Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We tried this for Nate's department Christmas Party, it went over pretty well!

Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

Photo Credit: Lezizsofralar'a Hosgeldiniz



  • 2 cups red lentils
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Biber Salcasi, Turkish red pepper paste (not harissa), or a mix of puréed roasted hot and sweet red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Romaine or other small cupped lettuce leaves


In a small saucepan, combine the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the water, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and remove from the heat. Cover and set aside until the bulgur is very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a small skillet over low heat, heat the oil and add the onion, sautéing until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and pepper pastes and mix well. Remove from the heat and cool. Add cumin, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Season with salt to taste.
Add the onion mixture to the lentil mixture and toss to mix. Add the scallions and parsley, mixing gently. Line a platter or individual serving plates with lettuce leaves. With dampened hands, form the lentil mixture into oval walnut-size balls, placing them on top of the lettuce. Serve immediately, or cover lightly and refrigerate up to one hour.
About 40 lentil balls, 8 to 10 appetizer servings

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