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This is a marriage made in heaven!  Inspiration is a funny thing…it can come out of nowhere.  It can be overheard.  It can sneak up on you.  Or is can simply be the unfolding of something unexplained…that’s sort what happened here.  I was planning on making kafta.  Had the ground beef in the bowl and I was assembling the ingredients I was planning on using.  During this process, in order to reach my spices, I moved my box of Trader Joe’s® Falafel Mix.  I always have a box on hand, as I like to use it as a breading.  Remember the Falafel-Coated Snapper or Falafel-Coated Eggplant?  I picked up the box to move it and it hit me.  Why don’t I add a bit of this mix to the meat?  Sort of like breadcrumbs and meatloaf…Hmmm…so that’s what I did!

Place all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix (I use my very clean hands!!) until thoroughly combined.  Then, cover and chill for several hours.  You need to do this, to let that falafel mix reconstitute and the spices to bloom.  When about ready to serve, remove from the fridge, form into 8 long, football-shaped kafta.  You can form the meat around skewers, if wish.  If you’re using wooden, soak them in water for at least an hour, so they don’t become Tiki torches on the BBQ!!! Place the “logs” in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and grill over high heat, turning about every couple of minutes until grilled to perection.  Serve as is, or wrapped in a pita with tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions.  Feel free to add some fresh cilantro or spicy Thai basil leaves…so good!  Feel free to form these into patties and serve as you would a hamburger.

Kafta-fel (A Marriage of Kafta and Falafel)

  • Servings: Makes about 8
  • Difficulty: Moderately Easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound ground beef (or lamb), about 85/15
  • 1/3 cup falafel mix (I use Trader Joe’s™)
  • 6 tablespoons iced water
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zest grated
  • Juice from Meyer lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons very finely minced lemon balm or mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • To serve:
  • Pita, naan or hamburger or hot dog bun
  • Tzatziki
  • Cucumber slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Red onion, thinly sliced

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix until thoroughly combined (I use my very clean hands!), cove and chill for several hours.  Shape into 8 long, football-shaped ovals.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, then grill over high heat for about 2 minutes per side, or about 8-10 minutes, total.  Wrap in pita or naan, and serve with Tzatziki, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion…enjoy.  Or eat as it, with a salad or pita, on the side.

NOTE:  If you wish to serve as an appetizer, shape into 16 pieces.  Cooking time will be reduced.

Kafta-fel (A Marriage of Kafta and Falafel) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020.  All rights reserved.