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This recipe was inspired by the incredibly moist lentil patties called küfte that Ana Sortun first tried in Istanbul at Ferda Erdinc's vegetarian restaurant, Zencefil. The küfte here are fried, but they can also be served grilled, baked, or "raw." Terrific Green Salads

August 2002


Credit: © Maura McEvoy

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Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the white onion and carrot and cook over moderate heat, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then add the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the lentils are tender and have absorbed about three-fourths of the liquid, about 8 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and remove from the heat. Let stand until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is softened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; spread in an even layer to cool.

  • Put 1/2 cup of flour in a plate. Divide the lentil mixture into 16 portions; form into 3/4-inch-thick patties. Dredge the patties in the flour, shake off any excess and set on a floured baking sheet. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the patties over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Add more oil to the skillet as necessary.

  • In a large bowl, toss the red onion with the cucumber, bell pepper and tomatoes. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing over the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley.

  • In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing and arrange on a large platter. Set the lentil cakes on the lettuce. Spoon the salad on top and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The cooked lentil patties can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat in a 350° oven before serving.