Lentil kibbeh

April 10, 2012  •  Category:


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.


22 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Sara says:

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

  2. Mira says:

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

  3. Rosa says:

    Delicious and really healthy! A perfect meal.



  4. Yolanda says:

    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. Belinda @zomppa says:

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

  6. Denise Browning says:

    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. Frank says:

    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. Juliana says:

    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 🙂

  9. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

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

  10. Amy says:

    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!

  11. Yasmeen @ Wandering says:

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

  12. sare says:

    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.

  13. Culinaire Amoula says:

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

  14. Oui, Chef says:

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

  15. Bo W says:

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

  16. weirdcombos says:

    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!

  17. Susan says:

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

  18. Nuts about food says:

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

  19. lisa says:

    do we need to fry them at the end?

  20. senada says:


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