Make Ahead

Red Lentil Kofte

April 20, 2020
1 Ratings
Photo by Saboush Cooks
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes 25-30 pieces
Author Notes

Red lentil kofte is very much enjoyed by Turks at tea parties next to pastries, cakes or as a side dish next to main courses during lunch or dinner. It is incredibly delicious because of all the spices and aromatics in it as well as it is filling. This crowd-pleaser can be prepared in advance and served cold. We wrap our koftes in lettuce leaves and drizzle some lemon juice or pomegranate sauce before devouring it. —Saboush

What You'll Need
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 3 small-medium onions, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for sautéing
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, for the mixture
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoe paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped§
  • 6-7 stals scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
  • lettuce leaves , for serving
  • pomegranate sauce, for serving
  1. Put the lentils in a saucepan, add 3 cups of cold water, and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the lentils have absorbed all the water and thoroughly cooked. If necessary, add a little bit more water. Turn off the heat.
  2. Immediately, stir in the bulgur then close the lid tightly and let everything steam for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, sauté the onion with a pinch of sugar, for 5 minutes in medium heat until pink and soft. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a further 2 minutes, and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in the onion into the lentil-bulgur mix. Add the salt, black pepper, cumin, sumac, chilli flakes and cayenne pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix and knead everything until the consistency of the mixture is doughy enough to form the koftes. At this stage check the taste, if desired, you can add more spices.
  5. Finally mix in the spring onions and parsley. Mix well with your hands and form the mixture between your hands into small-medium size koftes.
  6. Let the koftes cool in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving. Drizzle more lemon juice/pomegranate sauce and serve with lettuce leaves.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Saboush
  • Chrisanna Doyle
    Chrisanna Doyle

2 Reviews

Chrisanna D. July 13, 2022
Fast and delicious! perfect for a snack or meal, especially on hot days. I made mine gluten free by using cream of rice in place of the fine bulgur and it really worked well.
Saboush July 18, 2022
Great to hear, thank you for sharing your tip on gluten-free version.