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Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: About 40 lentil balls, 8 to 10 appetizer servings 1x


Turkish red pepper paste adds deep, rich flavor to these hearty vegan bites!



  • 2 cups red lentils
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Biber Salcasi, Turkish red pepper paste (not harissa), or a mix of puréed roasted hot and sweet red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Romaine or other small cupped lettuce leaves


  1. Head over to NY Times Cooking for instructions for making these Turkish treats!


Recipe by Jacob Slaton for The New York Times

Big Flavors Rating: 5 Stars

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