Throughout the Middle East, kebabs called kofte are made by mixing ground beef with delightfully extravagant quantities of fresh herbs and warm spices. The beef mixture—formed around skewers, rolled into logs, or pressed into patties, depending on region and personal preference—is grilled over high heat and served with a creamy yogurt sauce. Since the protein composition in plant-based meat makes it more delicate than beef, our plant-based kofte were prone to breaking apart on the grill when formed onto skewers. Doing away with the skewers and rolling the kofte into logs allows us to handle them more gently with tongs, so they’re less apt to crumble. (A well-oiled grill grate helps, too.) The tangy yogurt-tahini sauce cuts through the koftes’ richness and spice, and red onion, tomato, and shredded lettuce add a fresh, crisp touch. The intense heat of a charcoal fire mimics that of a kofte grill, but you can use a gas grill instead. If you like, serve the kofte with a side of rice pilaf rather than making wraps.

Grilled Kofte Wraps [Vegan]

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Ingredients

For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain plant-based or dairy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced to paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Kofte:

  • 1 small red onion (1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced thin)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 ounces plant-based ground meat
  • 4 (8‑inch) pita breads
  • 1 large tomato, sliced thin
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

Preparation

  1. For the yogurt-tahini sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Sauce can be ­refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
  2. For the kofte: Process chopped onion, panko, pine nuts, parsley, mint, water, garlic, paprika, cumin, pepper, coriander, cloves, and salt in food processor until mixture forms a cohesive paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add ground meat and pulse to combine, about 10 pulses.
  3. Remove processor blade. Using your moistened hands, divide meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into 4½‑inch-long cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Transfer kofte to plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Lightly moisten 2 pita breads with water. Sandwich 2 unmoistened pita breads between moistened pita breads and wrap stack tightly in lightly greased heavy-duty aluminum foil.
    1. For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    2. For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  5. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place kofte on grill perpendicular to grate bars. Cook (covered if using gas) until well browned on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip kofte and continue to cook until browned on second side and meat registers 130 to 135 degrees, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer kofte to plate.
  6. Meanwhile, place packet of pitas on grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Lay each warm pita on 12‑inch square of foil. Spread each pita with 2 tablespoons sauce. Place 1 kofte in middle of each pita and top with tomato, lettuce, and sliced onion. Roll into cylindrical shape and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.


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