Skip to content

Kibbeh Arnabieh: Prepared with Zahra’s Kitchen Pumpkin Kibbeh

Kibbeh Arnabieh is a traditional Lebanese dish that beautifully showcases Lebanon’s culinary richness. This dish is a testament to the diverse flavours and ingredients prevalent in Lebanese cuisine, characterised by its use of tahini, citrus, and a variety of spices. The pumpkin kibbeh variation adds a contemporary and seasonal twist to the classic, introducing the sweetness of pumpkin to the savoury and tangy flavours of the traditional Arnabieh sauce.

The essence of Kibbeh Arnabieh lies in its sauce, a unique blend of tahini, lemon juice, and bitter orange juice, which provides a tangy and rich backdrop that complements the textured kibbeh. Using pomegranate molasses, apple cider vinegar, and spices like salt and black pepper adds layers of flavour, enhancing the dish’s complexity.

Incorporating chickpeas and Zahra’s Kitchen Pumpkin Kibbeh brings a delightful interplay of textures and flavours, making the dish hearty and satisfying. The garnish of pine nuts adds a subtle crunch, while parsley provides a fresh, herbal note, elevating the dish’s overall taste and presentation.

Kibbeh Arnabieh is more than just a meal; it celebrates Lebanese culinary traditions, embodying the warmth and hospitality that Lebanese cuisine is renowned for. It’s a dish that brings people together, offering a taste of Lebanon’s rich culinary heritage with every bite. Whether enjoyed in a Lebanese home or as part of a festive meal, Kibbeh Arnabieh is a dish that resonates with flavour, tradition, and the joy of shared dining experiences.

Basic Ingredients for Kibbeh Arnabieh


Zahra’s Kitchen Pumpkin Kibbeh: The pumpkin in these kibbeh balls introduces a sweet, earthy flavour that contrasts beautifully with the tangy sauce. Pumpkin also adds a seasonal twist and a vibrant colour to the dish.

Onions: Onions are a fundamental ingredient in many cuisines, providing a sweet and savoury base for the sauce. When cooked, onions release their natural sugars, adding depth to the sauce.

Tahini: This sesame paste is crucial in Middle Eastern cooking, offering a creamy texture and a nutty flavour that balances the acidity in the sauce.

Lemon Juice: Adds brightness and acidity, cutting through the tahini’s richness and enhancing the dish’s other flavours.

Bitter Orange Juice: Known for its unique tangy and slightly bitter flavour, it adds an authentic Middle Eastern citrus note, crucial for the distinctive taste of the sauce.

Vegetable Stock or Water is used as a base for the sauce, providing depth and allowing the flavours to meld together.

Pomegranate Molasses: Offers a sweet and tangy flavour, adding complexity to the sauce. It’s optional but recommended for an authentic taste.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Introduces a subtle tanginess and helps balance the sauce’s sweetness and richness.

Salt and Black Pepper: Seasonings that enhance and balance all the flavours in the dish.


Chickpeas: Add texture and protein, making the dish more substantial and nutritious.

Pine Nuts: Provide a crunchy texture and a buttery, pine-like flavour that complements the soft kibbeh balls.

Olive Oil or Butter: Used for cooking the onions, adding richness and flavour to the sauce.

Alternative Ingredients

Pumpkin Kibbeh Balls: You can use traditional meat or bulgur kibbeh balls if pumpkin is not preferred or available.

Bitter Orange Juice: If unavailable, a mix of lemon juice and a hint of grapefruit or regular orange juice can mimic its flavour.

Pomegranate Molasses: If you don’t have this, tamarind sauce offers a tangy and slightly sweet flavour profile. It can introduce a different kind of acidity and depth to the dish, enhancing the overall taste with its unique sourness, which pairs well with the savoury elements of Kibbeh Arnabieh.

Chickpeas: White beans could be an alternative for a different texture.

Preparation Tips for Kibbeh Arnabieh

  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the sauce’s thickness by varying the amount of vegetable stock or water. It should be creamy but not overly thick.
  • Blending: If you prefer a smoother sauce, use a blender or food processor to achieve the desired consistency.

Serving Tips for Kibbeh Arnabieh

  • Accompaniments: Serve Kibbeh Arnabieh over a bed of rice, couscous, or with flatbread to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Garnish: Fresh herbs like parsley or mint can add a burst of color and freshness. Additional toasted pine nuts can add a delightful crunch.

Storage Tips

Refrigerating: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavours often deepen when the dish is left to sit.

Freezing: Freeze the sauce and kibbeh balls separately. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently, adding water if the sauce has thickened too much.

Kibbeh Arnabieh

Servings: 4 persons
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes



  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups bitter orange (Seville orange)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water, (if necessary)
  • ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses , (optional)
  • ¼ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 1 pack Zahra's Kitchen Pumpkin Kibbeh, (pre-made and ready to cook)


  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup pomegranate jewels


  • Follow the instructions to cook Zahra's Kitchen Pumpkin Kibbeh, either by deep-frying or air-fry until golden and crispy. Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are softened and translucent for about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, and bitter orange juice in a small bowl until smooth. Add this tahini mixture to the saucepan with the onions. Use a hand blender to puree the sauce until it has a smooth consistency.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock or water and pomegranate molasses, if using. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally—season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Incorporate the cooked kibbeh balls and chickpeas into the sauce. Simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes or until everything is heated through.
  • Plate the kibbeh and sauce over rice if desired, garnishing with additional toasted pine nuts, chopped fresh parsley and pomegranate jewels.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @cookingwithzahra on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithzahra so we can see all the deliciousness!

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Get new recipes, meal planners, and creative entertaining ideas