Turkish Lentil Kofta Balls | Mercimek Köftesi (Vegan) By Aysenur Altan

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Turkish Lentil Kofta “Mercimek Köftesi” is easy to make and delicious vegan dishes with simple ingredients. Very popular among ladies in tea parties here in Turkey 🙂
The main ingredient is thin bulgur. It also has onion, tomato paste, olive oil and spices along with red lentils of course. For fresh ingredients, I used just chopped parsley as a fresh green but in original we also use finely sliced scallions too.

Ingredients for Lentil Kofta Balls
1 cup red lentils (wash and drained)
2+1/2 cups water
a good pinch of salt
1 cup thin bulgur wheat
1 big onion
5-6 tbsp olive oil
little less than 1 tbsp tomato paste
little less than red pepper paste (If you can’t find use tomato paste instead)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp or more salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/3 bunch of parsley
5-6 thin scallions
To serve: fresh lettuce leaves, lemon wedges

Wash and drain the lentils and cook in 2+1/2 cups water with a pinch of salt in a pot or pressure cooker to make it quicker with the lid on until lentils are very soft like a mashy puree.
Turn off the heat and while it is still hot, add the bulgur wheat, stir well and close to lid. Wait until the bulgur soaks all the juices.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Chop the onion finely and saute in 5-6 tbsp olive oil until it gets a bit color.
Add tomato and if you have pepper paste. Continue to saute until the raw smell of the tomato and pepper paste is gone about 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat.
Add salt, paprika and cumin, and then 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for about 1 minute and add the sauce to the lentil and bulgur mixture.
Mix everything well, you can also mash it with your hand. Give it a taste if it needs more seasonings and salt. Drizzle 3-4 tbsp more olive oil and mix well. The consistency we are looking for is like thick wet sand that you can shape it. If it seems too dry you can add little more water or olive oil for extra taste and adjust it. You can also check it by shaping a piece.
Finally, add finely chopped parsley and scallions if using and mix again without mashing the greens too much.
Shape the lentil kofta balls as you wish and serve with lots of lettuce leaves and lemon wedges and enjoy! Afiyet Olsun!

What Is Bulgur Wheat?
Bulgur is a cereal grain made from dried, cracked wheat — most commonly durum wheat. It is partially cooked so that it can be prepared relatively quickly. When cooked, it has a similar consistency to couscous or quinoa.

Bulgur is considered a whole grain, meaning that the entire wheat kernel — including the germ, endosperm and bran — is eaten.

It is originated in the Mediterranean and can be traced back thousands of years. To this day, it’s a staple ingredient in many Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.

You might be interested in this similar recipe Cigkofte (Turkish raw meatless bulgur balls): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isohRsOHfJg

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J H says:

Can I use semolina flour instead of the wheat flour..

shubham dwivedi says:

Here in India we say kofte too😅

Ertunç Delikaya says:

1:11 İnce taneli anlamında thin değil de fine kullanılıyor abla.

Susan P says:

Vow, so simple to make and I am sure tastes great.
I can't eat wheat, so I am thinking of adding some chickpea flour instead of bulgur. It will dry the mixture the sale way.

David Cobb says:

I like, I like. Simple and easy, thanks.

Qi Zhu says:

Thank you so much for sharing this vegan dish! ❤️❤️❤️

Alexa M. says:

I thought you are going to fry them…

Ian Zimdahl says:

Hi these look fantastic. Just wondering if the finished koftas could be deep or pan fried and served warm ?

Unise Mendez says:

Wow!!! I love this recipee!! The only thing I will change is the amount of oil. I will use less. But I can not wait to try this!!! Thank you!!!

yennycatalphone says:

Can the kofta balls be frozen for later use once made?

Tawfik Barakat says:

I'm very excited about using your left hand to cook but you taste food with the right hand very good recipe and regards from USA 👍👍🍽👌👌

Zainab Rishad says:

MashaAllah wow love from Nairobi Kenya salams

Happy Life says:

My favorite recipe I learned from my Turkish exchange daughter many years ago. I make it often❤️

Megan Jarvis says:

😋 yummy!!!!!❤❤❤❤❤❤❤🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

polen sarici says:

Thank you abla

priti gill says:

You did not tell what those leaves were that you added

priti gill says:

I love it when you said my paprika is hot 🥵😉

Shenaaz Pothiwalla says:

Kindly plse reply what did you mix with the lentils

Shenaaz Pothiwalla says:


Sophia KT says:

Thank you for this easy and tasty recipe 🙂
I already made your lentil soup recipe and it was a big success

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