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Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

4 to 6 Servings

1½ hours 1 hour active, plus cooling

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It’s easy to see why kafta bil sanieh, a casserole, if you will, of sliced potatoes, rounds of tomatoes and flavorful kafta (seasoned meatballs or meat patties), is Lebanese comfort food. The ingredients are shingled into a baking dish and baked until the flavors meld and the textures become deliciously succulent and tender. Our rendition, based on a recipe from “The Palestinian Table” by Reem Kassis, starts with a simple no-cook tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, where juices collect during baking and form a delicious sauce. To ensure the potatoes cook evenly and thoroughly, we precook them by roasting them for about 10 minutes, enough time to begin making the kafta. We especially like the flavor of ground lamb kafta, but if you prefer, use 80 percent lean ground beef instead. Serve with rice pilaf.

4 to 6



Don’t overmix the meat mixture or the kafta will cook up with a firm, bouncy texture. Using a light hand when mixing and shaping will keep the kafta tender. The patties don’t need to be perfectly round, but do try to keep them about ¼ inch thick, as they’ll puff a little when baked. And if one or two (or a few) fall apart while you layer the ingredients into the baking dish, not to worry—gently smoosh the patties back together.

1½ hours

1 hour active, plus cooling


  • 1

    pound Yukon Gold potatoes, not peeled, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

  • 2

    tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided


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Dominic D.
August 31, 2023
Can you assemble the traybake the day before?
Cyndy R.
August 29, 2023
Easy to make. Incredibly tasty.
Jennifer B.
May 21, 2023
So delicious!
This wonderful, easy on the eyes and great flavor.
Heather H.
October 24, 2022
Simple and delicious
We made this with fresh garden produce and like other reviewers, I reduced the olive oil, just drizzled some on top. It was so tender and flavorful! Sauteed some small red chili slices for extra heat and served those on the side. Will make again.
Tricia S.
May 27, 2023
Rich flavors but not roast-y like the photo
I did make this with lamb, and I found that one pound of Roma tomatoes was too much. I layered the contents per the recipe and only needed about 2/3 of a lb of Romas. The results were soupy, not like the photo, with so much crushed tomato as the base, but delicious. I roasted extra garlic cloves(4) with the potatoes and stirred the roasted garlic, mashed, into the crushed tomatoes because I don't like raw garlic. I cut back on the olive oil to drizzle. (FYI: drain the liquid out of the grated onion. Super wet.) Excellent flavors but not the crusty, speckled roast portrayed in the photo.
Tatiana R.

This was really good. Somehow, it was exactly the right amount of everything to have 4 neat rows in the baking dish. I actually used a smaller baking dish because the 9x13'' one was already in use, but it all fit anyway! I was at first skeptical about the amount of tomato sauce, but I followed the instructions, and it was great. I served it with garlic tahini sauce, by the way - it was a great combo, IMO.

Tatiana R.

Instead of mixing the single spices, I just used a Garam Masala mix I have, and I think it worked great. BTW, my mix only has the following ingredients: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and coriander. To my taste, allspice is close enough to clove (though not in the same proportion) that I think the substitution works.

William H.

In the ingredients list, it states: "1 medium yellow onion, halved and grated...". Do you mean to grate and use only half of the onion (which I would have worded as: "1/2 medium yellow onion, grated..."), or to halve, grate, and use the whole onion? Thank you!

Lynn C.

Hi William -

You should halve and grate the whole onion. We recommend halving it to make it easier to grate.

The Milk Street Team

Wendy W.

Delicious and colorful! I regret that I only made half a recipe because the two of us didn't have enough left over for a second meal. The green and red colors will be perfect for the holidays.

Diana L.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Michael Y.

This was very, very good though it was a little bit greasy for me. Next time, I might reduce the olive oil a little because the ground lamb releases a good bit of fat in the oven usually.

Diana L.

I have submitted my comment but for some reason it did not go through. It is very taste dish. You need more salt. It tastes alot better the next day. I did not think it had alot of fat. I used lamb.

Susan S.

My favorite dinners to make for company are the ones where there is little, or nothing, to do once they get here, and this recipe is perfect for that, it's easy to make and delicious. The only swap out I did was poblano chilis. A perfect 'company' meal.