Grilled Turkey Kafta Patties

Ground turkey lightens up this traditional Middle Eastern dish without sacrificing flavor.

Grilled Turkey Kafta Patties - The Lemon BowlDid you know that my family is Middle Eastern? I’m kidding. Garlic, lemon juice and olive oil runs through my veins. In fact, my Syrian heritage is the reason this blog is named The Lemon Bowl. One of my favorite Lebanese dishes is grilled kafta kabobs.  Traditionally made with a lamb and beef combination, I decided to create a lighter version with ground turkey breast which we almost always have on hand.

Thanks to the juicy onion and plenty of fresh parsley, these Grilled Turkey Kafta Patties came out tender, moist and delicious. Even my beef-loving husband admitted that I nailed it. Our 21 month old ate three patties so clearly they got his stamp of approval as well. 

Cucumber Laban - The Lemon BowlTo serve, make a batch of Cucumber Laban – Lebanese Yogurt Sauce. Cool, creamy and tangy – it is the perfect balance to any grilled meat or seafood but works particularly well with kafta.

fattoushA classic Middle Eastern Salad or Fattoush Salad would also be great with this dish. Don’t worry about too much garlic, two garlic breaths balance out the other so eat up and enjoy.

BTW – This recipe (and entire suggested menu) is completely gluten free! Perfect for summer grilling season, especially when you may be hosting guests with various allergies.  For more delicious gluten free recipe ideas and gluten free living support, head on over to the Udi’s Gluten Free Community.

Your fork is waiting.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Turkey Kafta Patties
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ground turkey lightens up this traditional Middle Eastern dish without sacrificing flavor.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 oz ground turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion - quartered
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • fresh parsley - garnish
  • rice pilaf or pita bread to serve (optional)
  1. Pre-heat grill on high.
  2. Pour olive oil on to a large plate; set aside.
  3. Pulse together all remaining ingredients (ground turkey through nutmeg) in a food processor until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove blade from food processor and use hands to form 8 small patties.
  5. Place patties on plate with olive oil and toss once to coat both sides.
  6. Grill over high heat 3-4 minutes per side, turning once, until internal cooking temperature reaches 165 degrees or higher.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over rice pilaf or in a pita bread with cucumber yogurt sauce.
These patties can be cooked under the broiler just as easily as they can be grilled! Just broil on high for 4-5 minutes per side or until browned.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 patties Calories: 173 Fat: 4.6 g Saturated fat: .5 g Unsaturated fat: 4.1 g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 5.1 g Sugar: 1.7 g Sodium: 648 mg Fiber: 1.6 g Protein: 28.7 g Cholesterol: 70 mg



    • Liz DellaCroce says

      We adore beef kafta also but I thought it would be fun to try it with turkey and it worked!!

  1. barbara says

    These sound yummy, but I have a question: any suggestions if the onion needs to be left out? My husband needs to avoid all members of the onion family.

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Hi Barbara: Onions are a key component to kafta so although I can give you suggestions for another recipe, it would not be anything to compare to traditional kafta. Perhaps you could make these patties more of an Italian style with parmesan cheese instead of onions? You could add sundried tomatoes too. Again, kafta really relies on the onion so I would probably just make something different. :-) I hope you understand!!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Me too…always reminds me of my relatives that are no longer with us. Love that about food!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Thanks lady – such simple ingredients but so nice to do something different with plain ground turkey. :)

  2. says

    These look amazing! I am finding volunteer parsley plants popping up all over the place (where were they when I went out and bought 4 more to replace the ones the bunny nibbled?) so I’m delighted for a recipe using a cup of parsley, esp a meat recipe that my son can cook on the grill. Part of his summer enrichment program.

      • says

        Thanks for the quick response! I am going to try it this week. I have really enjoyed your recipes. My husband is somewhat of a food snob so I find it difficult to find recipes that are fairly healthy and actually taste good. We use your shawarma recipe all the time now. Thanks again!

  3. robin says

    I made these tonight, with the Lebanese chickpea salad and the cucumber laban. Amazing!! Loved the flavors and the turkey patties, so moist and tasty.Will definitely do this again!

  4. Jesselyn A/Jesstinger says

    I’m a huge fan of Lebanese food ~ and Middle Eastern cuisine in general. I couldn’t agree more about how essential the onion is to this recipe, but authentic or not, I just can’t resist adding a bit garlic too…

    Also as you note, kafta is traditionally made with lamb and beef ~ and my Honey/Hubby LOVES the taste of LAMB (me too…) but I did find that while not as healthy /light as going with the straight ground turkey, doing a turkey/lamb combo gives the kafta the taste and texture Hubby craves ~ with an improved fat/nutrition profile. Thanks!


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