Easy Kafta Recipe (Beef Kafta Sandwich or Bowl)
This Easy Kafta Recipe turns a classic Lebanese dish into a simple weeknight meal. This recipe uses ground beef, doesn’t make you mess around with skewers, and can be served two different ways – as a sandwich or in a bowl!
Today, I’m sharing my recipe for beef kafta! If easy weeknight meals made with beef are up your alley, have you seen my steak lettuce wraps, gyro pizza and cheeseburger pizza?
Anyway, have you ever met or seen someone that you feel might be your long lost sibling? Or just the opposite-sex version of you?
For me, that person is Jeff Mauro, i.e. “The Sandwich King” on the Food Network.
As soon as we saw him on “The Next Food Network Star,” my husband and I immediately noticed how similar he was to me – a love of sandwiches and turning all types of food into sandwiches, an oddball demeanor in the kitchen, and a really strange sense of humor that isn’t for everyone.
When we watch his show on weekend mornings, we often just laugh about the fact that my male counterpart scored a Food Network show.
Oh, and we have a similar food sensibility, as all of The Sandwich King’s recipes are to die for, even if they can be a bit labor intensive and time consuming.
We’ve tried several of them, our favorite being his Greek Tacos.
An easy kafta recipe, served two different ways
For today’s weekday supper, I thought I would adapt Jeff Mauro’s Kefta Dog with Roasted Tomatoes, Ballpark Style into a quick weeknight meal made with ground beef.
While the original recipe requires 25 minutes of prep time plus 1 hour, 40 minutes of cook time (!!!), my version can be prepared in just about 30 minutes (just like my chicken sloppy joes and taco mac and cheese).
I actually adapted this recipe two different ways – one which is more along the lines of Jeff’s kafta hog dog idea, and a second serving option that skips the bun and serves the kafta in a bowl with rice and garnishes.
Instructions for both serving ideas are in the recipe card below. Psst – kafta can also be served as shish kofta lettuce wraps!
What is kafta?
Kofta/kefta/kafta is a Middle Eastern meatball or skewer, usually consisting of beef or lamb mixed with onion and spices.
In my recipe, versatile ground beef is flavored with just enough onion, garlic, herbs and spices to give it some extra flavor, but not too much so that you can’t taste the great flavor of the meat itself.
Instead of shaping the beef onto skewers (which is traditional), I skipped the skewers and formed the meat into logs (longer logs for the hot dog serving idea, and shorter logs for the bowls).
After a quick trip to the oven or grill, I finish the beef kafta with a simple savory yogurt sauce, and garnishes like cucumber and tomatoes. Sometimes I’ll even serve them with Greek yogurt mashed potatoes.
How to cook kafta:
In the summer, I’ll cook it on the grill. In the winter, I’ll cook it in the oven (when I’m not making root beer ribs).
Either way, I skip the skewers because I don’t find them necessary as long as you’re careful about transfer the kafta to the grill or baking pan, and turn them carefully when you need to.
It’s important to cook the kafta to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for food safety, per the USDA guidelines.
More easy beef recipes:
You can never have too many recipes for this versatile dinner time staple.
Easy Kafta Recipe (Beef Kafta Sandwich or Bowl)
This Easy Kafta Recipe turns a classic Lebanese dish into a simple weeknight meal. This recipe uses ground beef, doesn't make you mess around with skewers, and can be served two different ways - as a sandwich or in a bowl!
For the Kafta:
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/3 cup finely minced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Yogurt Sauce:
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
For Serving Hot Dog Style:
- 4 hot dog buns
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
For Serving Bowl Style:
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups prepared white or brown rice
- 1 cup prepared hummus
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Make Kafta: Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. In large bowl, mix garlic, beef, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper until well combined.
- To serve hot dog style, divide mixture into 4 portions and shape each portion into a 5- to 6-inch-long hot-dog shaped log. To serve bowl style, divide mixture into 8 portions and shape each portion into a 3- to 3-1/2-inch long log.
