Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Red Lentil Pate... (Mercimek Koftesi)

Although I am not a vegetarian, I can easily go on with a vegetarian diet (except when I go to kebap restaurants in Turkey :)). One of the main vegetarian ingredients that I love are lentils, I love any kind of them red, green, split, etc... If I have to tell my favorite lentil recipe, I think that would be Turkish Style Red Lentil Soup, which is my all time favorite soup... The recipe I am posting today is not the soup (easiest, healthiest, and one of the tastiest soup, I should post that too), but my second favorite and that is Turkish style Red Lentil Pate... My husband, who is a Canadian, tasted this dish first time couple of months ago, and he loves it since then... He even prepared it for our guests once, and it was a success... Everyone asked for the recipe...

This recipe is from the blog called "Binnur's Turkish Cookbook" (http://www.turkishcookbook.com). I tried her recipe and did couple of changes to my taste after the first trial...

So, here you go... The recipe works everytime, so do not hesitate to try if you like red lentils, vegeterian starters or looking for a new healthy dish for your diet... We serve this dish as an appetizer or meze in our home...

(makes approximately 20 pieces)

1 cup fine bulgur wheat - washed and drained (I buy mine from Whole Foods' organic section, could not find it anywhere else yet, other than Turkish grocery store)
1 cup red lentils - washed and drained
1 large onion or 2 small onions - cut into small cubes
1/2 cup canola oil (or sunflower oil)
2,5 tbsp tomato paste
1 lemon's juice
1,5 tbsp cumin
1,5 tsp salt (more or less to your taste)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like spicy you can increase the amount, or eliminate if you dont like)
1/2 cup parsley - chopped
1/4 cup green onion - chopped
lettuce leaves


1- Put lentils and 2,5 cups of water into a pot, and cook over low heat until there is a little amount of water left.
2- Then, add bulgur wheat to the pot, and cook until all water evaporates. Cover the pot with a lid and put aside.
3- In a pan, saute the onions with canola oil until they just change color (no need to brown the onions, i like that they still have a bite in the finished dish).
4- Decrease the heat to low, and first add the tomato paste, then lemon juice, then the spices and salt...
5- Mix it well, and add the lentil and bulgur mixture. Continue cooking over low heat... Make sure the bulgur-lentil paste is mixed well with the rest. (If the paste seems too dry or the liquid in the pan does not seem enough to cover all of the paste, you can add 1/2 cup hot water, and cook until you have a homogenous mixture).
6- Cook until the mixture gets doughy and starts to leave edges of the pan.
7- Take off from the heat, cover with a lid and put aside for 1 hour or so, until it gets cold.
8- When cold, add chopped parsley and green onions and mix well.
9- Using your hands, take walnut size pieces from the mixture and shape as photographed above... Serve on lettuce leaves... (I use romaine leaves) Keep refrigerated.
10- You eat these balls rolled in a lettuce leave, which gives it a crunchy texture and a refreshing taste, at room temperature... You can squeeze lemon on top if you like more acidity. Afiyet olsun! (Turkish for Bon appetit!)


  1. simdi basladik tarifinizi yapmaya:) kirmizi mercimek suda.. insallah guzel olur. thanks for the great recipe!

  2. simdi gordum bu yorumu :) afiyet olsun!