Turkish Winter Soup With Bulgur Gnocchi – A Vegetarian Recipe From The Delicious Istanbul Blog

Turkish Winter Soup With Bulgur GnocchiGnocchi or kofteh? I’d always thought of kofteh as meatballs of one kind or another. But in this recipe, I discovered that a dumpling may go by that name too. And how delicious the dumplings – gnocchi – or kofteh are. Based on bulgur and seasoned with spices and herbs, the little hand-rolled mouthfuls cook in a lentil and chickpea soup. The result is a spicy, stick-to-your-ribs main dish that’s perfect for the chilly evenings coming up as autumn meets winter. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a reader were to cook it in a solar cooker like this one?

We’re very much in favor of grain and pulse-based soups, here on Green Prophet: like the Moroccan Wheat Soup or the Lebanese Lentil Soup. This Turkish soup is only one of the many intriguing dishes found on the  fabulous Delicious Istanbul blog, authored by Olga Irez. Thanks to Olga for permission to publish her recipe and photo here on Green Prophet.

Ultimate Winter Soup with Turkish Bulgur Gnocchi (Topalak Çorbası)

Shared by: deliciousistanbul

Prep 20 Min

Cook1 Hr 20 Min

Total1 Hr 40 Min

Serving: 6


  • 1/2 cup very fine bulgur içli köflelıik, may be replaced with semolina
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp red bell pepper paste replace with tomato paste if not available
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 1/3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 tsp dry mint
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour + 1/2 tbsp more for shaping
  • 4 tbsp butter (or margarine or olive oil if you are vegan)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup leeks green part only (replace with other vegetable of choice)
  • 1/2 cup chard stems finely chopped (replace with other vegetable of choice)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red pepper paste
  • 10 cups water / stock hot
  • 1/2 cup green lentil PRE-cooked (simmered in plenty of water for 20 min)
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked for 2 hours)
  • 1 tsp dry mint
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses or lemon juice


Prepare bulgur gnocchi (köfte) dough: In a large mixing bowl combine very fine bulgur and boiling water. Set aside for the bulgur to puff up as you handle the rest of the preparation (chopping etc). In 15-20 min add the rest of the ingredients to the bulgur and knead well until the dough comes together – it will still be a bit sticky so just dust the dough ball with a bit of flour.

Shape bulgur gnocchi (köfte): Prepare a tray and sieve in additional 1/2 tbsp flour: this is where you will be releasing your perfectly shaped bulgur gnocchi-köfte. Now divide the dough into 4 parts: take one part to a clean flat surface and with your hands roll it into a log – index finger thick. Cut into 0.5 cm (0.2 inch) wide pieces. Dust your hands with flour and one after one roll the pieces into small balls – size of a hazelnut or a large chickpea. Release the ready balls into the and continue making the gnocchi/köfte until the dough finishes. Now toss the tray energetically (back-forth; back-forth): the gnocchi/köfte will be sliding back and forth and getting completely covered in the flour. Set aside. Congratulation – the harder part is over!

Prepare the the soup: Simmer the onions in the butter until translucent (3-5 min), add garlic (I love using unpeeled cloves), leeks and chard stems and cook until the vegetables soften slightly and the moisture evaporates (5 min). Then stir in the tomato an pepper pastes and let them caramelize (about 2-3 min). Now add the hot water / warmed up stock, bring to boil and add the cooked green lentils. Let simmer covered on high heat so the lentils start falling apart (30 min). Add the bulgur kofte, cooked chickpeas and seasonings; reduce heat to medium and let simmer covered until the köfte are soft and cooked inside (30 min, or try and you will know for sure).

Note: If you reduce the servings skip the egg altogether and reduce amount of flour used. Skipping the egg will make the recipe pure vegan and replacing butter with vegetable oil will make the recipe vegan friendly.

You’ll enjoy these additional Turkish recipes:

:: Delicious Istanbul Blog

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