Lentil “Koftes” with Mom

My mom and dad were just here for a few weeks, helping out with the kiddies (hello, trip to Positano!) and just hangin with us.  Before my mom left, amidst packing and getting in as much grand-children time as possible, she somehow made the time to whip up this amazing plant-based Turkish dish.  We had them for lunch yesterday and today (ok, and dinner today too) – they make the perfect picnic dish!  Delicious, filling and super energizing – love them wrapped up with romaine lettuce leaves and served with tomatoes.  Yum!   THANK YOU MOM & DAD!  WE LOVE & MISS YOU!! Here’s the recipe – will be a keeper chez judy!


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups bulgur (fine, ‘koftelik’ bulgur)
  • 1 litre water
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 tbsp roasted red pepper paste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (I pulse them in the Vitamix, they need to be pretty small)
  • parsley, finely chopped
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced (I discard the green part)
  • salt/ pepper, to taste

Add the red lentils to 1 litre of water, cook uncovered around 20-30 min – until lentils are done.  There should be a lot of water left in the pot.

Pour the dry bulgur into a large dish.  Add the cooked lentils/ water over the bulgur.  Mix together with wooden spoon (heavy enough to mix it well.) Put a lid on and set aside.

Next, make the tomato/ pepper mixture.  Sauté the onions in a large pan with some olive oil.  Add the tomato paste and red pepper paste.  Add your spices – salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and cumin.  Sauté another 5 min., then add 1/2 cup of hot water.    Cook another 5 min.

Your lentil/ bulgar mix should have been sitting for around 20 min now – double check that the bulgur is cooked through.

Add your tomato/ pepper mixture to your lentil/ burger base.  Mix the two together with wooden spoon, making sure the tomato/ pepper paste is evenly spread in the mixture.  Close the lid, let it sit another 10-15 min.

Once the temperature cools a little, mix it with your hands and knead it a bit – it will feel like dough.  Add the remaining raw ingredients – chopped parsley and green onion – and mix well.

Form little patties.  This is a great time to get your kids involved!  Get them rolling and kneading and making little shapes – get creative!  

Refridgerate koftes for a few hours.  Serve chilled together with romaine lettuce leaves for a delicious, plant-based wrap!  Love the crunchiness of the romaine leaves with the soft chewiness of the koftes.  I like to add some sliced tomatoes in there too, especially since they’re in season and so freaking amazing right now.  Enjoy!

Lunch day 1, lunch & dinner day 2 - and still love it :) that's gotta say something!

Lunch day 1, lunch & dinner day 2 – and still love it 🙂 that’s gotta say something!

So good - definitely a keeper!  Adored by all -- even Lily!

So good – definitely a keeper! Adored by all — even Lily!

My style of 'kofte' (i.e. meatball in turkish)

My style of ‘kofte’ (i.e. meatball in turkish)

Kofte selfie :)

Kofte selfie 🙂