Red Lentil Kofte is a vegan Middle Eastern dish made of red lentils, bulgur, and sauteed onion. It’s not only easy to make, but so fresh and delicious especially when topped with colorful chopped salad.
As a self-proclaimed meatetarian, I cannot see myself enjoying a diet completely void of animal products. On occasion, however, there are certain dishes that just transcend me to an animal-free place of mind where I find myself completely content eating a meatless meal.
This completely vegan and absolutely delicious Armenian entree is not only easy to make, but approachable for those unfamiliar with Middle Eastern cuisine. This recipe includes red lentils. These are a bit different than green or brown lentils, which you may be more familiar with. These actually become completely mushy when you cook them, but that is the point for this dish! You don’t want them to retain their shape. The whole mixture is going to combine with olive oil, onions, fine bulgur wheat and seasonings to form little Heavenly mouthfuls of pure pleasure. Trust me. I’m not overselling it!
And to top it all off, you serve red lentil kofte with a fresh veggie salad. You can serve it on the side, although I prefer to mash my koftes on my plate with a fork, and top with the salad instead. This way the flavor of the salad, and the acid from the dressing soaks into the kofte mixture. It tastes out of this world!
How to make Red Lentil Kofte
Start out by making the salad. Dice up some green Italian pepper, cucumber, and plum tomatoes. Combine these fresh veggies with scallions, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and seasonings. Sumac is an optional spice, but I highly recommend it. It has a tart, lemony flavor, and a bright purple color.
Next you’ll prepare the mixture from which you’ll form your koftes. In a large pot combine the red lentils with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender. This mixture will be very liquidy. Meanwhile, heat up some olive oil in a pot over medium heat, and add chopped onions. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent, and then add in the lentil/water mixture followed by the bulgur.
Mix, cover, and let the mixture stand for about 20 minutes or until the bulgur has absorbed the excess liquid, and is nice and tender. Give it a good stir, and then add some chopped scallions and parsley. You’re ready to shape your koftes! You can do this by hand or with a large ice cream scoop with a trigger. Garnish the koftes with more of the chopped scallions and parsley, and serve with the salad.
Other recipes you may like
- Yalanchi (Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- Chi Kofte (Armenian Steak Tartare)
- Ishli Kofte (Stuffed Kofte)
- Sini Kofte (Baked Kofte)
- Homemade Manti (Turkish/Armenian Dumplings)
- Armenian Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Armenian Meatball Soup
- Chorek (Armenian Sweet Bread)
- Armenian Gata
What are some of your favorite meatless dishes? Please share in the comments below! If you enjoy this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and share it on social media. Thank you.
Red Lentil Kofte (Vospov Kofte)
- 1 green Italian pepper diced
- 1 cucumber peeled and diced
- 4 plum tomatoes diced
- 4 green onions minced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sumac optional
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup red lentils picked over for stones and rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion finely minced
- 1 cup grade #1 fine bulgur cracked wheat
- 3 green onions minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Kosher salt and hot pepper to taste
- For the salad, mix together all the ingredients and set aside until service.
- In a large pot combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are very tender. The mixture will still have a lot of liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in another pot over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent and remove from heat. When the lentils are cooked, add them to the olive oil and onion mixture, and then add the bulgur.
- Mix, cover, and set aside for about 20 minutes or more until the bulgur wheat has absorbed the excess liquid and is nice and tender. If the mixture still has a crunch, cover it and let it continue to absorb until it is completely soft.
- When the mixture is finally the right texture, use a wooden spoon or your hands (dip them in warm water first) to knead the mixture. Mix in half the green onions, reserving the rest for garnish. Add salt and hot red pepper to taste and blend well.
- To shape the kofte, set up a bowl with warm water beside the pot, dip your hands in the water and grab a small handful of lentil mixture. Form it into a ball and then lightly begin to make a fist with your hand to make it a bit more oblong (but not completely flat) and leave finger imprints on one side. Place on a serving dish, dip your hands in warm water and repeat the process until all of the lentil mixture has been used to form koftes. Alternatively, use an ice cream scoop with a trigger to portion and shape the koftes, arranging the scoops in a single layer on a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining green onions and the parsley and serve with the salad as an accompaniment.