May 25, 2011

Persian Turkey Kofta Kebabs



If you're looking for something different to make at your next BBQ, give these Middle Eastern inspired turkey kebabs a try! A cross between a grilled meatball and a hamburger on a stick. You can skip the stick if you wish or even cook them in a skillet, but with Memorial Day around the corner, I thought these would be fun!

My Persian neighbor introduced me to kofta a few years ago, he often has backyard parties complete with Persian music, family and plenty of food. His were made of beef and I never actually got his recipe but I'm pretty good at replicating flavors and these came pretty darn close... and of course using turkey instead of beef makes these a lot lighter.

Serve them as an appetizer or main dish. I served them with a simple cucumber-tomato salad and cucumber yogurt dipping sauce but you can also serve it on a pita, over rice pilaf or even with tabouleh.

There are so many variations of Kofta throughout the Middle East, each country has a unique recipe which may include beef, goat, chicken or fish and each is flavored with their own unique spices. What is your favorite?


For best results prepare the meat ahead and refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend, this also helps the meat stay together when you grill it. I chopped my onions, garlic and parsley in my mini food processor for quick prep.

Persian Turkey Kofta Kebabs 
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 3 kebabs •  Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 185.4 • Fat: 8.3 g • Protein: 22.9 g • Carb: 5.1 g • Fiber: 0.8 g • Sugar: 0.3 g
Sodium: 114.5 mg (without the salt)


Ingredients:
  • 20 oz 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic. minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt and fresh pepper (to taste)

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, onion, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Divide into a heaping 1/4 cup portions so you get 12; roll into log shaped ovals. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes before grilling.


When ready to eat, preheat grill to high heat. Carefully insert the skewer through the formed meat. 



Grill for 10 to 15 minutes on indirect heat turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink.

72 comments :

  1. Holy Cow, do these look good. Kofta is one of my favorite middle eastern dishes! Of course, I love hummus too!

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  2. These look delicious. I'm a sucker for anything that can be eaten with cucumber yogurt sauce. Going to have to try these soon.

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  3. I love Kefta!

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  4. Is coriander the same as cilantro?

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

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    1. Yes coriander leaves are the same as cilantro.

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  5. Heads up! The link for cuke yogurt dipping sauce goes to sesame lime dipping sauce.

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  6. Thanks for noticing, I just fixed the link!

    Amy, ground coriander are the seeds of cilantro.

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  7. As I was reading the description and how you served it and ways it could be served, I was getting ridiculously excited! I LOVE ethnic dishes, but since I live in an extremely rural area I have to rely on myself to satisfy my culinary desires. I'm so glad I found your site with healthier versions!

    I definitely have to make this one! I think my picky partner may even be able to enjoy the kebabs too! That means more tabouleh for me!

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  8. I have never had those before but I think I am actually going to try this recipe! Thanks, my dear.

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  9. These look amazing! Can't wait to try them!

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  10. OMG! For once, I have all the ingredients for a recipe! I'm gonna try it. My four year old will like it because it's on a stick. LOL

    Great recipe. Thanks!

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  11. These look yummy and with a cucumber sauce o boy I can't wait to make these..I made the Swedish meatballs and the whole family enjoyed them.

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  12. These look delicious! Just got back from grocery shopping, and am making these tonight! Thank you :-)

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  13. I love koftas! One of my favourite foods on a stick. =)

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  14. I love adding pine nuts yo mine! Thanks for the lightened up version!
    Jyl

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  15. Those look amazing! Not sure I have had Persian food but I have had plenty of Middle Eastern food and I love the flavors!

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  16. I'm a sucker for food on a stick! :) This is definitely on my to grill list!

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  17. I don't have a barbecue can we make these in the oven? If so at what temp and how long?

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  18. I had tabouleh on my list of things to make. Now I have a meat protein to go with! Thanks!

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  19. You could bake it at 400° I'm guessing 15 - 20 minutes?

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  20. My husband is allergic to cilantro, usually I sub parsley but parsley is already in recipe...how about basil? Any other suggestions? Thanks, Lyn

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  21. There is no cilantro in here, just ground coriander seed, I guess I should specify that. Leave it out, it would still be good.

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  22. This looks yummy.Going to try them.

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  23. There is a restaurant by my house that has something very similar to this, and I just adore it!

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  24. I fixed this tonight.....and it was very good. I substitued the parsley with cilantro and almost double the garlic!!! Let me tell you it had LOTS of flavor. My bride really liked it too. Had it with steamed white rice and steamed brocolli. Yummy. Thanks Gina. I love this site! Tom

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  25. I made these last night and they were awesome! I used dark turkey meat which doesn't dry out when cooked on the grill. I will definitely make these again. My sister turned me on to your website and I just love it.

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  26. Tom, I am happy you enjoyed them, the more garlic the better I always say!

    Brieanne, glad you liked them! I agree, dark meat is a must. The super lean 99% turkey breast would be too dry.

