Mediterranean Lollipops–Turkey Kofte


Nothing beats a flavor-packed refreshing Mediterranean dish like kofte with greek yogurt and Baba Ghanoush. While flipping through my most recent edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I stumbled upon a recipe for kofte and was immediately drawn in. Their original recipe calls for ground lamb, but I opted to substitute this for ground turkey, but it can also be made with ground beef–have your pick! This meal is unbelievably satisfying and flavorful–it’s the perfect balance of a hot home-cooked meal with cool salads for a hot summer day.

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Turkey Kofte with Yogurt Sauce (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

Yogurt-Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 c. minced organic parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • 1 lb. all-natural free-range ground turkey (or substitute lamb or beef)
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/3 c. minced organic parsley
  • 1/3 c. minced organic mint
  • 1 1/2 tsp. arrow root powder
  • 8 skewers, soaked in water

The article in Cook’s Illustrated detailed the hard work of testing out several different skewers to find the best ones–the resolution was that simple metal skewers work the best, but since I don’t have any at home and wanted to make this dish ASAP, I just stopped at the store and grabbed some pre-soaked wooden skewers and soaked them again at home for good measure. I also used a grill pan for this recipe instead of a real gas or charcoal grill so I needed to trim the skewers about an inch to fit on my grill pan. That extra step was well worth the convenience of grilling these quickly right on my stove.


Make the Yogurt Sauce: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and set in the refrigerator to chill.


Make the Kofte: Add the pine nuts, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms, about 1 minute. Transfer the spice mixture to a large bowl with the ground turkey, onion, parsley, mint, and arrow root powder, which is used to firm up the meat mixture so that it is properly stable on the skewer. I swapped this in for the gelatin used in the original recipe. Knead the mixture with your hands until thoroughly combined and the mixture feels slightly sticky, about 2 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions and shape each portion into a 5-inch cylinder. Thread each cylinder onto a skewer, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer the skewers to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour. (I actually froze mine for 30 minutes because I was in that much of a hurry to eat this delicious meal!)

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Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and lightly spray with all-natural cooking oil. Place the skewers on the hot grill pan and sear about 5-7 minutes on each side. While cooking, place a large lid of a pot over the grill pan to seal in the heat. This will ensure that the turkey is cooked all the way through.

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Serve with yogurt sauce, Baba Ghanoush, freshly sliced cucumbers and any other condiment your heart desires.


One response »

  1. Pingback: Baba Ghanoush | The Kitchen Faerie

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