My Gluten Free Rice Kibbeh Stew Recipe


Kibbeh is one of those Levantine and Iraqi dishes when craved you want it now. It's a dough made from meat and bulgur that is stuffed with meat, fat or onions and walnuts. I recall back when I was a child kibbeh making being a ritual that takes the whole day. Tete, my grandmother, would sit in the courtyard by the fountain (it was her favourite spot when making mooneh like tomato paste, olives and apricot jam) with a huge stone pestle and mortar (jirn) in front of her, and would pound her meat down to a butter-like consistency, then slowly add the bulger while pounding along. 

Kibbeh is formed and cooked in many ways. Each region has its own specialty and way in shaping it, sizing it and cooking it. It varies from fried large egg-shaped stuffed with garlic cloves, to medium stuffed with minced meat or grilled discs filled with fat with pomegranate molasses or baked spiralled tubed stuffed with meat (kibbeh mabroomeh) or layered (kibbeh bil saynieh), to small balled dumped in stew or stuffed and cooked in yoghurt (kibbeh labanieh); the variations are endless. I have mastered most of them and each holds its own weight in being devine. 


The texture of kibbeh changes depending on what the dough consists of. The traditional dough is made from bulgur (cracked wheat), meat and onions and the filling from fried spiced meat. I wanted to veer from the gluten kibbeh as many suffer from gluten intolerance nowadays and make this GF friendly for those who crave it but can't have it. This recipe for rice kibbeh is adapted from the famous Iraqi Kibbeh with turnips and Swiss chard. I am not really a fan of turnips other than as pickled so I omitted this and tried to simplify the recipe and steps. 


It is really delicious and the flavours work together offering a new kibbeh experience for the non-Iraqi people. 

Don’t forget to share with me your photos of this dish you have prepared. 





Yield: 20 discs

Servings: 5


Kibbeh dough: 

  • 500 grams lean mince beef 
  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 100 milliliters water 


For the filling: 

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 250 grams mince beef 85% lean 
  • 2 teaspoons seven spices, or garam masala 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan salt 
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped small 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 


For the sauce: 

  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 500 grams stewed chopped tomato 
  • 1 liter water 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 lemon juice 
  • 200 grams spinach 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 




* For the sauce, sauté the onion and tomato paste in the vegetable oil then add the stewed tomatoes and the water. Cook uncovered on medium heat for about 15 minutes. When thickened add the juice of half a lemon. 

* For the dough place the meat, rice flour, water, salt and pepper in food processor and pulse until it sticks together forming and ball as seen in the picture. 

* Place the mix in a glass bowl and knead adding little water until you are able to form a golf size ball with no cracks. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside. 

* For the filling, sauté the chopped onions in the vegetable oil until soft then add the mince beef, salt, pepper and seven spice. Stir until the beef is liquid free then add the chopped walnuts. Adjust the salt and set aside to cool. 

* For forming the balls, follow the technique in my vegan kibbeh video. 

* Bring the sauce back to a boil and drop the kibbeh. 

* Add enough boiling water to cover the kibbeh if the sauce is too thick and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. 

* Add the fresh spinach at the end and cook just enough to wilt the spinach. 

thumbnail_Kibbeh final 2.jpg



* You can substitute the spinach for Swiss chard or kale. 

* For a vegan recipe follow the instructions on making my vegan kibbeh and use it instead of the rice kibbeh. 

* You can freeze the kibbeh for 2 months and cook from frozen. 



Per Serving: 771 Calories; 47g Fat (54.3% calories from fat); 33g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 118mg Cholesterol; 1734mg Sodium.