Kafta Kabobs is a traditional Mediterranean dish that is delicious yet so easy to make! These beautiful kabobs are bursting with flavor and with minimal prep and cooking time; it’s a great way to repurpose leftover ground lamb for a perfect midweek meal.
I’ve always dreamt of walking the colorful city streets of Turkey, shopping the markets, watching the beautiful colorful sunsets, and most of all – enjoying all the flavors the Mediterranean has to offer with my love. But, since that trip hasn’t happened yet, I’m recreating some of my favorite Mediterranean cuisines at home!
Kafta, also called Kofta or Kefta, is a traditional Mediterranean dish made with ground meat, usually beef or lamb, seasoned with onion, cumin, paprika, garlic, and various fresh herbs. This flavorful meat mixture is either enjoyed as kabobs, patties, or meatballs – how it’s served is region-specific!
And if you’re like me, I love whipping up quick, easy, and flavorful weeknight dinners. And these kafta kabobs are just that – quick, easy, and oh-so-tasty! Serve with a fresh salad, a side of couscous stuffed tomatoes, and pita bread for one authentic dinner that will make you feel as if you’re enjoying dinner in the heart of a busy Turkish town.
What ingredients do you need to make Ground Lamb Kabobs (kafta)?
Purchase grass-fed, lean ground lamb if possible as this will help prevent flare-ups on the grill. If you are unable to prepackaged ground lamb, you can always ask your butcher to grind a piece of lamb leg for ultra-fresh ground meat
When buying your tomato, pick one that has a consistent deep red color all around, is heavy for its size, and has a strong tomato smell.
I recommend using a finely diced red onion but feel free to white or even sweet if you prefer.
Offer a subtle sweetness to the kabobs to offset all the heat from the spices. When purchasing be sure to pick a pepper that is has a smooth, firm exterior. Feel free to swap in yellow or orange if that’s all you can find.
While this recipe calls for kosher salt, feel free to use table salt if that’s all you have on hand, just be sure to cut the amount used in half.
- Black Pepper
- Red Chili Flakes
How to make ground lamb kebobs:
- Finely dice the tomato, onion, red pepper, garlic, and coriander.
- Using a towel or cheesecloth, drain all excess water from the vegetables.
- To a medium bowl, add ground lamb, vegetables, and seasonings. Mix to combine.
- Portion out a 1/2 cup of lamb mixture and form around a skewer. Repeat until all mixture is used. Chill for 15 minutes to help firm up.
- Over high heat, grill or pan-fry until internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145°F. Serve and enjoy!
Storage and Reheating
- Storage – Store any leftover kabobs in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or place in a freezer-safe storage container or bag and frozen for up to 2 months.
- Reheating – The easiest way to reheat these kabobs is in the oven or microwave. To reheat in the oven, wrap in foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
Absolutely! When I make this recipe, I love using Grass-Fed Australian Lamb as I find that this meat packs a more authentic flavor and produces an extremely juicy kabob. However, feel free to swap in ground beef for a delicious and cheaper alternative. Or feel free to use a mix of lamb and beef for a flavor-packed mixture.
If you are not using a lean cut of lamb, you could have flare-ups on the grill. If this happens while you are grilling, simply turn off one of the burners, and set the skewers over the extinguished side of the grill. Close the lid and allow the kabobs to finish cooking using indirect heat.
For a charcoal grill, move the skewers to the edges of the grill grate, over a section with no charcoal below.
If you are using wooden skewers, yes, be sure to soak in water for 30 minutes before forming the kabobs to prevent the sticks from catching on fire on the grill.
Additional recipes to try:
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Kafta Kabob is a traditional Mediterranean dish that is delicious yet so easy to make! These beautiful kabobs are bursting with flavor and with minimal prep and cooking time; it’s a great way to repurpose leftover ground lamb for a perfect quick midweek meal.
2 lbs Ground Lamb
1 Large Tomato
1 Small Onion
1 Small Red pepper
8 Garlic Cloves
1 handful of Coriander / Cilantro
1 tbs Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Red Chili flakes
Finely dice tomato, onion, red pepper, garlic & coriander with a knife or food processor.
Using a towel or cheesecloth, drain all of the excess water from the vegetables.
Add Ground Lamb to a medium bowl and mix with your finely chopped vegetables and seasonings.
Mix until fully combined, then form about a 1/2 cup of your lamb mixture around a skewer.
Your kabob should be long and flat. Chill for 15 minutes after forming to help keep them together.
Cook over high heat on the grill or a pan.
Ideally, you want the oil to drip from the kabob without touching the meat.
(You can also cook in an air fryer)
I like to cook mine to a temperature of 165.
Serve with a salad and all of your favorite middle Eastern sides.