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  27. Oh no! All I had was ground turkey breast. Maybe I can drizzle some EVOO on them to keep them from drying out? Darn it. I mixed everything tonight. Going to let it sit overnight and make them tomorrow. Can't wait to try them. Made the cuke sauce too. I'm thinking brown rice and broccoli will be yummy with this.

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  28. Made these last night, along with the skinny tzatiki...OMG, SO YUMMY! Lately, most my meal ideas have come from your blog...thanks for the information/inspiration...I've always loved tzatiki, I'm so excited that I can now make my own lighter version. I added mint to mine because I like the cool/fresh taste it provides along side the cucumber. MMM! MMM!

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  29. Glad you liked them!! Adding a little olive oil would help the turkey if you use turkey breast.

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  30. Glad you liked them!! Adding a little olive oil would help the turkey if you use turkey breast.

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  31. Made these today. They tasted fantastic - thank you!

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  32. Do you use fresh or dry breadcrumbs for this recipe? Thanks, I can't wait to try it!

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  33. I used dried to help hold them together as the turkey is very moist.

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  34. I am sorry to say I was disappointed with this one. I found the flavor to be very bland, though I followed the ingredients to a T. They were dry, too, but maybe that's because I cooked them in a skillet, instead of grilling since I don't own a grill. The tzatziki was very good, though!

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  35. As always, THANK YOU GINA! Made this with a slight variation. I had to double the recipe and my husband is not big on turkey. So, made it a little less healthy by adding a meatloaf mix to it(pork, beef and veal). It came out fantastic! I wish I had made the cucumber sauce to go with it. Dipped it in ranch dressing. I know, not the same, nor as good for you, but YUM! Another Kat Proof Recipe!
    Kat Creamer

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  36. edit: I just remembered I actually did omit the corriander, since I'm not a fan, but I remember you saying on a comment that this would still taste delicious with the corriander. Other than that, I followed everything exactly.

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  37. *withOUT the corriander* Geez, I can't type today!

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  38. ABSOULTLY DELICIOUS!!! I made these while we were camping. Great with pitas and hummus.

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  39. This is so so good. Made it last night and served with pita, hummus and a salad of tomatoes and red onions. My husband almost licked the yogurt sauce bowl. I love koftas and was wondering if I can use lamb or beef here in place of the turkey... how would it affect the points?

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  40. You sure can! But you would have to plug it into recipe builder to see how the points are effected.

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  41. Made these today, but I had an offer to go out to dinner (free) about 30 minutes after making them & putting in the refrigerator ... Can I leave them in the refrigerator & grill them tomorrow for dinner? Thanks Gina! #1 fan of this blog, totally awesome recipe ideas for a real person.

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  42. I made these up without the parsley since I didn't realize I was out of that until it was too late. They were tasty (LOVED the sauce) but we had issues with the sticks burning up (even after soaking the sticks for 30 minutes). My husband ended up removing the sticks since they burnt all the way to the meat. (he says he cooked using indirect heat...) So next time we'll just leave the sticks out of the equation. :)

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  43. I hate when that happens, I always tell my husband make sure the sticks dont burn!! Metal skewers are probably easier.

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  44. I love kebabs of all kinds and these look great!

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  45. Made this tonight and had a bit of a disaster - they were just too moist for the grill. When I realized they were not holding onto the skewers, I used a spatula and scraped them off the grill - then ran inside and got a cookie sheet and put them on the sheet - and removed the skewers. Put the cookie sheet on the grill and cooked them on that - and that worked fine. Very good flavor - especially with the tzatziki sauce (to which I added garlic). I'll make them again but just go the cookie sheet route on the grill.

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  46. Marilyn, refrigerating them first helps hold them better or maybe adding an egg white but I am glad you were able to figure out a solution. Also make sure you spray the grill really well with oil so they don't stick.

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  47. Gina, refrigerated them for over an hour. Even added an extra Tbl. of bread crumbs because I recognized that it might be too moist pre-grilling but that was no help. Think it was my turkey. The egg white might be a solution. If not, I'm OK with using a cookie sheet - they browned up very nicely and got a "grilled" flavor with the top of the grill down. Tonight is the Chicken Tikka Masala - my neighbor smelled it cooking and remarked that it smelled great :-). Tasted it and YUM!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the kebabs are quite hard to keep intact while grilling. Egg white is a good solution but also what you can do is, shape them on the stick, put them in the freezer for two hours and then you can cook them.

      Another way is to cook them on high heat on one side fast, flip them and then you can cook the other side on medium heat or how long it would take to cook the meat you used.This method best used when you are using fire grilling.

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  48. I would love to make these with ground lamb. What recommendations to spices would you have, or would/could I just use the same as the turkey? They were very good as turkey also!

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    1. Like Gina said, in the middle east there are many ways of making them. Ofcourse you can use lamb. You can use the same spices for the turkey.

