These Grilled Kofta are made with a combination of ground beef and lamb plus lots of rich warm spices. These 30-minute easy to make skewers are served alongside a creamy lemon tahini sauce for dipping.
Kofta is one of my favourite things to order at a Middle Eastern restaurant. I love the combination of rich aromatic spices that go so well with the ground beef and lamb. Although the list of ingredients for these kofta might seem long, they are all basic ingredients that you more than likely already have in your kitchen or pantry or can easily be found in any grocery store. I like the combination of beef and lamb, but feel free to use just one or the other depending on what you have on hand. They are served with a creamy lemon and tahini sauce that is perfect for dipping or drizzling overtop.
What Is Kofta?
Kofta is a savory spiced meatball type dish originating from the Middle East (specifically Persia). The word kofta originates from Persian and Arabic languages, where it roughly translates to “pounded” or “ground.”Traditional kofta is made by blending ground meat—often lamb, beef, or chicken—with spices, herbs, and onions or garlic. Once mixed, the seasoned mixture is shaped into small patties or kebabs on skewers, then cooked by grilling until golden and cooked through. Kofta is often accompanied by rice, salad, yogurt sauce or pita.
Why You Will Love This Kofta Recipe
- If you are a fan of middle eastern food then you will love these grilled kofta drizzled in tahini lemon sauce. It’s one of my favorite middle eastern recipes that is easy to make, and so tasty.
- These grilled kofta are incredibly flavorful thanks to the blend of spices in the ground meat. You can really make them your own by adding more heat, garlic or herbs depending on what you prefer. You can also use all beef, beef and lamb, or beef and pork depending on what ground meat you have, the recipe is very easy to modify.
- This easy beef kofta recipe is a meal that your whole family will enjoy. It’s a quick meal to make that takes just 30-minutes start to finish.
- This is an easy meal that I regularly make for family dinner because even my picky 3 year old loves them.
- This grilled kofta can be eaten in countless ways including over salad, in pita bread or as an appetizer with dips on the side.
- These Kofta are Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal.
Ingredients You Need To Make Kofta
- Ground Beef: I prefer using lean ground beef in these kofta because the lamb has quite a high fat content so the lean ground beef helps to balance it out. That being said, feel free to use medium ground beef if you prefer.
- Ground Lamb: I really like the extra flavor that ground lamb adds to this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of ground lamb, it can be substituted for ground pork or ground turkey. Feel free to play around with the quantities by adding 50/50 lamb and beef, or more lamb than beef.
- Onion: I prefer to grate the yellow onion on a box grater so that it becomes a pulp like texture and really blends into the meat mixture, but feel free to finely chop the onion, or place it in a food processor and pulse.
- Fresh Parsley: finely chopped italian parsley (or you can use flat leaf parsley) is mixed in with the meat and adds a wonderful fresh flavor. If you do not have parsley, other fresh herbs can be used such as fresh mint or oregano.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic rather than jarred minced garlic or garlic powder for the best flavor.
- Spices: The blend of spices in this kofta kebab recipe is what really elevates the dish and gives them so much extra flavor. The spice blend includes Cumin, Coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt and black pepper, all common savory spices that you likely have in your kitchen cabinet. If you do not have cayenne feel free to use red pepper flakes instead for a little bit of heat.
(You can find a full list of ingredients in the recipe card below)
Tips For Making Grilled Kofta
- Using wood skewers? Don’t forget to soak the wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes before adding the meat, this will prevent them from burning. I put the bamboo skewers in a tall water bottle filled with water to ensure they remain submerged when soaking.
- Don’t have skewers? You can roll the kofta mixture into a variety of different shapes include small balls or patties.
- Don’t make the kofta too fat: Making the kofta meat long and thin will ensure that it cooks evenly. I would recommend aiming for 1 inch in thickness.
- Wet your hands: after moulding the ground lamb and beef mixture around the skewers, wet your hands and gently run a damp hand over the meat to smooth the surface. This doesn’t impact how they cook, but makes them look better once grilled.
How To Cook These Grilled Kofta
A gas grill is the ideal way to cook the Lamb & Beef Kofta. I recommend rubbing the grill racks with a little oil before placing the kofta on the hot grill so that the meat doesn’t stick. Grill the kofta on medium-high heat for a total of 8 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes so that it cooks evenly and is golden brown on all sides. If you are uncertain on whether or not the kofta are cooked through I recommend using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the meat, you are looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I Cook Kofta on The Stove?
Grease a grill pan or cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. Place the pan on the stove on medium high heat and cook the meat for 8-10 minutes turning frequently to ensure it browns on all sides.
Can I Cook Kofta In The Oven?
Place the kofta skewers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 425º Fahrenheit (220º degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 3-4 minutes until the meat develops a golden colour but be sure to keep a close eye on them to ensure that they don’t burn.
What To Serve With This Lamb & Beef Kofta
I like serving the Grilled Kofta with Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad and lemon tahini sauce on the side for dipping. They would also be delicious served with a light salad with cucumber and tomatoes, or in a lettuce cup or warm pita bread with Tzatziki (I like serving it with my dairy free homemade tzatziki sauce), baba ganoush, creamy hummus (I like this homemade hummus recipe), thinly sliced red onion and tomatoes. Other side dishes that I like serving with these kofta include this grilled eggplant, couscous greek salad or this eggplant salad. Alternatively you could make these Kofta on small skewers and serve them as an appetizer with the tahini sauce on the side for dipping.
What Is In The Tahini Lemon Sauce
The lemon tahini sauce really elevates these delicious kofta kebabs to something special. The sauce is made with 4 simple ingredients and takes 3 minutes to make. Simply combine lemon juice, tahini, water and a garlic clove in a blender and blend until smooth. While you can alternatively whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl, I prefer to make the sauce in a blender as it gets much fluffier and lighter in consistency.
Can I Make These Kofta In Advance?
Absolutely! The meat, combination of spices, onion, garlic and parsley can all be mixed together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and then stored in the fridge for up to 2 days before shaping and grilling, or alternatively you can shape the mixture around the skewers and place them on a sheet pan in the fridge for up to a day in advance.
What About Leftovers
Leftover lamb and beef kofta kebabs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days and can be reheated in the oven, in the microwave, or on an outdoor grill on low heat until warmed through.
Here are a few more ground beef recipes that you might enjoy…
- Mexican Beef Taco Salad
- Classic Beef Lasagna
- Mexican Meatballs
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Beef & Cauliflower Rice Mexican Casserole
- Spaghetti Bolognese Casserole
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion grated on a cheese grater
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
Tahini Lemon Sauce
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- In a large bowl combine the ground beef and lamb, grated onion and chopped parsley. Add in the minced garlic, all of the spices and salt using your hands mix everything together, making sure that the spices are well distributed throughout.
- Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions and form them into long thin shapes around the skewers. Wet your hands and gently roll the koftas on a clean surface to make them evenly thin and smooth.
- Heat a grill to medium high heat or alternatively turn on a sandwich press and lightly grease. Place the kofta on the grill and leave to cook for a total of 8 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes to ensure they cook evenly and brown on all sides.
- While the kofta are cooking prepare the tahini lemon sauce. In a blender combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and water and blend until smooth. Add a splash more water if the sauce is still too thick, it should have a very light consistency.
- Serve the Kofta garnished with chopped parsley and the tahini lemon sauce drizzled over top or on the side for dipping.