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Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh

By Heidi Allison
Image of Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh
Lentil meatballs, a traditional vegetarian meal served in Syria, Crete, Greece and Turkey, are easy to prepare and a great way to sneak more veggies and healthy fiber into your meal plan! Known by the monikers lentil kibbeh, mercimek kofte or lentil keftedes, lentil meatballs are traditionally made with red lentils, bulgar and a variety of spices. However, this recipe subs in steamed brown or Puy lentils and quinoa, rather than bulgar as the binding agent, to ensure this dish is gluten-free.

The culinary trick with this dish is to use the correct ratio of lentils to quinoa. Also, if the size of the meatballs is too large or the mixture contains too much moisture (feels sticky or “wet”), the lentil keftedes will fall apart in the frying pan. If the dough feels too “wet,” dust it with a light coating of cornstarch and resist the temptation to flip the keftede before a golden-brown crust has formed.

This lentil mixture can be made several days in advance. Although prepared keftedes can be reheated in a toaster oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, they are best eaten right out of the frying pan!

Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh
Serves: 2 as a main; 4 as an appetizer
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Ingredients

For the labneh:
1 cup labneh
1 small bunch fresh dill, stems removed and chopped, about ¼ cup
1 clove garlic, peeled and micro-planed to a fine paste
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon kosher flake salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation
Image of dressing for Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix gently with a fork till combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

For the lentil keftedes:
1 pkg. Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 egg
2 tablespoons minced red onion
½ large serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced (can sub with 1 teaspoon Aleppo chile flakes)
½ cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
1 ½ cups baby spinach, steamed till wilted, then squeezed to remove moisture.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon kosher flake salt
1 cup steamed red quinoa
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup non-GMO canola oil

Preparation
Image of Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh preparation
Place lentils in a food processor and process several times until a thick paste is achieved. Add the egg and pulse several times till combined.
Image of Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh preparation
Fold in the remainder of the of ingredients and place in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the mixture to firm up.
Image of Gluten-Free Lentil Keftedes with Dill Labneh preparation
Place oil in a nonstick pan and heat on medium heat till hot. Add a heaping tablespoon of lentil mixture into pan and flatten with the back of the spoon to form a flat disk. Fry for 4 minutes on each side, then place on serving plate. Serve with dill labneh, and a romaine salad with sliced Persian cucumber, kalamata olives and grape tomatoes dressed in a light, lemony olive oil dressing.
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