Kafta bil sanieh is oven-baked kafta with potatoes, tomatoes, and vegetables in a tomato sauce. It beats all other kafta meatball recipes (in my humble opinion). This childhood favorite is a comforting dish loved by people across Lebanon. Served alongside Lebanese vermicelli rice, it will warm your heart and soul every single time you have it. If you like kafta kabobs, try this kafta bil sanieh.
What I Love About This Recipe
The textures and flavors of roasted vegetables are my absolute favorite thing about this recipe. They perfectly blend with the meat and side dish of rice to make for a mesmerizing culinary experience.
- Kafta minced meat: Kafta is a meat mixture made of minced lamb or minced beef mixed with chopped onion, parsley and a medley of spices. For kafta bil sanieh, add an egg and breadcrumbs to the kafta to keep it from falling apart when spreading it in the oven dish.
- Spices: ground allspice, Lebanese seven spices and a touch of ground cinnamon.
- Egg: To help bind the meat mince.
- Breadcrumbs: To add texture to the meat mince and bind it together.
- Potatoes: Roast the potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes before using them in the recipe. Some people give them a half-fry. The important thing is not to use uncooked potatoes in the dish.
- Tomato: Slices of fresh tomatoes roast to perfection with the meat and vegetables.
- Onion: Use white onion, sweet onion, or yellow onion.
- Green pepper: Use any type of bell pepper or anaheim pepper.
- Tomato paste: Mixed with water to create the tomato sauce.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Kafta Bil Sanieh
Start by making the kafta mixture. Wash and chop the parsley. Mince the garlic either with a garlic press or mortar and pestle. Finely chop the onion. Place the minced meat in a deep mixing bowl. Add in the minced garlic, chopped parsley, chopped onions, ground allspice, ground seven spice, ground cinnamon, and salt. Mix them in really well.
Add in an egg and breadcrumbs and use your hand to mix everything together.
Peel and slice the potatoes and onion into thin circles. Slice the bell pepper and tomatoes. Half bake the potatoes in the oven at 400 ℉ (205 ℃) for about 20 minutes. Optional: roast the sliced onion and bell pepper with the potatoes.
Grease a baking dish with some oil. Place the kafta mix in the middle of it and use your hand to start spreading it all across. Leave some space around the meat to place the vegetables on the outside edges.
Next, start placing the vegetables around the meat. Start with the onions, bell pepper, potatoes, and top with the sliced tomatoes.
Mix the tomato paste with water and pour it all over the dish covering the meat and the vegetables with the liquid.
Bake the kafta bil sanieh at 350 ℉ (180 ℃) for about an hour or until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are fully roasted.
Tips and Tricks
- Half cook the potatoes before adding them to the dish. The potatoes require more time to cook, so this step is necessary.
- Adjust the amount of vegetables based on your preferences. I like to add more tomatoes than onions and peppers but you can do the opposite or choose to use an equal amount of them all. You can also choose to omit one of the vegetables if you don't have them on hand (not the tomatoes though, they're amazing in this recipe).
Variations and Substitutions
- Kafta and potato stew: The same exact ingredients but as a stew. In this variation of the dish the kafta is rolled into meatballs and cooked in a pot with the tomato paste. Cubed potatoes are added in alongside any other vegetables being used.
- Kafta patties: In Lebanon, a lot of people make the same exact kafta bil sanieh but don't spread the kafta across the oven dish and opt to make round or long shaped kafta patties instead. Check out this baked chicken kafta pattie recipe.
- Oven baking dish: To bake the kafta and potatoes.
- Chef's knife and cutting board: To chop all of the vegetables.
- Measuring cups: To mix the sauce in and pour it over the vegetables.
- Glass mixing bowls: To make the kafta meat mix.
Store kafta bil sanieh in the fridge in an airtight container. This recipe does not freeze well.
In the kafta stew version, the vegetables are not roasted and the potato isn't usually half-cooked. Also, kafta stew is prepared on the stovetop whereas baked kafta is prepared in the oven.
Serve baked kafta and potatoes, aka kafta bil sanieh, on a bed of Lebanese vermicelli rice (that's the best answer). Some people also like to serve some hummus alongside this dish because it pairs really well with the kafta.
Make the kafta meat mixture with ground lamb or ground beef (or both), chopped parsley, chopped onions, minced garlic, and spices like allspice, Lebanese seven spices, and ground cinnamon.