Healthy Fare for Kids

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Lentil, Swiss Chard and Lamb Köfte


From the cookbook Turkey - More Than 100 Recipes With Tales From The Road by Leanne Kitchen

This hearty soup recipe creates small Köfte (meatball in Turkish) using bulgar and lamb for extra flavor, texture and nourishment. I tried substituting turkey (the meat) for the lamb but the meatballs were dry and tasteless. Lamb brings in a more robust profile which pairs well with the soup. Or leave out the meatballs all together.

This recipe makes a half gallon of soup, therefore, it feeds a crowd with room for leftovers that can easily be frozen. Make sure to taste before serving to get the seasonings to your liking, i.e. the salt. Enjoy!

Entire prep and cooking time: 90 minutes
Serves: at least 10 - four ounce servings


1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (I substitute with a 15.5 ounce can of cooked garbanzo beans)

1/2 cup fine bulgur
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
7 ounces ground lamb
2 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Turkish pepper paste
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
1 1/3 cups brown lentils
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed, stems and ribs removed and leaves finely chopped
lemon wedges, to serve
Greek yogurt, to serve
dried chili flakes to serve
extra virgin olive oil, to serve


If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain the chickpeas, cover and reserve.


  1. Rinse the bulgur and drain well, using your hands to squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
  2. Combine in a food processor with the flour, lamb, tomato paste, allspice and cinnamon; season with salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
  3. Take scant teaspoonfuls of the mixture at a time and roll into neat balls using your hands. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until needed.



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the tomato paste, pepper paste, oregano and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  3. Add the lentils and chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  4. Add the chickpeas and cook for 3-4 minutes to heat through, then stir in the Swiss chard.
  5. Bring the soup back to a gentle simmer and carefully stir in the köfte, ready when they're cooked through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve the soup in large bowls with the lemon wedges, yogurt, chili flakes and olive oil passed separately.

Healthy Fare for Kids Meal

Ladle a 4-ounce portion of the soup in a bowl with a meatball or two and top with a dollap of plain greek yogurt.

Prep Skills 

Review this quick video on chopping onions. It will save you SO much time.

Good Food Thoughts

Try to buy local ingredients and visit your local farmers market

Equipment Needed

  • chef's knife
  • cutting board with a wet cloth or mat underneath to prevent slippage
  • large stockpot - 8 quarts
  • measuring spoons


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