Turkish Lentil Kofte Recipe

This is a popular dish from Turkey which - for reasons unknown to us - never gets served in a restaurant. It is inexpensive to make and almost a must have in social gatherings at home. It’s a much lighter alternative to deep fried falafels and we are surprised lentils koftes still haven’t broke into London’s street food scene. The best part about this dish is that it’s super healthy and practical. It’s a great way to use your grains and herbs at home and makes a wholesome appetizer high in protein and fiber. It’s also fun to eat and we assure you kids will love it!


Total Time: 70 m I Prep: 10 m I Cook: 60 m I Difficulty: Moderate



  • 1 coffee mug of red lentils
  • ¾ coffee mug of fine bulgur
  • 3 medium sized white onions (finely chopped)
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
  • 4-5 green onions
  • Handful of leftover greens (parsley, dill, mint)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lettuce leaves (to serve)


How to prepare:

  • Wash the lentils well until water runs clear and drain. Place in a large saucepan with 3-4 coffee mugs of water and boil until all the water evaporates. When lentils boil a white foam might appear. Don’t worry. Lentils cook relatively easy. Once all the liquid is absorbed turn off the heat, add bulgur on your lentils, stir well and close its lid. Let it sit for 30 mins, until the bulgur is softened.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add finely chopped white onions. Cook slowly until soft and add red pepper paste. Add to your lentils which should be cool by now.
  • Finely chop your green onions and leftover greens.
  • First mix well your lentils and onions with cumin, salt & pepper. It is best (and more traditional) to knead with your hands. The mix can still be hot so be careful not to burn your fingers. Once onions, spices and lentils are evenly mixed add your chopped greens. Again mix well. Taste your mixture and adjust if you want it more spicy. If you find it too spicy for your taste, add more greens to balance it out.
  • Using your hands, roll into balls. You can serve your lentil koftes on a bowl of greens or simply just with lettuce.