Embark on a culinary adventure with Vegan Lentil and Bulgur Kofte, a delightful dish that marries the nutty flavors of bulgur with the earthy goodness of lentils, creating a wholesome and protein-packed alternative to traditional kofte. What sets this rendition apart is its non-fried preparation, providing a lighter and healthier twist to a classic Middle Eastern favorite. These koftes are a testament to the creative possibilities of plant-based cooking, where lentils and bulgur blend seamlessly to form a delectable dish that celebrates both flavor and nutrition.

At the heart of these vegan koftes is the dynamic duo of lentils and bulgur, a combination that not only provides a rich source of protein but also offers a delightful texture. The lentils bring a creamy and earthy depth, while the bulgur adds a nutty chewiness, creating a kofte that is both hearty and satisfying. This fusion of textures transforms each bite into a delightful experience, proving that plant-based dishes can be just as indulgent as their meat-based counterparts.

The decision to forgo the traditional frying method brings a health-conscious element to this vegan kofte. Instead, these koftes are often shaped and then either baked or simply allowed to set, maintaining their shape and texture without the need for excess oil. This non-fried approach not only reduces the overall calorie content but also allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through, offering a lighter and more wholesome alternative.

The seasoning of the lentil and bulgur koftes is a delicate dance of spices, typically featuring a blend of cumin, coriander, paprika, and fresh herbs such as parsley or mint. This aromatic combination infuses the koftes with a rich and complex flavor profile, transporting your taste buds to the vibrant markets and kitchens of the Middle East. Each bite becomes a celebration of the region’s culinary heritage, with a plant-based twist.

The assembly of these vegan koftes is a culinary craft that invites creativity. Shaped into small, bite-sized portions, these koftes can be served on a platter with a refreshing side of hummus, tahini, or a tangy yogurt-based dip. Their versatility allows them to be enjoyed as a flavorful appetizer, a protein-packed addition to salads, or tucked into warm pita bread for a satisfying sandwich, offering endless possibilities for culinary exploration.

Beyond their gastronomic appeal, these non-fried lentil and bulgur koftes embody a commitment to mindful and conscious eating. As plant-based lifestyles gain traction, this dish stands as a shining example of how traditional favorites can be reimagined with a focus on health, sustainability, and compassion. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or someone looking to incorporate more plant-based options into your diet, these koftes beckon you to savor the richness of plant-based flavors, one delicious bite at a time.

Gut Health:
Plant-based diets are often associated with improved gut health due to the high fiber content from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to better digestion and overall well-being.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
Many plant-based foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health issues, and a vegan diet may contribute to its prevention.

Sports Performance:
Contrary to the misconception that vegan diets lack protein, many successful athletes follow plant-based diets to enhance their performance. Plant-based proteins can support muscle building and recovery.

Reduced Risk of Foodborne Illnesses:
Plant-based diets eliminate the risk of foodborne illnesses associated with the consumption of undercooked or contaminated animal products.

Economic Impact:
A vegan diet can be more economical as plant-based protein sources tend to be cost-effective compared to some animal products. It may be a budget-friendly option for individuals or families.

Mindful Eating:
Adopting a vegan lifestyle often promotes mindful eating. Being more conscious of food choices and sources can lead to a healthier relationship with food and a greater appreciation for the environmental impact of dietary decisions.

Preservation of Biodiversity:
The expansion of animal agriculture often leads to habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity. Choosing a vegan diet supports the preservation of ecosystems and the protection of various species.

Culinary Diversity:
Veganism introduces individuals to a diverse range of cuisines and ingredients from around the world. Exploring plant-based cooking can be a culinary adventure, embracing flavors and techniques from different cultures.

Reduced Antibiotic Resistance:
The use of antibiotics in animal farming contributes to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Opting for a vegan diet can be a way to reduce the demand for such practices and promote responsible antibiotic use.

Cruelty-Free Beauty and Personal Care:
Veganism extends to beauty and personal care products. Choosing cruelty-free, vegan alternatives ensures that your lifestyle aligns with ethical choices beyond just dietary preferences.

Mercimek Koftesi | Red Lentil and Bulgur Koftesi

Mercimek Koftesi, Vegan Turkish kofte that is made with red lentils and bulgur and the best part is, these are not deep fried. Stuff it inside some crisp lettuce to enjoy as an appetizer or lunch.


  • ▢1 cup Red Lentil / Masoor Dal
  • ▢¾ cup Bulgur fine
  • ▢1 Onion finely chopped
  • ▢1 cup Parsley finely chopped
  • ▢4 Spring onions whites and greens chopped
  • ▢2 tablespoon Tomato paste substitute ketchup
  • ▢1 tablespoon Cumin powder
  • ▢2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper adjust based on liking
  • ▢Salt to taste
  • ▢4 tablespoon Olive oil
  • ▢8 Lettuce leaves to serve


  • Wash the lentils well and place them in a large pot along with 3 cups of water. I started with about 2 ½ cups of water and when the lentils were cooked and appeared a little on the drier side, I added about ½ more cup of hot water.
  • Cook the lentils in medium heat until they are soft and cooked. At this stage the lentils should still have a little water left in them that would allow the bulgur to cook.
  • Add the fine bulgur to the pot and mix well. Turn off the flame and cover the pot and let it sit for about 30 minutes until the bulgur cooks up in the leftover heat and absorbs the extra water. I did not have fine bulgur and had quick cooking bulgur in my pantry. So, I just ground it a bit in the blender and then used it in the recipe.
  • After 30 minutes, you will notice that the bulgur has soaked up all the liquids and also has cooked. Let this mixture cool down a bit.
  • Meanwhile in a pan, heat the oil and sauté the finely chopped onions until translucent.
  • Add the crushed red pepper, tomato paste (I used ketchup) and cumin powder and cook further for 2 more minutes.
  • Turn off the flame and add this to the cooked lentil mixture.
  • Add the finely chopped parsley, spring onions and salt to the lentil mixture and mix well. I found that using my hands to mix was easier than using the ladle.
  • Take a handful of the mixture and shape it into kofte shape and place them in serving platter.


Expert tips

  • Make sure to use finest of the bulgur that is available. If using coarse bulgur, it has to be cooked before we add it to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Quick cooking bulgur can be used instead of fine bulgur and it works just as well.
  • Godhumai rava or broken wheat cannot be used as is in the recipe. Bulgur is a parboiled grain and broken wheat is not. We need to cook the broken wheat before substituting in the recipe.
  • If making it grain free, we can use quinoa as a substitute for bulgur. Make sure to cook the quinoa before using it to make the Mercimek Koftesi.


Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1075IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg