Red Lentil Kofta

Typical kofta refers to meatballs or meatloaf. It’s a type of food common in Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans. Aside from researching many different cultural dishes, I’ve been discovering the many vegetarian options throughout Indian cuisine, and they have taken kofta to a whole new level. They’ve based the recipe around potatoes or even bananas! In order to reduce my meat intake (for the animals, the environment, and my health) I decided to experiment with my own version of kofta (Canadian kofta???)

Before we get into the recipe, I chose to use red lentils as the base for two reasons; I’ve never had red lentils before, and they’re super high in protein. Did you know they contain more protein than black beans? Just one cup of lentils has 17.8 grams of protein!

My version of kofta is not deep-fried and allows for the lentils to be kept intact, which makes for a super crispy texture, but feel free to blend these up more if you’d prefer a smoother consistency. Anyways, I could call these “lentil fritters” but the name “kofta” sounds much fancier right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  •  1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • about 4 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  • Soak the lentils in a large bowl of cold water for about two hours, then drain
  • Process the lentils in a food processor if you have one, or mash with a potato masher (the mixture can be as lentil-ly as you’d like, I prefer mine with most of the lentils left whole)
  • Add all other ingrediants except for the oil, then mix to combine
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil on a frying pan at medium heat
  • Shape each fritter with your hands (about 1 tbsp-worth, then drop into pan)
  • Cook each fritter for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping with a spatula when one side is brown
  • The mixture will make about 24 fritters, so halfway through, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to your pan to continue frying
  • Enjoy warm or cold! (I served this with some tzatki sauce and used the leftovers as a salad topping the next day)

I hope you try experimenting with kofta in the future (that banana version is calling my name…)

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