Lentil kibbeh

This is a speedy and delicious type of kibbeh (in Kurdish balloo3) that I tasted at the home of a Kurdish friend whose family resided in  Turkey. The lentils cook in water in minutes and are combined with fine bulgur; spices here are dried coriander and fried onions and a touch of red pepper powder if desired. It is enjoyed with a cold glass of ayran or yogurt drink.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 1/2 cup of white fine bulgur (#1)
  • 2 large onions
  • Spices: 1 tbsp of dried coriander, salt to taste, red pepper powder to taste (optional)
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  1. Wash the lentils under running tap water and drain; place in a pot and cover with water (about 1 inch over the lentils); bring to a simmer and cook the lentils until they are cooked yet still firm, about 15 minutes; don’t let the lentils disintegrate in the water since this would affect the looks of your lentil kibbeh (not the taste however). 
  2. In the meantime, run the bulgur under running tap water and drain and place in a bowl; when the lentils are cooked, throw the drained bulgur in the pot with the lentils and cover; after about 10 minutes, check and fluff  the mixture; the bulgur should be soft, if not, add a cup of water and cook very gently until the bulgur is cooked. Add the coriander, salt and pepper to the mixture and toss. 
  3. Fry the onion in a generous amount of olive oil (1/3 cup) until golden; add to the lentil and bulgur mixture as well as the chopped parsley and toss to mix. Knead the mixture a couple of minutes either with your palms or in a food processor or mixer until it holds together like a dough; shape the mixture into elongated balls and serve as is at room temperature with radishes, tomato slices and whatever raw veggies you fancy. 
NOTE: If the lentil balls are on the dry side, it is fine to brush them with a little olive oil.
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  1. Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Love this lentil kibbeh! Congrats on your nomination…you have my vote!

  2. Mira
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to use lentils!! I’m sure my 1 year old twins will love it!!

  3. Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Delicious and really healthy! A perfect meal.



  4. Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    AMAZING! I was wondering what to make today: falafel or chickpea pakoras and I was searching for recipes. But I think I will try your kibbeh instead. Thank your for your beautiful words you wrote on FB & on my blog, I was very touched. You are a true inspiration to many. All my love, Yolanda

  5. Posted April 11, 2012 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    So simple you make it! Love it – will definitely do.

  6. Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I love kibbeh or kibe as we say in Brazil. This is one of the most appreciated appetizers in my country, brought there by Lebanese immigrants. Ours is a little different from this one though. I have to try the lentil one too. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes that you have posted so far here. Lebanese Cuisine rocks and your blog too! Kudos!!!

  7. Posted April 11, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I love lentils so I bet I’d really enjoy these!

    One question: are these ever deep fried? Seems like they would be nice that way, too…

  8. Joumana
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    @Frank: thought I’d answer your question by referring you to this post in which I did fry them!

    @Amy: So glad it helped!

  9. Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, great way to use lentil…much healthier than the meat version. Thanks for sharing this recipe and hope you are having a fabulous week :)

  10. Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Yummy, healthy and fresh! I can see these becoming a staple dinner in our house!

  11. Amy
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    This recipe was a lifesaver. The clock had struck 8, I was hungry, didn’t know what to make, and about to give up and go out and grab something. Instead I whipped this up. I’m sure I didn’t do many things right– should probably chop the onions smaller next time, or put it through the food processor, but it worked for dinner. Thank you!

  12. Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Beautiful, Joumana! I adore kibbeh, but have never made it with lentils before. You’ve inspired me!

  13. Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Dear Joumana, you can see or meet Lentil kibbeh all south and south- east part of Türkiye. We call them “mercimek köfte.
    I love them. Some of us in Türkiye add them crushed garlic and dip roman- pomegranate syrup( sour one)
    Thank you.

  14. Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Délicieuse recette comme toutes vos recettes!! Merci pour le partage et Bonne soirée.

  15. Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    WOW…you and your kibbeh. You must have a different recipe for every day of the year, and they are all marvelous!

  16. Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never cooked bulgur…these are so healthy and beautiful!

  17. Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    It amazes me your creativity for making different types of Kibbehs to satisfy both vegetarians and carnivores. I am big fun red lentils nice way to put it use!

  18. Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I love lentils in soup but have never tried them any other way! Time to change that. Your kibbeh looks wonderful!

  19. Posted April 19, 2012 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Another recipe I am intrigued by: simple, tasty and quick and very original, here at least!

  20. lisa
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    do we need to fry them at the end?

  21. Joumana
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    @Lisa: no these do not get fried.

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