Kafta bil sanieh, or kafta bil saniyeh, is oven-baked kafta with potatoes, tomato slices, 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.
Kafta is the Lebanese version of meatballs. I guess you could also compare it to American meatloaf. This flavorful kafta is hearty, and delicious- you are going to what to lick the plate. Check out another great baked Lebanese meat dish called baked stuffed kibbeh.
What I Love About This Recipe
My favorite thing about this Lebanese kafta recipe is the textures and flavors. They perfectly blend with the meat and rice pilaf to create a mesmerizing culinary experience. This delicious Lebanese baked casserole is a well-balanced meal the whole family will love. It reheats beautifully too!
- Kafta minced meat: Kafta is a meat mixture made of minced lamb or minced beef mixed with chopped onion, parsley, and a medley of Middle Eastern spices. For kafta bil sanieh, add an egg and breadcrumbs 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. Use russet potatoes, golden potatoes, or any white potato.
- Tomato: Use any tomato: Roma, tomato on the vine, heirloom, etc.
- Onion: Use white onion, sweet onion, or yellow onion.
- Fresh parsley: Use curly leaf or Italian flat leaf parsley.
- 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 large mixing bowl. Add 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 meat mixture in the middle and use your hand to spread it all across the bottom of the baking dish. 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, green peppers (bell pepper), and potato slices. Top with 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 with the tomato broth in a preheated oven at 350 ℉ (180 ℃) for about an hour. Remove the meat and the vegetables from the oven when they are fully roasted.
Serve with white vermicelli rice.
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 hearty 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, many people make the same kafta bil sanieh but don't spread the kafta across the oven dish and opt to make round or long-shaped kafta patties instead. For another variation of these Lebanese meat patties, check out this baked chicken kafta pattie recipe.
- Kafta kabobs are delicious skewered kabobs. Serve kafta kabobs alongside toum garlic sauce, hummus, tarator, and pita bread.
- Use lean ground beef to make this lighter.
- 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.
Recipes By Mariam
Join The Tribe
Kafta Bil Sanieh - Baked Kafta and Potatoes
- 2.2 lbs ground lamb or beef
- 2 medium-sized onions chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic minced or mashed
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon Lebanese 7 spices
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 egg
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
Kafta and Potato Bake:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 large potatoes peeled, sliced into rounds, and half baked in the oven
- 4 large tomatoes sliced into rounds
- 1 green pepper sliced into rounds
- 1 large onion sliced into rounds
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 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 the egg and breadcrumbs. Mix well again. Set the kafta mixture aside.
- Peel and slice the potatoes into thin circles. Half bake the potatoes in the oven at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) for about 20 minutes.
- Peel and slice the onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes.
- Grease the oven dish with oil. Spread the kafta mixture across the dish but leave some space around it. Fill the space with the potatoes, tomato slices, green pepper, and onion slices.
- Mix the tomato paste with water and pour enough to cover all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the kafta bil sanieh at 350 ℉ (180 ℃) for about an hour.
- Use either ground lamb, ground beef, or a mixture of both. The recommended fat content is around 85%.
- It's optional to roast the sliced onions and bell peppers when half-baking the potatoes.