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  49. Marilyn, like a grilled meatball : )

    Peggy, I am sure they are awesome with lamb, use the same spices.

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  50. Another wonderful recipe! Thank you so much, Gina. This one was a big hit with the fiance. :)

    For those of you that don't have a grill, I put it in the oven at 400 deg. for 20 min. like Gina said, but then I put it under the broiler for about 10 minutes (monitor often!) for that delicious brown crust in the picture.

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  51. These turned out great! I made some adjustments, I used dried parsley instead of fresh and I baked them in the oven (I was too lazy to grill). The spices were not very noticeable, so I might double the amounts of spices next time.

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  52. We had these for dinner last night with rice and your skinny tzatziki. So good!! Since there's only two adults - and one baby eating, we're having the left overs as wraps tonight! YUM!

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    1. They go very well with tzatziki.

      Check mine, which i made with salsa.
      http://mykitchenoncall.blogspot.ro/

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  53. Gina, I made these and loved them! I cooked them on the broiler of my oven since we do not own or know how to properly operate a grill :) I served them with tatziki dipping sauce and it was great! I placed them in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before cooking them and they came out perfect! I just ate the left overs today with the tatziki and the cilantro lime rice...all those things came together in flavor perfectly...I may make them together next time!

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  54. Thanks for the recipe. It was great! It brought me back to my visit to Turkey! See my blog write-up here: http://christineskitchenchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/07/persian-turkey-kofta-kebabs.html

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  55. Oh Gina. I had (what I thought was) ground turkey in the fridge. Turned out to be Italian seasoned ground turkey. Okay. Not a BIG problem. Then I went to my very large spice rack (it hangs on a wall, has seven racks, fully loaded) to get the spices you listed. Didn't have glasses on so i picked up cayenne rather than chili powder (both red, sit next to each other). Didn't notice until after I added it to the meat. Went out to the garden to get the parsley and discovered that the neighbor's pet rabbit got there first and our dog finished it off by chasing it out. (Rabbit is fine.) Picked basil instead. Made them, put them on skewers and put them in freezer for 45 minutes (find that ground meat holds together a bit better when grilled frozen) while I cut and marinated veggies for kabobs. Put them together and grilled all. Even with all of MY goofs (and firm belief that recipes are guidelines, not set in stone) they turned out great. Can't wait to see what they taste like when they are made the way you posted it.

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  56. LOL, you're comment cracked me up!! I bet they were still good with all your changes!!

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  57. Just made these tonight and they were super yummy! Paired them with a Greek yogurt sauce (Chobani 0% plain yogurt, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper) and it made it even better!

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  58. These were my first of your recipes I've tried. I'm half Syrian & Turkish so have experience with kofta! I loved this healthy version. I served it with roasted cumin carrots. Thanks!

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  59. Oh no! I thought I defrosted a package of ground turkey to make these and I actually defrosted ground chicken. What do you think? Would that work?!

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    1. They would work actually, chicken will be really moist though so i advice to shape them first them freeze them and that should hold them up.

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  60. I made this recently and they was awesome! Too cold to grill so I used my Foreman Grill, turned out pretty well!

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  61. I made this per the directions tonight, and my WHOLE family loved it! I have two boys, 5 & 9, both gobbled them up. My husband said this needs to be on our weekly menu! I paired it with what my family calls persian salad (chopped tomatoes, cucumber, diced onion with a dressing of fat free Italian dressing mixed with dried mint and a squirt of lemon juice), and grilled flat bread - the kids made sammies. This was wonderful - thank you!!!

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  62. Made these for dinner tonight--delicious. My husband, who isn't really a fan of the middle eastern flavors that I adore, enjoyed it as well! I baked mine on a broiler pan at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, then flipped them over for another 12 minutes. Served with a store-bought tzatziki-style yogurt dip (it had some feta in it, too) and a simply dressed cucumber-tomato salad. Wonderful!

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  63. This is the first recipe I make from your website, I have to say these were awesome!!! My BF loved them! The Tzatziki sauce was great as well, I would definately repeat this recipe (I made them on a small oven, not the BBQ), thank you so much!!!

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  64. I made these this evening with fresh parsley from my garden and it was DELICIOUS! I used my food processor, as you suggested, to blend the parsley, onion and garlic and it turned the mixture into a nice consistency.

    The flavour in these kofta kebabs is so wonderful and the turkey stayed moist, even on the barbecue. I've added this to my list of favourite recipes! Perfect for entertaining.

    Thanks for all you do!
    Michelle

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  65. You get up to spicy recipe of Turkish kebabs, to improve family meals.
    email: harubi8899@yahoo.com.vn
    Thanhks you

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  66. I substituted Mint Leaves for the parsley and added 2 large finely minced Jalapenos. Delicious!

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  67. mine were a bit too dry, but I know that it was my fault. Do you suppose it would work to add some shredded zucchini, like is in the greek meatball recipe?

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