Hye Thyme Cafe: Lentil Kufte

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lentil Kufte

Lentil Kufte : Hye Thyme Cafe

Thanks to Alison at Cooking with Friends, I recently scored some lentils from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council to play with. Being Armenian, and never having made them myself, the first thing that came to mind was Lentil Kufte. Usually, if I'm going to do something with lentils, it's soup or a salad, but I'm really glad I finally made the kufte. Even my pickiest critic ate three of them!

This is not a traditional version in that most use green bell peppers, red lentils, and maybe some cumin. I replaced the green bell pepper, which none of us are particularly fond of uncooked. I also added chili powder, garlic with hot pepper, smokey paprika, and tomato paste.

Aside from the butter, which you could certainly substitute something else for, it's definitely a healthy dish. I'm also thinking that it would be a great base for vegetarians/vegans to play with in a taquito, on nachos, or even as a meatloaf if you increase the ratio of bulgar and tomato paste.

In addition to being flavorful, and healthy, this dish is also very easy to make - another bonus.

1 c fine bulgur wheat
1 c lentils
3 c water
1 vidallia onion, diced fine
1 t jarred minced garlic with red pepper
4 T butter, divided
1 sm yellow bell pepper, diced fine
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t smokey paprika
salt & pepper
2-3 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
3 T tomato paste


Put the bulgur in a bowl and set aside.   

Boil the lentils in the 3c water for 20-30" until tender.

Saute the garlic and onion in 2T of the butter until the onions are soft and starting to get some color on them. When it gets to the point where the pan is almost dry and the onions are starting to stick, add the remaining 2T of butter, along with the yellow peppers, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and a little salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.


Pour the lentils, along with any remaining water, over the bulgar, then add the onion mixture. Stir everything together and let sit for 20" or so to give the bulgur an opportunity to absorb the water and butter.

Add half the scallions and parsley, and the 3T of tomato paste, and knead well. You want to work it for a few minutes to break down a lot of the lentils and really incorporate everything.

 Grab a handful and roll it between your palms to form an oval. It will be very sticky, so you might want to start with clean, wet hands. Garnish with the remaining scallions and parsley.

Lentil Kufte : Hye Thyme Cafe

Lentil Kufte : Hye Thyme Cafe

Lentil Kufte : Hye Thyme Cafe
A big thanks to Alison and the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council.


  1. These look absolutely delicious! Glad you liked your dry peas and lentils.

  2. They were delicious. I never ate them before, much less made them. We liked them even better cold out of the fridge the next day. :)

  3. lentil kufte is one of my favorites but never have made them...buy them instead at Eastern Lamejun in Watertown! just might surprise my family [and myself] and try your recipe minus the hot stuff... :D

    1. I don't think I've ever seen them in the store. I hope you don't get your Lahmejune there though?!? I'll buy other stuff at Eastern, but I've gotta get my Lahmejun at Massis. Their crust is MUCH better. ;)

  4. That looks so yummie. I'm following you just to be able to try some of your recipe. I'm pescetarian and am always open to new non-meat dishes like that!

    1. Sorry, I'm anti-pesce, so you won't find any seafood recipes here, but there will be the occasional vegetarian/vegan posts. I can handle a bite of shrimp or lobster every now and again, maybe even a random crawfish, but I can't force down fish no matter what kind or how it's prepared. I can sometimes manage tuna salad, but even then I only like 3 Diamond, and I can never find it anymore. :(


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