Lentil Balls

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Lentil Balls is a very popular Meze variety. The main ingredients of this popular meze type are red lentils and bulgur. In Turkish cuisine, we call this meze variety as Mercimek Köftesi. It is a perfect Meze variety to place on the table along with other meze plates when you have guests.

It is a cold type of meze for starters and it is the most beloved meze variety of social gatherings in Turkey. As it is a social gathering food; Lentil Balls are mainly prepared at home and you cannot widely find them on restaurant menus. This meze is inexpensive to make and for this reason, it may be considered as the best party food among all youngsters.

If you want to give some extra taste to your Lentil Balls, you can serve them with romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce. I always prefer to eat it with romaine lettuce because you can simply wrap it more easily than iceberg lettuce.

Lentil Balls with Romaine Lettuce

The best part about this food is that it’s very healthy food for you. Lentil Balls meze is a very low-fat food. You can get high protein and fiber from the lentils and you get healthy carbs from the bulgur. You can keep this meal ready in your refrigerator for busy days. If you are in a rush, just eat a couple of lentil balls and you will see that it will make you feel full during the day.

Lentil Balls

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 190 kcal


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of spring onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sweet red pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. First, wash the red lentils in a wire mesh strainer and rinse them well. Put them in a saucepan and add the 3 cups of water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

  2. Once the water boils, it will take 10 minutes for the lentils absorb most of the water and get meshed and fall apart. After the lentils are fully cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat. Make sure that there should be about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) of water remains on top of the lentils. While the saucepan is still hot, add the fine bulgur and let the sauce pan cool aside.

  3. While the lentil and bulgur mixture is cool aside, heat the olive oil in another pan and add the finely chopped onions. Cook the onions about 3 minutes and then add tomato paste, red pepper paste, red pepper flakes, cumin, black pepper to the pan and cook the mix additional 2 minutes.

  4. Once the lentil and bulgur mixture is cooled, add the second pan’s contents on top of them with finely chopped spring onions and parsley. Knead the mixture until all combined very well.

  5. Take a walnut size of pieces from the mix and give cylinder shape and line up to the serving platter. Repeat until all the mixture is finished.

Recipe Notes

Tip: Serve with Romaine Lettuce leaves and lemon slices.

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