World Series- Vegetarian Lebanese Koftas

Here we are, in a new year but back again going around the world through food! This time we’re going to Lebanon to try making their traditional Koftas. This spiced meatball-type food has been made for centuries in Middle Eastern and Arab culture, usually made from ground lamb, mutton or beef they’re a simple but tasty addition to some rice or a pitta. Throughout the various cultures that Koftas are made, you can find them round like a meatball, circular, nugget-shaped, or long cylinders, in Lebanese cooking they seem to mostly take on the shape of thin, long cylinders- kind of like long chipolata sausages. 

Koftas are usually added to the side of the main meal or can be eaten (as we are today) inside a pitta or other types of bread as a lunch dish! I found out online that Kofta translates from Persian to mean “pounded meat” which would make sense as the meat is ground and mixed together with spices, veg and herbs to create a very fragrant dish! 
I’ve made a little video to go with this one as I think it’s a pretty quick and not too difficult dish to pull together. You can see the full recipe and method down below! 

Serves 2 

1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped 
3 sprigs of Fresh Parsley 
200g Vegan Mince
1 sprig of Fresh Mint
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger 
1/4 tsp Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp Cloves 
1/4 tsp Nutmeg 
Salt & Pepper 
Salad Bag 
4 Pitta Breads, sliced open 
  1. In a small bowl combine the parsley and onion together. 
  2. Add in the mince, spices, mint and salt and pepper. Squash the mince a bit so it presses into the herbs and spices then mix it all together until you have a clumpy mix with all ingredients well incorporated. 
  3. Shape into 4 log/sausage shapes and heat up your grill. If making on a BBQ pre-soak 4 skewers in cold water for 30 mins before starting then shape into meatballs, pierce onto a skewer and gently push the meat into a log shape along the skewer. Place on a grill and sizzle on each side for around 3 mins a side, it’s best to gently turn them so you get an even cook on all sides. 
  4. Once cooked add salad into your pitta, then add the kofta, some cucumber and your favourite sauce! Traditionally you might use a spicy tomato sauce/salsa or a tangy yoghurt dressing on top…but I didn't have either so I used sour cream. 

Look at my little Koftas! I think in comparison to a traditional Lebanese Kofta, these are by no means little, they’re very thick and stumpy but the shape is something we can work on in time. I was very impressed with the taste and although I would keep the measurements the same for the herbs and spices, I think I would use at least another 100g of mince just to have more of a meaty flavour in there too. But regardless of that, I loved the combination of the parsley and mint, it gave such a light savoury flavour and the spices weren’t enough to overwhelm but just give a slight warmth to the flavour. With this portion size, 1 kofta in each pitta bread is more than enough for two people I think, especially in the size I made them they were very filling and I didn't really need anything else to go alongside. 
I think there is work to do here before these Koftas can stand up against their traditional originators but I’m really happy with how they look and taste and I would definitely make them again if we had a little homemade kebab night, I think they’d be perfect alongside some chips in a wrap or again in these pitta breads! I think the whole process took around 45 mins so you could easily make these on a weeknight or as a lazy weekend lunch, you could even make a few, keep them in the fridge (for no longer than a day) and cook them up later on for an even quicker meal! 

H x