Mercimek köftesi (lentil kofta)

Mercimek köftesi, also known as lentil kofta, is a popular vegetarian dish in Turkish cuisine. It is made with red lentils, bulgur wheat, onions, and spices, and often served with lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and lemon wedges. The dish is typically eaten as a meze (appetizer) or as a main course.

The origin of mercimek köftesi (lentil kofta) is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in southeastern Turkey, where lentils are a staple food. It is also commonly eaten in other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, with variations in ingredients and preparation methods.

One of the interesting facts about mercimek köftesi is that it is a vegan and gluten-free dish, making it a popular option for those with dietary restrictions. It is also a good source of protein and fiber.

Mercimek köftesi is often served during religious holidays and special occasions, such as Ramadan and weddings. It is also a popular street food in Turkey, sold in small shops and stalls. In recent years, it has gained popularity in other parts of the world as a healthy and flavorful vegetarian option.

Overall, mercimek köftesi is a delicious and nutritious dish that reflects the rich culinary traditions of Turkey and the Mediterranean region.


  • 1 cup red lentils, washed and drained
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Place the washed and drained red lentils in a pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the lentils are soft and mushy, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the bulgur, chopped onion, green peppers, tomato paste, red pepper paste, olive oil, salt, cumin, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the bulgur mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Let the mixture cool for about 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, add the finely chopped parsley and green onions and mix again.
  5. Using your hands, shape the mixture into small oval or round balls. Arrange them on a serving platter and garnish with lemon slices.
  6. Serve cold as an appetizer or as a main dish with lettuce leaves and lemon wedges.

Enjoy your Mercimek köftesi!

Some tips for making Mercimek köftesi:
  1. Soak the lentils: Soak the lentils in water for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. This will make them easier to cook and blend.
  2. Cook the lentils: Boil the lentils until they are soft and tender. This usually takes around 20-25 minutes. Drain the water and let them cool down.
  3. Use fresh ingredients: Use fresh parsley, mint, and onions for the best flavor. Chop them finely and add them to the mixture.
  4. Add spices: Add spices like cumin, red pepper flakes, and paprika for a burst of flavor.
  5. Mix thoroughly: Use your hands to mix the lentil mixture and spices until everything is well combined.
  6. Let it rest: After shaping the mixture into balls or patties, let them rest in the fridge for at least an hour. This will help them hold their shape while cooking.

One response to “Mercimek köftesi (lentil kofta)”

  1. binance Avatar

    Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

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Sudhanraj Ravikumar
Sudhanraj Ravikumar

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