Red Lentil and Bulgur Spread (Kibbe)

Hummus isn't the only bean-based dip that's easy to make at home -- this red-lentil based spread is a vegetarian version of kibbe, a Lebanese dish that takes many forms, but always involves bulgur wheat and a mix of delicious spices.

Red Lentil and Bulgur Spread

Kibbe is often made with ground lamb or beef, but this recipe uses red lentils for the bulk of the mix, with bulgur wheat for flavor and texture, and a mix of warm, spicy, and savory Vanns Spices to make up a dip that is both addictively delicious and healthy. Serve it with pita bread or crackers for an appetizer, or with romaine lettuce leaves for a light, healthy main dish.

Spices used in this recipe

Coriander, Ground
Paprika, Spanish Sweet
Cumin Ground
California Sea Salt, Fine
Cayenne Pepper
Peppercorns, Black
Peppercorns, Black, Grinder


  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanns Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Vanns Sweet Spanish Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Vanns Ground Cumin
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tsp. Vanns Fine Sea Salt, more to taste
  • ½ cup fine bulgur wheat (though coarser will work if that’s all you can get)
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. Vanns Cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. pomegranate molasses (can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores - do not substitute regular molasses! If unavailable, simply omit.)
  • 2 Tbs. flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

To Serve:

  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 scallions, trimmed, whites and greens thinly sliced
  • Vanns Black Peppercorns, freshly ground
  • Pita bread or romaine leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add chopped red onion and a pinch of salt and saute until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in coriander, paprika, and cumin and saute, stirring, until fragrant, 1 more minute. Stir in water, lentils, and ½ tsp. salt and raise heat to bring to a boil. Lower mixture to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook until lentils are completely soft, about 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in the bulgur wheat and partially cover pot. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Stir tomato paste into mixture, cover tightly with lid, and allow to sit off the heat for 30 minutes, so that the bulgur absorbs the excess liquid and the mixture develops the consistency of a thick, creamy spread. Stir in lemon juice, cayenne, pomegranate molasses, and 2 Tbs. chopped parsley leaves and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice as needed. 
  3. Spread the mixture in a shallow serving dish, using the back of a spoon to gently press wavy lines across the top. Drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil, sprinkle with parsley leaves, mint leaves, and sliced scallions, and grind some black pepper across the top.
  4. Serve with pita bread or romaine leaves.

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer. Adapted from Vegan Eats World.


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