Lebanese vermicelli rice with meat, or hashweh, is an easy-to-make dish that delivers loads of authentic Middle Eastern flavor. Perfectly spiced ground beef, basmati rice with vermicelli noodles an dpine nuts come together to create this dynamite recipe.
Today’s recipe for hashweh is perfect when you want a quick weeknight dinner without sacrificing on flavor. This classic Lebanese dish is hearty enough to be enjoyed by itself and comes together in only 30 minutes. When mixed with rice, it reminds me of a Cajun Dirty Rice, but with Middle Eastern flavors!
Hashweh, also spelled hashwee and hushweh, is a Lebanese staple where ground beef or lamb is cooked with a variety of aromatic spices and pine nuts and optionally mixed with rice vermicelli pilaf.
Eaten on its own with pita chips, it’s wonderful, but hashweh also makes a great stuffing. In fact, that is exactly what it translates to in English from Arabic! This traditional Lebanese dish is used most often to fill Stuffed Zucchini (Kousa Mahshi), Kibbeh (Beef Croquettes), Kawarma (Hummus with Lamb) and Stuffed Grape Leaves.
Try this hashweh recipe as a stuffing for vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, or peppers or in your next pita pocket or wrap.
Table of Contents
- Meat – Choose beef, lamb, or a combination of the two. Ground chicken or turkey can be used if you prefer.
- Vermicelli Pasta – This thin Italian noodle should be easy to find in the pasta aisle in most grocery stores. You can substitute angel hair pasta or choose rice noodles for a gluten-free option.
- Basmati Rice – I prefer basmati, but feel free to use a different long-grain white rice if needed.
- Ghee – Clarified butter or regular butter are both great options. Look for ghee in the international aisle or by the coconut oil.
- Pine Nuts – Toasty, nutty, and sweet with a hint of pine. Cashews or almonds are also good options.
- Seasonings – This dish is filled with warming, aromatic spices including cinnamon, black pepper, and Lebanese 7 Spice Blend, along with freshly chopped parsley and bright lemon.
Seasoning used in Hashweh
Lebanese Seven Spice Blend adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, from meats like kebabs and stews to rice, soups, and even vegetables. You can purchase store bought or make your own blend as I have here, Lebanese 7 Spice Blend.
- Rinse the Rice. Use a fine mesh strainer to thoroughly rinse the grains with cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
- Brown the Vermicelli. Place a large, deep pan over medium heat along with the ghee or butter. Add the broken-up pieces of vermicelli and saute, stirring constantly, until they turn a nice golden brown. Be sure to pay attention and stir to avoid burning.
- Add the Rice. Add the cinnamon, salt, pepper, and rinse rice to the pan, stirring to combine with the vermicelli. Stirring often, toast the rice for 2-3 minutes.
- Boil the Mixture. Carefully pour the water or chicken stock into the pan. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and use a fork to fluff.
- Start the Hashweh. While the rice and vermicelli mixture is cooking, place a deep skillet with 1 tablespoon of ghee over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and saute until they are golden brown and have a nice nutty aroma. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Saute the Onion. Keep the same skillet over medium heat and add the remainder of the ghee or butter. Toss in the onions and saute them for 4-5 minutes.
- Cook the Meat. Now add in the ground beef (or lamb) along with the kosher salt, black pepper, and Lebanese 7 Spice. Cook the meat until it is browned, using a spoon to break it up and move it around. This usually takes 8-10 minutes. Add the toasted pine nuts, stir to combine, and then set aside.
- Assemble & Serve. You can either mix the rice and hashweh together, or serve the meat nestled on top of a platter of fluffy rice pilaf. Garnish with fresh lemons and plenty of chopped parsley.
It is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from ground meat, pine nuts and spices. The meat is usually lamb, beef, or a combination of the two. Spices can include cinnamon, Lebanese 7 spice, black pepper, and various other warm, aromatic spices. Toasted nuts and dried fruits are often included as well.
Vermicelli is a type of thin, round, Italian pasta noodle traditionally made from maida wheat flour. Vermicelli rice, like in this recipe, refers to a rice pilaf made by combining vermicelli noodles with rice like basmati, like my Lebanese Rice Pilaf.
Rice noodles can often resemble vermicelli in size and shape, but are something completely different. Usually included in Indian and Asian cuisine, these thin, flat noodles are made from — you guessed it — rice!
If your vermicelli rice comes out soggy, the most likely culprit is overcooking. If you add too much water to the pot, leave the heat up too high, and/or leave it on the range for too long, the whole dish could suffer. Be as accurate as possible when adding water to the rice and be sure to set a timer.
Also, don’t forget to thoroughly rinse the rice before cooking. This removes the excess starch which can be another cause of mushiness.
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Hashweh with Lebanese Rice Pilaf
- Place the raw rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly until water runs clear. Set aside.
- In a large, deep pan melt the ghee (or butter) over medium heat. Add the broken vermicelli pasta and brown, stirring often, until the vermicelli is a deep golden brown color. Keep stirring as it cooks to prevent it from burning.
- Add rinsed rice, salt, pepper and cinnamon to the pan and combine with the vermicelli. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Carefully pour boiling water into the pan and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pan with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes, then fluff with fork.
- Meanwhile, in a deep skillet melt 1 tablespoon ghee (or butter) over medium heat and saute the pine nuts until you smell a nutty aroma and the nuts are a rich golden brown color. Set aside.
- In same pan, melt remaining tablespoon ghee (or butter) over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Add ground beef (or lamb), Lebanese 7 spice, kosher salt and black pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes until meat is browned, stirring with spoon to break up meat. Stir in toasted pine nuts and set aside.
- To serve, either spoon hashweh on top of fluffed rice pilaf mounded on a platter (as pictured) or combine both the hashweh and the rice pilaf together. Garnish with the fresh minced parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.