Flavours of WUR: Turkish Lentil Balls  

Yurdanur Yilmaz, PhD student Food Sciences from Turkey, shares a recipe for Turkish lentil balls.
Yurdanur Yilmaz, PhD-student Food Sciences uit Turkije

The WUR community is home to all the flavours of the world. Yurdanur Yilmaz (32), a PhD student of Food Sciences from Turkey, shares a recipe for Turkish lentil balls.

‘Lentil balls are basically meatballs without the meat. In this recipe, the minced meat is replaced with red lentils, making it a good alternative for both vegetarians and vegans. It reminds me of home, where my mum often makes lentil balls when she invites relatives or friends over to have a good time together.’

Ingredients for 5 portions

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ cup fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 small spring onion
  • 50g parsley
  • 50g dill
  • 1 lettuce
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cook the lentils till they soften.
  2. Mix the bulgur into the moist cooked lentils. Leave the mixture with the lid on at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan, add the finely chopped onion and fry it.
  4. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper and fry for about 3 minutes. Then add the onion and tomato mixture to the lentils and bulgur. Knead well.
  5. Finely chop the spring onion, parsley and dill and mix into the lentil mixture.
  6. Lay the lettuce leaves on a flat plate.
  7. Take a handful of the lentil mixture to form a medium-sized ball. Aim to make about 25 lentil balls.
  8. Cut the lemons into two and squeeze onto the lentil balls.
  9. Arrange the lentil balls on the lettuce leaves and decorate the plate with slices of lemon.
  10. Afiyet olsun! (Enjoy your meal)

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