Red Lentil Kofte / Mercimek Köftesi



























This vegetarian kofte is one of the most popular appetizers of Turkish cuisine.




























1 cup red lentil
1/2 cup fine bulgur
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups of water
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste + 1 tbsp red pepper paste (if you cannot find red pepper paste you can use 2 tbsp tomato paste)
~1 tsp salt
juice of half or 1 lemon (depends on how you like it: sour or not so sour)
1/3 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch green onion, finely chopped
curly leaf lettuce



























-Wash lentils and boil them in 2 cups of water until it almost soaks the water.
-Once you turn it off, add bulgur and salt. Mix once and cover to let the bulgur expand. Let it cool off.
-Heat oil in a pan and add the onion (not the green one!) and cook until soft.
-Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
-Add cumin and stir once you turn it off.
-Add this to the lentils which should be cool by now.
-Add half of finely chopped parsley, green onion, and lemon juice to the lentils. Mix all well.
-Take walnut size pieces and give them kofte shape in your hands.
-You can either place lettuce leaves on a serving plate and put koftes on top as in the picture, or serve koftes and lettuce leaves separately. However, when you eat them you should wrap each kofte in a lettuce leaf.

53 comments:

  1. I really like the sound of these appies Burcu...so flavourful too.

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  2. These sound and look delicious. It is quite impressive how many nice vegetarian dishes Mediterranean cultures have, so one doesn't need resort to tofu and "fake" meat!

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    1. You make a good point because I am vegan and Mediterranean cuisine is wonderful. In some respects it is surprising that there are so many Turkish dishes I can eat. This recipe is great I have just made it and as you put it I didn't have to resort to tofu or fake meat. This recipe is very easy to follow too.

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  3. Harika!!! I love these but haven't found a recipe til now.
    Thank you!!! Tesekkur ederim!!!

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  4. What a lovely recipe!

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  5. This is always on the table of my Turkish friends:) I like it a lot. A nice doze of heat makes this kofte extra delicious. Thanks for sharing, Burcu.

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  6. Diane1:48 PM

    Lovely!
    So - these are not fried as croquettes, just eaten straight after shaped into a kofte?

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  7. yes, they're not fried. just eat them after shaping.

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  8. I made a lamb kofta a while back and still haven't posted on it. But I'd actually rather have your veggie version.

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  9. Burcu,
    This is one of my favorite Turkish vegetarian recipes. Thanks for posting! I love the garnish.

    atinymorsel.wordpress.com

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  10. Is that red pepper flakes as garnish or something else?

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  11. Hi!, First timer here, that looks good :)

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  12. I can't wait to try this dish in Istambul next month. We have a similar dish in Lebanon, probably influenced by the Ottomans

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  14. Wow, this looks so good! Good job!

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  15. I just arrived here through google, I was looking for turkish recipies and, well, your blog seems full of inspiration for me, thanks a lot!! :)

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  16. Can't wait to finally try this recipe!
    By the way, last time I was in Istanbul I bought some sahlep in the Bazaar; do you know if sahlep is getting rarer?

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  17. Anonymous5:58 AM

    This is the real deal although many lentil kofte recipes are on the internet. Thx

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  18. These are super, but are much better if you add dill. I recommend it!! :D

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  19. My Turkish neighbors in Istanbul said that mine (yours actually) wonderful and even compared mine to being better than our other Turkish neighbors. Thanks now I' m a local

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  20. I had the same question as Angie...what was used to top them off...the little red flaky things...it just doesn't look like red pepper flakes...
    Thanks...the recipe looks awesome...

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  21. They are actually red pepper flakes; I got them from a Turkish store, they are darker in color than most pepper flakes.

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  22. Anonymous9:49 PM

    so when do you add the cumin and the lemon juice? and what do you do with the rest of parsley and green onion

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    Replies
    1. It's all in the instructions. Use rest of the parsley to sprinkle on top.

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  23. Nadine11:55 AM

    I made this recipe yesterday for dinner..oh it was so satisfying..a cross between lentil soup, moujadara (a lebanese/syrian lentils dish) and frakeh, a southern lebanon typical meat dish. thank you so much for this recipe.

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  24. Anonymous1:53 PM

    I just made this today and it is wonderful. I tried it once at a Turkish restaurant and loved it. Your recipes are excellent and I love how you have pictures on how to present them.

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  25. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Just wanted to let you know I've been making these for a couple of years now-awesome!

    I adore your blog. I must have been Turkish in another life given my fanaticism for yogurt and bulgur!


    Paula

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  26. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. While making it I had to use my own judgement because you do not mention when to add the cumin and lemon. I only used half a lemon and it was plenty otherwise the taste is good Let's see what my guests think when they taste it.

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  27. Anonymous10:12 AM

    The Red Lentil Kofte look really delicious. I love Turkish cuisine, because it's so easy to find non-meat dishes. I'm quite happy with a dinner consisting of various meze. I'm going to have to try this Kofte out.

    thanks for posting it... Jay

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  28. Anonymous8:33 PM

    I found your site while searching for a recipe for these - they lived up to my expectations! Delicious!

