Turkish Vegan Lentil Meatballs are fantastic party foods. These are super easy and inexpensive to prepare and loved by everyone. Nobody is able to stop once they try one.
We make these lentil meatballs quite often. We love when we have finger foods ready in the refrigerator. Whenever we feel hungry or just crave for something savory, we grab two or three and only then continue what we are doing.
Although these “meatballs” are made with bulgur and red lentils, I don’t know why but their name focuses only on lentils. In Turkey, these are called “mercimek koftesi” meaning lentil meatballs but I think these are one of the best bulgur recipes. These are almost uncooked and served cold as an appetizer.
Although these Turkish vegan lentil meatballs are traditionally served in finger shape, we love them in ball shape. Also we never serve them on their own in Turkey. Lettuce leaves and pickles are staple foods when you serve mercimek koftesi. You can enrich your table with herbs and salads depending on your taste.
Party foods always need some sauces, don’t they? We mostly serve Homemade Pomegranate Molasses with these Uh-mazing bulgur and lentil meatballs in our country and my husband Yusuf always prefers hot chili sauce with them.
We have a traditional way of eating these vegan lentil meatballs. Place one in a lettuce leaf, drizzle pomegranate molasses or squeeze lemon on it and throw into your mouth. Repeat as needed!
What’s great about these lentil meatballs is that they are healthy. Red lentils are rich in protein and fiber. Bulgur is a good source of healthy carbs. I mean the only unhealthy part is that these are so addictive that you can’t stop once you start eating.
Another tradition in Turkey is to serve tea with or after them. Bulgur easily makes you feel full and if you can not dominate your appetite and eat too much, you may feel bad, have some trouble with your stomach. In this case, a well-brewed Turkish black tea is your life saver. It definitely relaxes your stomach.
Serving beer is definitely not a traditional thing but we do love these vegan meatballs with cold beer.
Another great thing about these Turkish vegan lentil balls is that you can make them a day or two beforehand and serve on the party day. These taste even better when served after a day or two. These store really well in the refrigerator for several days.
If you are looking for a good snack for your next party, you have to try these. I promise these will rock no matter your guests are vegan or not.
Serves 8-10 meatballs
Vegan meatballs with bulgur, red lentils, herbs and spices. Perfect for your next party.
30 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 and ½ cup fine bulgur
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Wash the red lentils well and put them in a large pot. Pour water over them and bring them to a simmer uncovered on medium low heat. Let it simmer until lentils are tender.
- Once most of the water is gone, remove from heat and add in bulgur and cover. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes so that bulgur absorbs the rest of the water and gets tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, saute the chopped onion in the olive oil until golden. Add in tomato paste, cumin, black pepper and chili powder. Stir well.
- Transfer the sauted onion mixture into the bulgur and lentil mixture. Stir well and then transfer it into a larger bowl.
- Add in salt, parsley, green onions and lemon juice. Mix well with your hands. Taste and adjust the amount of salt to your taste.
- Line a serving platter with lettuce leaves or other herbs. Make your meatballs dipping your fingers into some extra olive oil so that it doesn’t get sticky and place them on the lettuce leaves. Repeat until all the mixture is finished.
- Serve them with extra lettuce leaves, herbs and pickles.