beetroot and lentil spicy kofta

beetroot and lentil spicy kofta
Since I decided that I liked beetroot, I have become pretty evangelical about the stuff. These days I am making up for wasted beetroot opportunities, or the “lost Beta Vulgaris years” as I now regard them.

These vegetarian kofte, a mixture of beetroot, lentils and spices, are of course entirely free of meat and yet, they taste quite meaty, or just packed full of flavour.

I had a few leftover and we had them this morning in a sandwich with roasted tomatoes and a poached egg. Some others were crumbled and used as a base for Judy Rodger’s unusual fried eggs. Very, very good indeed!

Skill level: Easy

1 x onion, finely chopped
3 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
100g red lentils
about 120ml water (plus extra if necessary)
1 x raw beetroot, peeled and grated
40g couscous (uncooked)
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetarian suet
olive oil for grilling
1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley and coriander, finely chopped


  1. Soak the lentils for 10 minutes in cold water. Drain and rinse. Set aside to drain further.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Gently fry the onions with pinch of salt until softened - about 10 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and continue to fry until the onions have coloured a little.
  4. Add the spices. Stir well.
  5. Add the lentils and enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil. Then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the lentils are soft. Set aside to cool. (Drain off some of the liquid if lentils look very wet.)
  6. Tip the lentil mixture into a blender with the grated beetroot. Whizz into a thick paste.
  7. In a clean bowl combine the mixture with uncooked couscous. Set aside for 1 hour to allow couscous to absorb any extra liquid. The mixture should be damp and not too dry. Season well. You may need to add more salt. 
  8. Add either 1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetarian suet and mix well.
  9. Stir through a handful of chopped herbs such as parsley or coriander.
  10. Form into fat sausage shapes with your hands. The easiest way to do this is if your hands are very wet.
  11. Thread the kofta onto skewers. (If using bamboo skewers, these should be soaked in cold water or about 1 hour beforehand to prevent burning.)
  12. Brush with oil. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side (beginning to brown)
  13. Delicious with hummus, chutney or a yoghurt dip such as cacik.


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

These are genius.Would the recipe work with Puy lentils? for some reason red lentils are difficult to find here in the Algarve.I guess the red lentils are essential to keeping the WOW factor.The colour is stunning i bet they are delicious.Cant believe you are a beetroot convert.

Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry said...

I am also a more recent convert to beetroot but what got me excited here is your use of couscous in these Kofta. I would have never thought to try that.

anna @ annamayeveryday said...

These look amazing, what a great idea.

Leanne said...

Would they turn out ok if I didn't use skewers?

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Yes, they would. You could form them into flat patties too. And instead of grilling, fry them!