Turkey Kibbe Kebabs

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This week I’ve been noshing on  the  perfect Herb Hummus which put me in the mood for middle eastern inspired food. I’ve had this recipe for  Turkey Kibbe Kebabs bookmarked for several years and decided that it was high time I tried it.

In case you aren’t familiar with it Kibbe (or Kibbeh) is a dish made of bulgur or rice and chopped meat that is common in the cuisines of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Jordan. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped croquette with a bulgur crust that is stuffed with rice and minced beef or lamb and fried.  Other types of kibbe are shaped into balls or patties and can be baked or poached. It is the kind of dish that every family has their own recipe for and their own tradition regarding how it is made and flavored.

I adapted this recipe from “The Professional Chef’s Techniques of Healthy Cooking” by The Culinary Institute of America that I bought after a week stint at the St. Helena campus.  This version uses ground turkey and the Kibbe is grilled rather than fried. These kebabs are surprising light and are subtly  flavored with cilantro, mint, cumin and allspice. I served them with some freshly made pita bread and a romaine salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette – oh and of course some of the Herb Hummus!!

Turkey Kibbe Kebabs

The recipe calls for glazing the kebabs with a mixture of molasses, soy sauce and olive oil.  I substituted pomegranate molasses (which you can find in a middle eastern market) and I highly recommend it!


  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy  sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil


  • 1/2 cup fine grind bulgur
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. minced jalepeno
  • 2 Tbsp. non fat yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped mint
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. For the glaze, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan, soak 10 medium skewers in hot water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the bulgur with 2 cups of hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain in a strainer and set aside.
  4. Combine all of the kebab ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze any remaining liquid from the bulgur and add to the mixture in the food processor. Process until all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Divide mixture into 10 balls. Form each ball into a log and thread one of the soaked skewers through each  log.
  6. Heat a lightly oiled grill pan over medium high heat. Place kebabs on the grill pan and cook for about 3 minutes, brushing with the glaze.
  7. Turn the kebabs and continue to cook, brushing with the remaining glaze until the kebabs are cooked through.


  1. says

    We love a good kibbeh. Anytime you pair beef/lamb with pomegranate molasses, mint, cumin and then serve it with pita and a bowl of veg — that’s a perfect supper! All that’s left is a chilled Rose, maybe a beer!



  2. says

    Hi Nancy! I finally set down to visit your blog and it’s great, I was just in time to catch this awesome dish Turkey Kebabs. Now I want them. Thanks for posting a great recipe. Renee

      • Cheryl says

        Gimmie Lean makes a really great (almost too convincing) ground beef/ sausage substitute. Most grocery stores sell it. It comes in a tube (looks like Jimmy Dean’s). I use it for everything- tacos, sausage patties, “meat”loaf, gravy, etc…

        My mother, once a die-hard meat eater, swears by this stuff and even makes it when I’m not home. It keeps well and is really high in protein and fiber, but really low in fat.

  3. says

    mmmm I love middle eastern food- especially pomegranate molasses, I’ll have to pull out my recipe. Recipes like this that are packed with so much flavor are incredibly satisfying.

    Have a great weekend,
    Chef Louise

  4. says

    I’m so into this! This not only looks delicious, but it would be fun for my kids to eat. I want this right now, for breakfast! Thanks, Nancy, for introducing something new to my repertoire!

    • says

      My kids wolfed these down. Since you can assemble these ahead of time, I’m going to be making more for after school snacks – yeah, I’m at that point now – unbelievable how much teenage boys eat!!

    • says

      Hi Mary Ann!!

      These would be awesome with a little Taziki – if you hadn’t been to Wholesome Choice, we should go – great selection of Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian ingredients!!!

    • says

      I think you kids would like them Marla because even though there are jalepenos in them, they aren’t spicy. Next time, I’d probably add more jalapeno to mine and leave the kids as is!!

    • says

      Thanks Pamela!!

      They are a bit tricky to grill since turkey isn’t as firm as beef but with a little TLC they come out just fine – I love pomegranate molasses!

  5. says

    I haven’t had breakfast yet and these incredible Kibbe pictures are making me want to claw at my screen for access to these tasty bites. What a beautiful recipe. I can’t wait to make it. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Brooke!!

      I hope you like them! When I made them for dinner I set down my son’s plate, turned around to serve the other plates and when I turned around again, his were already all gone!!

  6. says

    I walk to my local Persian store almost every day, and yesterday they had a grill going and some really aromatic kebabs were coming off it, served with grilled tomatoes in that thin, big sangak bread. The smell was incredible! Next time I hav e to ask for the recipe!
    I’ve never had kibbe, but it looks like something the whole family would love. The girls would like taking it to school for lunch.
    BTW, we have a ton of hummus in the fridge, and I made a bread similar to pita yesterday, as I was doing Souvlaki:) It’s the spring fever and, like you, I turn East:)

    • says

      Kebabs, tomatoes and sangak bread – it really doesn’t get much better than that, does it!!

      Our Persian market isn’t in walking distance, but I still manage to get there about once a month or so – always come back with more food than I need because it’s all so good!!

  7. says

    My Grandmother made a mean kibbe. And while the memory of her fine cooking lives on, I believe it’s high time I learned how to make kibbe for myself (and eager friends). Thanks for this delicious version.

    • says

      Nothing is better than Grandmother’s recipes!!! If you can find hers I would encourage you to try it – I found it very easy to make and it is so darn tasty!!!
      Thanks for stopping by the Table!!

    • says

      Have to admit these were a bit dicey but once I was in the groove they were easy!!!

      These are going to be fun to make this summer as little appetizers!!

  8. says

    I definitely have to try this!! It looks and sounds so delicious!! I’m out of both pomegranate molasses and regular molasses. Gonna have to make a stop at the Lebanese store these days to pick some up. Can’t wait to try this! :) Cheers! sheila

    • says

      Hi Sheila,

      I hope that you like it. I added very little pepper (since my one son doesn’t like it) so you might want to add a bit more!

  9. says

    I wasn’t too sure about the combination of spices either but tried it with thinly sliced strips of turkey instead of chicken. Results were fantastic! Thanks for the recipe.

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