Recipe Corner: Guest Recipe: Heart-Healthy Kufteh


Contributed by Robyn and Douglas Kalajian at

The Kalajians at have been experimenting with some of their favorite traditional recipes to reduce fat and cholesterol. Here, they’ve taken the traditional recipe for kufteh — Armenian stuffed meatballs — and replaced the ground lamb and butter with ground turkey and olive oil. We think these results are very good as it introduces a healthy alternative to many people today. Try it soon. If you still prefer the old style, just substitute ground lamb or beef for turkey — but be sure the meat for the outer shell is very lean and ground three times. To see the Kalajians’ latest how-to-video for this recipe, go to:


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Heart-Healthy Kufteh

Yield: About 10, depending on the size of your hands.

Meechoog (Filling) Ingredients: (Note: Make this ahead of time and chill)

2 large onions, finely chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, washed, stems removed, finely chopped

Ground coriander, allspice, black pepper, salt, paprika, season to taste

3/4 pound ground turkey breast (97% lean)

Meechoog Directions:

  1. Sauté onions in olive oil until soft.
  2. Stir in the chopped parsley and seasonings.
  3. In a separate skillet, spray vegetable spray. Brown the ground turkey breast until it is no longer pink.
  4. Combine the cooked turkey with the onion mixture. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  5. Place in large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Shell Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground turkey (93% lean)

1 1/2 cups #1 (fine) bulgur

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons olive oil

Ground coriander, to taste

Salt, to taste

Water (for mixing)

Bowl of ice water (to keep hands cold)

Shell Directions:

  1. Combine ground turkey, bulgur, egg, oil and seasonings. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
  2. To make the shell, take enough of the mixture to resemble the size of a large egg.
  3. Make an indentation with your thumb, pressing until the shell is as thin as you can make it without it falling apart.
  4. Place about one heaping tablespoon of the filling in the indentation.
  5. Dip hands in water.
  6. Continue to shape shell carefully, making sure shell holds together and the filling doesn’t come through.
  7. Continue the shaping process until all of the filling and shell mixtures are used up.
  8. Cover and chill shaped kuftehs until ready to cook.

(NOTE: If you have leftover filling (meechoog), it can be incorporated into an omelet. Leftover shell ingredients can be rolled into balls and cooked along with the rest of the kufteh.)

SPECIAL NOTE: For an extraordinary treat, you can make Armenian-style Meat ‘Burritos’ using phyllo dough and meechoog portion of the kufteh recipe.

Go to:

To Cook:

  1. Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water. Bring to a rolling boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  2. Carefully lower a few kuftehs at a time into the water and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Do not crowd the pot. When kufteh rises to the top, allow them to cook a few minutes longer to make sure the shell is thoroughly cooked.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid.
  5. Keep warm until all are cooked.


To Serve:

Serve with plain yogurt, a chopped salad, assorted cheeses, chopped parsley and onions, and fresh pita bread or lavash.

Leftover, cooked kufteh suggestion:

Slice remaining cooked, chilled kufteh in half horizontally.

Dip in the egg. Cook in a lightly greased skillet (PAM) until egg is set and kufteh is heated through.  Serve with slice tomatoes, chopped parsley, red onions, cucumbers, red pepper or Aleppo pepper.


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