Hashwa-Arabic Style Dressing for your Thanksgiving Feast!

Let’s face reality – Thanksgiving is not the ideal time to go low carb.

The holidays are the ideal time to put away the protein shakes, the sprouted tortillas and the egg-white omelets and celebrate togetherness by reveling in some luxurious carbohydrates. My mother is known for putting everyone out into a sleepy stupor after her lavish dinners. Here is a photo to give you an idea of what I mean:


Perhaps some of you are searching through dog-eared recipes in old cookbooks for a tried-and-true stuffing recipe or browsing the Web for a new dish to spice up your holiday table. The following two Middle Eastern recipes celebrate both old and new traditions in my family in the form of carbs. After all, if you’re going to splurge, why not make a side dish using high-quality ingredients with maximum flavor?

Hashwa is the Arabic word for “stuffing.” This recipe is more than a century old, yet still very versatile for today’s palate.

For Thanksgiving, my mother would stuff Cornish game hens or turkey with Hashwa instead of traditional bread stuffing. This meat-and rice-based dish is great as a side or stuffing for game or vegetables like tomatoes, squash, zucchini or even grape leaves simmered in a tomato-kissed broth.

The addition of aromatic spices – allspice, turmeric and nutmeg – sets Hashwa apart from other rice-based dishes, as do the crunchy, pan-fried nuts that go on top. Pine nuts are the traditional topping, but my mother used slivered almonds when pine nuts weren’t available. Middle Eastern home cooks traditionally like to use Uncle Ben’s or converted rice because the rice turns out fluffier, but jasmine or even basmati rice will do. So if you are feeling adventurous, here is your ingredient list and and instructions, now grab your grocery bag to get the easy to find ingredients, and let me know how it goes!  Check out my latest video to give you step by step instructions:


3/4   pounds lamb, finely chopped  

1 tbs butter  

1/2   onion, finely diced  

3  cloves garlic, minced  

1   teaspoon salt  

1/4   teaspoon nutmeg

1   teaspoon ground allspice

dash turmeric

1  cups rice (like Jasmine)

1 3/4  cups chicken broth  

1   tablespoons olive oil  

11/4  cup each pine nuts, slivered almonds or a mixture of both  

To make stuffing:

Soak rice  for about 30 minutes. This will make the rice fluffier.  In the meantime, brown the lamb in  olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Saute until lamb is browned.  Set aside. Now time to prepare the rice. Add the butter to a saucepan, and stir in rice, salt to taste, and a dash of turmeric.  Then add the chicken broth. Once mixture starts boiling  cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed by the rice.

In a separate skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to nuts and sauté until golden brown.  To serve as a side dish, plate the rice, and top with the meat, then the nuts. To stuff a bird, mix everything together so the flavors and textures are evenly distributed.

From my family to yours, hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving! Drop a comment below or subscribe to my channel for more easy yet adventurous recipes!



2 thoughts on “Hashwa-Arabic Style Dressing for your Thanksgiving Feast!

  1. Love you for posting this!!!! My mom used to always make this!!! Made this last night and it tasted just like hers!!

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