Turkish Red Lentil Köfte (Mercimek Köfte)

The Middle-Eastern kitchen is incredibly vegan and vegetarian friendly. Lots of recipes with beans, legumes, grains and vegies makes it wonderful for plant-based diets to explore new tastes and ideas. This week we’ve tried the Mercimek Köfte which are traditional Turkish vegan ‘meat’ balls made with bulgur and served in a green lettuce leaf. I added my own little twist to it and here’s the result: a great weeknight dinner that you can serve with some vegan tzaziki and naan bread. It’s the perfect party finger food as well!


September 19, 2017
: 15 koftes
: 10 min
: 20 min
: 30 min
: easy


  • 200 g red lentils
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp Ajvar (Turkish capsicum sauce, I've used mild but next time I'll make it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp harrisa spice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  • Step 2 Cook the red lentils for 7 minutes and drain from excess water
  • Step 3 Blend lentils with all the ingredients in a food processor.
  • Step 4 Transfer to a bowl and add some flour if the mixture is still too wet.
  • Step 5 Form 15 rolls. Add them to an oven plate with baking paper. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 I like mine a bit crispier and browner, so I’ve baked them in a very hot cast iron pan for another 1-2 minutes on each side.
  • Step 7 Serve with a fresh balsamic salad, cos lettuce, tomato & cucumber salad, naan bread, vegan tzaziki, more ajvar or any other sides you’d like.

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