Lentil Balls (Mercimek Koftesi)

Another delicious recipe suitable for vegans/vegetarians. It is not only popular for afternoon tea in Turkey but it makes a great ‘meze’ (appetiser) too.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 medium onion
  • A half bunch of parsley
  • 2 branches of spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika paste (if you cant find this it is also ok to use red crashed peppers for taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • 6 spoons of olive oil
  • 2.5 cups of water


  1. After washing the lentils transfer them to a pot and add 2.5 cups of water. Let them boil on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Wash the bulgur and stir in lentils and set the pot aside closing the lid. They should sit there about half hour until the bulgur nicely softens.
  3. Chop your onion into small cubes and stir them in olive oil on low heat a few minutes. Add paprika and tomato paste, stir another 2 more minutes. Add cumin and salt to season.
  4. On your chopping board chop parsley and spring onions finely.
  5. Transfer all your ingredients to the pot where your mixture of lentil and bulgur cooled off and mix gently.
  6. At this point you might prefer adding some lemon juice or pomegranate sauce for a slight bitter taste
  7. Shape your lentils on your damped hands to balls (walnut size would be a good size) and line them on your serving place. You may lay a few leaves of lettuce on the bottom of the plate for presentation or like me you may set them aside with a few slices of lemons as traditionally they are eaten wrapped in lettuce with a dash of lemon.