stuffed Meatballs

** Plan ahead: Soak bulgur for 30 minutes in cold water.

**Toast the pine nuts in the oven or on the stove.


  • 1 cup of red bulgur
  • 2 cups of homemade beef broth or water (omit salt in recipe if using store bought broth that contains salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups minced onion, divided
  • 1 1/2 t salt, divided
  • 3/4 t black pepper, divided
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1.2 t ground allspice
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

How to:

Drain soaked bulgur very well. You can squeeze it to remove excess water. Set it aside.

Toast pine nuts in the oven (300 degrees) or in a skillet on medium-high just until aromatic and golden brown.

Put the ground beef into the food processor and process it into a paste.

Take 1/2 of the meat paste out of the food processor and set it aside.

To the meat paste that remains in the food processor, add 1 cup of onions, 1 t salt and 1/2 t black pepper. Process until smooth and well mixed.

In a heavy skillet, sauté the remaining 1 cup of onion over medium-high heat until golden. Usually this takes about 5-10 minutes.

Add the meat paste you set aside, the remaining spices, 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. This should take about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes.

Add toasted pine nuts to the cooled meat mixture.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Here’s where you put everything together. Your hands will get dirty during this step, so be forewarned.

Scoop 3 T of bulgur onto the parchment paper. Flatten into a thick disk.

Place 2 tsp of the cooked beef/pine nut mixture into the center of the disk.

Squeeze/mash/form the bulgur mixture around the filling. Seal it and then roll it into a cylinder. (I had some issues with the filling trying to fall out here, so just do the best you can.

Place the cylinders about 1″ apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes until browned and crispy and then enjoy!

The recipe says this makes about 14 “croquettes,” but I got closer to 10 by the time it was all said and done.

If you eat dairy products, you can serve these guys with a side of plain yogurt for dipping, otherwise they’re awesome as is. We paired them with a side of broccoli and enjoyed a fantastic meal!

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