Ground turkey lightens up this traditional Middle Eastern dish without sacrificing flavor.
Did 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.
To 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.
A 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.
Grilled Turkey Kafta Patties
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin 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)
- Pre-heat grill on high.
- Pour olive oil on to a large plate; set aside.
- Pulse together all remaining ingredients (ground turkey through nutmeg) in a food processor until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove blade from food processor and use hands to form 8 small patties.
- Place patties on plate with olive oil and toss once to coat both sides.
- Grill over high heat 3-4 minutes per side, turning once, until internal cooking temperature reaches 165 degrees or higher.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over rice pilaf or in a pita bread with cucumber yogurt sauce.
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!
I completely agree and also LOVE lamb!! I wish it was leaner!!! I hope you enjoy these!
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!
Oh I’m so glad to hear it!!!