Sephardic Lentil Patties (Keftes de Lentejas )

  • Cooking and Prep: 9.5 h
  • Serves: 6
  • No Allergens

Learn how to prepare these lentil patties packed with spice and flavor. The lentils are cooked together with sauteed onions and garlic flavored with turmeric or chili powder, cumin, groudn coriander or paprika, and cayenne. Bulk up the patties either with mashed potatoes or bread crumbs.

Ingredients (15)

Main ingredients

Start Cooking

Prepare the Patties

  1. If using potatoes, bake, peel, and mash; set aside.

  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent (five to 10 minutes). Add the garlic, turmeric or chili powder, cumin, coriander or paprika, and cayenne and stir until fragrant (about one minute).

  3. Add the water, lentils, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 45 minutes).

  4. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir until the lentils are dry (about three minutes). Discard the bay leaf, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

  5. Stir the mashed potato (or bread crumbs) and parsley into the lentil mixture. Form the lentil mixture into six half- inch-thick patties.

  6. Heat one quarter-inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  7. Fry the patties, turning, until golden brown on both sides (about three minutes per side).

  8. If desired, serve with sour cream, yogurt, or chutney or sprinkle with lemon juice.


The patties may be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to six hours before frying.


Breaded Lentil Patties: Press 1 cup bread crumbs lightly onto patties before frying. Or dredge patties in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.


Sephardic Lentil Patties: Add 3 coarsely chopped huevos haminados (Sephardic hard-cooked eggs) with the potatoes.


Lentil-Bulgur Patties: Omit the potatoes/bread crumbs. Add 1 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) bulgur soaked in 2 cups water until softened and drained and 1 lightly beaten egg.


Lentil-Cheese Patties: Omit the potatoes/bread crumbs. Add 2/3 cup (2 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 lightly beaten large egg.


Lentil-Mushroom Patties: Add 3 cups chopped fresh mushrooms sautéed in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until the moisture evaporates (about 15 minutes).

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