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  29. today i also tired, mine wasn't as delicious as my mum's :)) but it was ok.

    also thanks for your recipe..

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  30. Awesome... I just made these and they were amazing! I added some minced red bell pepper and a clove of garlic with the onions as well as a small dash of cayenne with the spices. The taste of each flavor was distinct and yet blended in a really great way. It called for way too much oil so I only used a tablespoon or two, just enough to cook the onion mixture. I will definitely recommend it to others! This is now my new favorite lentil recipe.

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  31. I just arrived here through google, I was looking for turkish recipies and, well, your blog seems full of inspiration for me, thanks a lot!! :)

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  32. Just cooked with this recipe, afterwards stuck them in the oven to crisp up and served with hummus. Delish!

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  33. MommaGPZ9:36 PM

    Love love love... just got back from the store ready to start making these. My stepdad is turkish and when i was in turkey my aunt made these and they were amazing. ive looked everywhere for how to make them and freakin finally!!!! as soon as i saw the pic i was like OMG THATS IT!!!! love it thanx sooo much! Will b passing along to one of my vegan friends as well!!!

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  34. Anonymous9:05 AM

    can i make these with leftovers of lentil soup??

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    Replies
    1. I'd highly recommend not to do so, since soup lentils would be very mushy and soaked you'd have to more and more bulgur and it's mess up the ratio.

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  35. quick easy recipes9:02 PM

    Such a wonderful recipe. I love the taste of the onion and lemon. Tangy. Lovely and easy recipe to follow.

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  36. simdi yapmak. cok sagol cnm!

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  37. Anonymous7:29 AM

    Would love to try these but have two questions. What does boiling the lentils "till they soak the water" mean? Are you meaning until the water is mostly gone/reduced?

    Also what happens to the other half of the parsley, green onions and lemon juice?

    Thank you!

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  38. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe and easy to follow step-by-step instructions!
    These mercimek kofte are outstanding. I loved them, and so did my children, who eagerly wrapped them in lettuce, but then decided to smash them on bread and make them into little sandwiches. Why not? Almost Turkish! Or Turkish-American synthesis.
    They taste exactly like the version I ate in Turkey and have eaten at Turkish friends' homes here in the US. . .now I know their secret!
    Hint: for children, omit the green onions!

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  39. I soaked big green lentils overnight. I wanted to make a salad with them but I remember this recipe. Do you think I can use the soaked lentils for this recipe? In Mexico is difficult to get the red lentils...

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    1. I am not quite sure; honestly, never tried to make this recipe with red lentils but I don't think it'd be bad. You might keep tasting it and add a bit more cumin.

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  40. could you give an idea of how many this serves?

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    1. Well, it depends on how you serve them. These are never served as main course dish in Turkey, but rather as part of a tea party, etc., so this recipe would serve 8-10 people 3-4 koftes per person. But, if you serve this to fill people, as a main course dish, then I think it'd be 4-6.

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  41. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Just made these and they were delicious. Thank you for the recipe! If I may add one suggestion: to make the recipe clearer, maybe you should change the part about adding the parsley, lemon etc to: "Add the green onion, lemon juice and half of finely chopped parsley to the lentils." As it is now, one might read it as having to add only half the onions and half of the juice.

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  42. That is a lovely dish. I am going to try this saturday.

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  43. Hello - I'm saving this recipe .. it looks delicious. I was wondering if you'd allow me to republish this on my blog and in a travel guide I'm writing about Gumusluk in Bodrum Turkey. My guide is aimed at self catering visitors, and I'd like to add easy Turkish recipes into the guide. I'd credit you as the source, and include a short bio and web link back to your side.... please let me know if you are ok with this. thanks, Jay www.bodrumpeninsulatravelguide.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jay,
      Thanks for asking. You can add this recipe to your site with reference. Best,
      Burcu

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  44. Duygu4:38 PM

    Hi Burcu,

    Another Turk in the US here. Mine come out pretty runny/soft that I could not shape them. So I heated the whole mix in a non-stick pan to dry out the water. Now it is cooling and I think it'll be fine. I am wondering what I did wrong because nobody else seems to have a problem with the consistency. It tastes perfect though, just the consistency was not as I wanted. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

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  45. Dear Duygu,
    I'm wondering whether you really let lentils soak the water or not. If your measurements were correct, i.e., 1 c lentils & 2 c water, you might add bulgur early, before lentils soak all the water.

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  46. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Does soak the water mean until the water is gone? and where it says one Tbsp tomato +red pepper paste, does it mean a Tbsp of each and is the first ingredient a tomato or tomato paste? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, cook the lentils until the water is almost gone. It is 1tbsp tomato paste and 1 tbsp pepper paste, but if you cannot find pepper paste then use 2 tbsp tomato paste. Tomato paste. I will correct these in the text as well. Thank you!

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