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Beef & Lentil Kefta Meatballs


This recipe for Beef & Lentil Kefta Meatballs serves up meatballs with a Middle Eastern twist. Make ahead, bake and freeze meatballs for up to 3 months if you like. Instead of cooking in the oven, meatballs can also be cooked in a grill basket on the barbecue by indirect heat (i.e. burner turned off under the grill basket, lid closed).



Beef & Lentil Meatballs

  • ½ cup small brown lentils, cooked and cooled*
  • 500 g lean or medium ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Finely grated rind of half a small lemon
  • Pepper, to taste


  • 8 naan or pita, warmed
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded or julienne cut carrot
  • Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooled lentils, ground beef, minced garlic, grated onion, cumin, cinnamon, salt, paprika, grated lemon rind and pepper. Mix very well with your hands.
  2. Roll the mixture into approx. twenty-six 1 ½” balls, placing on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, in a 400°F oven until cooked through, when several meatballs register 160°F (71°C) when tested with a digital thermometer.
  4. To serve, tuck 3 to 4 meatballs into each warmed naan or pita; top with shredded lettuce, carrot and Cucumber Yogurt Sauce.

*To cook lentils: Simmer in 1 cup water for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce: In medium serving bowl, combine 1 cup plain yogurt, ½ a long English cucumber, unpeeled, deseeded and grated (about ½ a cup), 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed, 1 tbsp EACH chopped fresh dill and mint, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.