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Shared by Pnina Shasha

Beet Kubbeh Soup

Yield: 8-10Time: 2 hours

Beet Kubbeh Soup

Yield: 8-10Time: 2 hours

Family Journey


Kubbeh, also known as kibbeh, is a style of dumpling that typically features ground meat wrapped in semolina, bulgar, or rice. Popular in communities across the Levant, kubbeh can be fried in oil, baked, or poached in soup like it is in this recipe from Pnina Shasha. In her Iraqi family, a beef and onion mixture is tucked into a semolina dough and then simmered in a ruby-hued beet broth. 

Her grandmother served the dish every Friday for lunch. Today, Pnina continues to make the soup, but not quite as often since kubbeh requires a good amount of time. Over the years, her family’s found a trick to help: once the kubbeh are formed, the dumplings can be frozen for months. “My mom spends hours making hundreds of dumplings and puts them in the freezer, so that they will be ready,” Pnina shares. 

Though her grandma’s kubbeh recipe was never formally written down, Pnina learned to make it from her mother and grandmother. To write the recipe below, she made the dish again with her mother, ensuring she recorded each step. 

This recipe comes from a collaboration between Momentum and the Jewish Food Society. Find more recipes from this collection at "Recipes from the Momentum Community", created with the help of Rebecca Firsker and Ame Gilbert. 


For the kubbeh:

  • 1 large yellow onion, very finely chopped 
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon baharat
  • ¼ cup chopped celery leaves (optional)
  • 3 cups fine semolina flour
  • 1 ½ cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

For the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large beets, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divide
  • Chopped celery leaves (optional)
Cooking ProjectsMain CoursesSoups & StewsMeat Middle East


  • Step 1

    Make the kubbeh filling: Place the 1 chopped onion in a clean kitchen towel. Working over the sink or a bowl, squeeze out and discard as much liquid as possible. Place the onions in a large bowl. Add the beef to the large bowl along with the salt, pepper, baharat, and chopped celery leaves, if using. Mix with your hands until combined, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Make the kubbeh patties: Mix together  3 cups semolina flour, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and  1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Knead the mixture in the bowl to combine until it forms a dough that is moist but not sticky. If dough feels sticky, knead in additional semolina flour, 1 teaspoon at a time. If dough feels dry, add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

  • Step 3

    Cut dough into two pieces and keep one of them covered. Roll out the other piece of dough on a work surface lightly dusted with semolina flour, or between 2 pieces of wax paper until it is ⅛-inch thick. Cut out about 2 ½-inch rounds and place the cut pieces on a piece of wax paper. Re-roll the scrap and continue cutting rounds until you use up the dough. You can stack the cut rounds between layers of wax paper.

  • Step 4

    Line 1 to 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove the kubbeh filling from the refrigerator. Wetting your hands as needed to prevent the mixture from sticking, pinch off a small piece of the kubbeh filling and gently roll into a 1” ball. Place the ball of kubbeh filling in the center of a rolled out round of dough and pinch to seal the ends. Roll the ball gently in your hands into a ball to ensure the meat is sealed in the dough. Place on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat rolling, filling and shaping until the remaining kubbeh filling and  dough have all been used. If planning to cook these kubbeh within 12 hours, place in the refrigerator; if waiting longer, freeze the kubbeh on the sheet pan until solid, about 2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to cook.

  • Step 5

    Repeat steps 2 to 4 until all the dough and beef mixture have been used. 

  • Step 6

    Make the soup: In a large stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Saute the 1 chopped onion until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the beets and saute until softened, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the water, half of the lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery leaves if using, and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently drop the kubbeh into the soup, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer until the kubbeh and the beets are cooked through, about 50 minutes.

  • Step 7

    Season the soup with more salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining lemon juice and serve the soup with a few kubbeh per serving immediately.