Tomato Kibbeh (Kamounet Banadoura)
Prep Time25 mins.
Ready In30 mins.
Tomato Kibbeh, which in Arabic is known as Kamounet Banadoura or Kibbet Banadoura, is a vegan dish made popular in South Lebanon. Tomato Kibbeh which can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish, is made with raw tomatoes, fresh herbs, bulgur, and kibbeh spices. The recipe does not require any cooking, the bulgur will fluff up on its own from all the juicy tomatoes. This is a perfect vegetarian or vegan substitution for the classic Lebanese Kibbeh made traditionally with beef or lamb.
What is Kamouneh?
South Lebanon is quite famous for their “Kamouneh.” This is what makes the Kibbeh in South Lebanon differ from the Kibbeh throughout the rest of Lebanon. Kamouneh is a blend of fine bulgur, onion, fresh mint, red bell pepper, and a variety of spices processed together in a food processor. You can also add fresh basil leaves and marjoram to the mix as well.
Even in South Lebanon (where both my parents are from), each household has their own special recipe. If you have red pepper paste you can substitute that in the Kamouneh instead of fresh red bell pepper. You can also substitute dried herbs if you do not have fresh for the mint, marjoram and basil.
How to Make Tomato Kibbeh
Since the tomatoes are not cooked in this recipe, you want to use the best flavored tomatoes you can find. I used cluster tomatoes that I have been growing in my garden and let them ripen for a few days on my counter. You want the tomatoes to be ripe, but, not too ripe where they will completely liquify in the food processor.
I like to use a food processor to chop the tomatoes with just a few pulses. I like the tomatoes to be somewhat chunky. You can finely chop them by hand if you prefer an even chunkier texture. Once the Kamouneh with the fine bulgur has been prepared, I pulse the quartered tomatoes a few times before adding the Kamouneh back in. I also add a little tomato paste for an even deeper tomato flavor. Make sure to taste for salt, and kibbeh spice.
Traditionally, a little habanero or jalapeno is added to Kamouneh and pulsed with it for a nice kick of spice. If you want something a little milder, add some cayenne pepper instead. Once the dish is complete, I let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to give the bulgur time to fluff up in the tomato juices. Once the bulgur has fluffed up, I serve it topped with olive oil and pita bread.
Process until the onion and red pepper are fully chopped and everything is combined. Set aside.
Wash the tomatoes and quarter each tomato into 4 pieces. Add to the food processor along with the tomato paste and salt.
Process a few times until chopped but still chunky.
Do not overprocess or it will become too runny.
Add the Kamouneh mix to the food processer…
…and pulse a few times until fully incorporated.
Add the tomato kibbeh to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the bulgur can fluff up with the tomato juices.
Once the bulgur is fluffy, spread the tomato kibbeh on a flat serving plate and top with extra virgin olive oil and serve with pita bread.
Tomato Kibbeh (Kamounet Banadoura)
- Grind your kibbeh spices if they are not already ground. Prepare your kamouneh by adding the 1 cup of fine bulgur, quartered onion, fresh mint leaves, piece of red bell pepper (or bell pepper paste), kibbeh spices, dried marjoram, salt and piece of habanero (optional) to a large food processor.
- Process until the onion and red pepper are fully chopped and everything is combined. Set aside.
- Wash the tomatoes and quarter each tomato into 4 pieces. Add to the food processor along with the tomato paste and salt. Process a few times until chopped but still chunky. Do not overprocess or it will become too runny.
- Add the Kamouneh mix to the food processer and pulse a few times until fully incorporated.
- Add the tomato kibbeh to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the bulgur can fluff up with the tomato juices.Once the bulgur is fluffy, spread the tomato kibbeh on a flat serving plate and top with extra virgin olive oil and serve with pita bread.