Kofta Kabobs (Kebabs) – easy recipe with ground lamb or beef seasoned with garlic, onion, fresh herbs and simple dry spices molded on skewers and grilled for delicious Mediterranean – Middle Eastern inspired flavor.
I’ve made this many times and I’m always amazing at how just a few ingredients added to ground lamb (or beef) turns into layers of delicious flavor.
These easy Kofta Kabobs assemble and grill in minutes. Serve with toasted pita or naan bread, Tzatziki or garlic sauce and a simple salad drizzled with fresh-squeezed lemon juice for a meal you won’t soon forget.
It’s a simple, quick weeknight meal that’s also ideal for showing off your grilling skills to friends and family.
I first tasted Lamb Koftas on a trip to Eastern Market in Detroit. The aroma alone drew me to the vendor grilling them right on the street. The memory of that flavor has stayed with me ever since.
For those not familiar with Eastern Market, it’s a large outdoor market with vendors selling all sorts of fresh produce along with restaurants and other businesses and over 150 years of rich Detroit history.
what are koftas?
Koftas (or Kafta in Lebanon and other parts) are seasoned ground meat, often cooked on skewers like you see in this recipe. The meat may be lamb, beef, chicken or a combination.
They’re associated with Middle Eastern cuisine as well as Mediterranean, but no one country has staked a claim to them.
what’s in kofta kabobs?
- ground lamb
- garlic cloves grated
- large onion finely chopped (or can use grated onion)
- fresh flat leaf parsley
- salt and pepper
how to make kofta kabobs:
Add the ground meat to a large bowl bowl then sprinkle on the spices, grated garlic, finely chopped onion and parsley. Gently mix with your hands, making sure the spices are combined without overmixing.
The mixture will be a little sticky when it’s combined so pop it into the freezer for 10-12 minutes before you add it to the skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, use this time to soak them in water.
After 10-12 minutes remove the meat from the freezer and using your hand, score it into 4 approximately equal sections.
Mold each piece around the skewers leaving room at the ends of each skewer. This helps you turn them more easily on the grill.
How to cook Kofta Kabobs:
Transfer the prepared kabobs to a gas grill and cook about 5 minutes per side (10 minutes total) or until they reach in internal temperature of 155 to 160° then remove from the grill (cook time will vary with grills and exact size of kabobs).
NOTE: be sure to start with a hot grill – medium high heat for best results.
what to serve with grilled kofta kabobs:
In addition to what you see in the photos, here are a few other ideas to eat with your koftas:
Hummus – creamy hummus made without tahini. Garlic and lemon flavor + just 6 ingredients! Watch the VIDEO and make this healthy treat in 10 minutes.
2-Ingredient Bread – just Greek yogurt and self rising flour (instructions given for all purpose flour) no yeast! This easy to make dough whips up in minutes for delicious fresh baked naan, dinner rolls, bagels, breadsticks, pizza and more.
Tzatziki – plain Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon and dill. Delicious fresh healthy dip or sauce with koftas, chicken, other meat and seafood.
Cucumber Tomato Salad – fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, chickpeas and tangy feta in a light, lemony-dill dressing.
can i make koftas ahead of time?
Yes – combine the meat mixture, cover it and refrigerate up to a day ahead for an easy weeknight meal or stress-free entertaining.
Enjoy the lamb and next time try lean ground beef for beef kofta kebabs!
If you tried this easy Kofta Kabab recipe or any other on the blog then I hope you’ll leave a comment and a star rating below!
Grilled Kofta Kabobs (lamb or beef)
- 1 pound ground lamb may sub ground beef
- 2 large cloves garlic grated
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flatleaf parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- wooden skewers
- Add the ground meat to a medium size bowl then sprinkle on the spices, garlic, onion and parsley. Gently mix with your hands, making sure the spices are combined without overmixing.
- The mixture will be a little sticky when it’s combined so place the bowl in the freezer for 10-12 minutes before you add it to the skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, use this time to soak them in water.
- After 10-12 minutes remove the meat from the freezer and using your hand, score it into 4 approximately equal sections.
- Mold each piece around the skewers leaving room at the ends of each skewer.
Grilling the Koftas:
- Preheat the grill to high heat - approximately 450 degrees.
- Transfer the prepared kabobs to the grill and cook about 5 minutes per side (10 minutes total) or until they reach in internal temperature of 155 to 160°.
- Remove from the grill and serve right away.