- Transfer kafta to grill and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, make Yogurt Sauce: In small bowl, stir together lemon juice, yogurt, lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper.
- To serve hot dog style, place kafta in hot dog buns and top with yogurt sauce, cucumber and tomato. To serve bowl style, place tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and olive oil in medium bowl and toss until well combined. Divide rice between 4 serving bowls or plates and top with hummus, tomato mixture, kafta and yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
To cook kafta in oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place kafta on rimmed baking pan and bake 13 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature of kafta reaches 165 degrees F.
Adapted from Jeff Mauro.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 451mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 34g
Nutrition information includes kafta and yogurt sauce.
Great kofta and yogourt sauce recipes Lori! I made meatballs with ground chicken, and it was really delicious, definitely a keeper! I doubled the kofta recipe, which was a good decision because we had enough for lunches plus a container to freeze and enjoy later on 😊 I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for years, thanks!
I’m so glad you liked this recipe, Michele. I actually made it myself this weekend, too! Thank you so much for following over the years. Have a great week!
This sounds like great flavors. I would do it bowl style, with cauliflower rice, since I’m watching my carb consumption. The recipe has more ingredients than I usually use these days, but prep seems simple. I’m going to have to start keeping a supply of ground beef in the freezer because I can’t always find the 93% lean grass fed beef that I prefer. Thanks for a couple of great ideas.
Oh yes, cauliflower rice would be perfect here!
Love the idea of this kafta dog. I wish I owned a grill but am going to give this a go by baking the meat in the oven. Any tips would be great
Hi Sandy! So glad you like this recipe. You can definitely make the kafta dogs in the oven. I would put them on a rimmed baking pan and bake at 350 degrees. Baking time will depend on how thick you shape them, but I would start with 15-20 minutes. If you have a probe thermometer, you’ll want to cook them until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you could cut one open and take a peak inside to see if it’s done. I figure by the time you put it in a bun with all the toppings anyway, nobody will know it was cut 😉 Good luck!
Mouthwatering! I love Greek yogurt in buns and sandwiches like this 🙂
Now that you mention it, you’re totally the female version of Jeff! I remember watching that season. I rooted for him the whole way. He just seemed like such a nice guy and his concept was perfect (who doesn’t love sandwiches?! I don’t want to be acquainted with those people). Your beef kafta hot dogs look delicious! Ain’t nobody got time to cook for 2 hours on a busy weekday. I love how easy and quick this is to throw together.
Haha yeah, I think if I had a Food Network show, it totally would have been about sandwiches. He beat me to it, but that’s totally fine. I don’t really want to be on TV anyway. I’d be 100% awkward, and not in the hilarious, funny way he is.
Oh, YUM!!!!!!!!!!!! What a brilliant idea. I pretty much hate hot dogs – won’t eat them, but these – I really want these. In looking at the spicing I am very happy to see that you use more coriander than cumin, so the ‘dogs’ will have a mellow, balanced flavor. Really looking forward to making these.
Yeah, I really dig coriander! Such a bright flavor. it almost reminds me of lemon juice in a way, and I love the way it balances with cumin.
I love this. I just started getting into Kafta and using it in place of a hot dog is GENIUS. I may have to look up at that show just so I can see your male twin! 🙂
Haha yeah, Sandwich King is usually on Saturday mornings, but it may be on hiatus right now, between seasons, and I don’t think I’ve seen it in awhile. Jeff Mauro is also on “The Kitchen” on Food Network, which is on both Saturday AND Sunday mornings 🙂
Take away the bun and yogurt and it’s a perfect whole30 meal (I’m totally making it this month and next month I’m adding the rest of it back in!
This was like a Mediterranean explosion in your mouth . . . I was very impressed with the homemade kafta specifically. It was nice to eat one of your favorite dishes in sandwich form. Mmmmmm.
I want YOUR version! This looks GREAT!
Thanks so much, Dorothy!
I can not wait to make these for my family!!
Thanks Isabel, I hope they love them!
Love it Lori! All those great flavors. Best “dog” I’ve seen in a while.