Armenian Red Lentil Balls - Vospov Kheyma Recipe

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3 votes | 14693 views

Traditionally, Kheyma is a made with meat (raw beef patty). However, during Lent many Armenians prefer Vospov Kheyma as a vegetarian alternative. Our friends the Bedrosians brought these over as an appetizer last night. He said it was a bit spicier than his mother usually made, but we all thought they were perfect. If you want less of a kick, dial back the cayenne. If you've never tried these before - and if you aren't Armenian or Turkish you probably haven't - you're in for a real treat. As Brian would say, "They are fantastic!"

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 6


Cost per serving $0.52 view details
  • 1 cup red or yellow lentils (our family always used red)
  • 2 large yellow onions finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley – chopped (I used about ½ a bunch)
  • 4 – green onions – chopped
  • ½ stick butter
  • ½ cup veg. oil
  • 2 ½ cups water (or chicken broth)
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 Cup bulghour (fine or medium – I used #4)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook lentils in water(broth) for 1-1.5 hours our until very soft (no salt, uncovered)
  2. Sauté onions on oil and butter until transluscent
  3. Drain excess water from lentils, if any. In a large bowl, mix lentils, onions, bulghour and spices gently with a spoon. Cover and let stand 15 mins. (if mixture is soft, you can add more bulghour and the additional water here)
  4. If desired, you can add half the green onions and parsley to the mix before shaping or serving
  5. Use approx. ¼ cup of mix to form small balls or rolls about 1 inch thick. As you can see from the picture, I rolled them into longer rolls and then cut them into about 2 inch lengths.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining green onion and parsley on top for a garnish.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 203g
Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories 361  
Calories from Fat 232 64%
Total Fat 26.28g 33%
Saturated Fat 6.27g 25%
Trans Fat 0.47g  
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Potassium 385mg 11%
Total Carbs 23.7g 6%
Dietary Fiber 10.7g 36%
Sugars 2.6g 2%
Protein 8.91g 14%
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  • Nancy Miyasaki
    This was just amazing. I had two left over pieces this morning for a make shift breakfast, and they were just as delicious as last night. The combination of lentils and bulgur provides a nice hearty texture. Healthy and delicious!
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!


    • Mary
      January 22, 2016
      I'm so looking forward to making this. I haven't had it in over thirty years and I love it!

      Question...what are the curious As with the little symbol on top mean?
      Should I just ignore those?
      • ShaleeDP
        March 13, 2013
        A lentil recipe that i may be able to recreate. Thanks for sharing. I really want to try to make a good lentil dish soon.
        • Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe
          March 12, 2013
          I was never a big lentil fan growing up - except in soup, so I never got around to making these until last year sometime, but they really are awesome!! I haven't had actual Kheyma since I was a kid. I sometimes wonder if this was the "poor man's version," or maybe an alternative they came up with during Lent, etc.
          1 reply
          • Nancy Miyasaki
            March 15, 2013
            Yes, this is an alternative they came up with during Lent. Possibly a money saver too...but I think more of a Lenten alternative.
          • Debbie
            March 12, 2013
            can you use Quinoa as a substitute for the bulgur? I grew up on this kind of food.. my Mom's side of the family is 100% Armenian.
            1 reply
            • Nancy Miyasaki
              March 15, 2013
              I'm not sure Debbie. Quinoa has a pretty different texture so I'm not sure it would work. If you give it a try...let me know as I'm definitely curious!

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