Simply Lebanese

Arayes Kafta

Arayes Kafta
  • Prep Time
    10 mins
  • Cook Time
    10 mins
  • Serving
    4
Arayes kafta are quick and easy Lebanese sandwiches which consist of fresh kafta spread thin into pitabread and baked until crispy. This cheesy spin to arayes adds a delightful combination of salty akawi cheese and mozzarella to elevate these sandwiches to the next level.
Arayes Kafta

An effortless meal, Arayes Kafta are kid-friendly Lebanese sandwiches. Kafta is a Lebanese ground beef kebob. In other countries in the Middle-east, it is more known as kofta. Ground beef is combined with chopped parsley and onions along with some spices.

There are a few different ways kafta is served. It is often grilled in the summertime or, another very popular way, is in a casserole with potatoes in a tomato-based sauce and served with Lebanese vermicelli rice.

I have fond memories as a child of my mother making these sandwiches for me and my siblings for lunch or, as a quick dinner with “leftover” kafta. My mother would either be making kafta bi soneye or preparing kafta for a family barbeque. She would put some kafta aside to make these grilled sandwiches as a quick lunch for me and my siblings. Arayes Kafta are very kid-friendly sandwiches as I loved them growing up and so do my children. They are delicious eaten with plain yogurt on the side.

Cheesy Kafta?

The last time I was visiting Lebanon, me and my husband went out to dinner with some family and friends in Beirut. Our friends ordered these Arayes Kafta with cheese. I had only ever eaten them plain so, I was very excited and pleased with the cheesy version of these. I knew I had to try and recreate these when I got back home.

Manakeesh
Akawi Cheese

Akawi cheese is a Lebanese salty white cheese. It is the cheese used when making manakeesh and cheese rolls. Since akawi is quite salty, I like to soak it for a bit before shredding to remove some of the saltiness. I also add mozzarella with the akawi to tame the saltiness a bit. Mozzerella also gives the Arayes Kafta the cheesy pull factor that akawi does not provide on its own.

If you are not able to find akawi cheese, queso blanco is a great substitute. You could also use just mozzarella cheese on its own.

Type of Bread

These sandwiches are traditionally made using pita bread. However, tortillas are a great substitute for pita bread. In this recipe, you will see I made them using both pita bread and multi-grain tortillas. You could use your favorite tortilla bread, I just happened to have multigrain on hand. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you could even substitute gluten-free tortilla bread. You could think of these Arayes Kafta as kafta quesadillas!

Arayes Kafta on Griddler

These cheesy Arayes kafta can be made in the oven on a flat tray or on a griddler. Keep in mind because the meat is raw going in, it will release a bit of liquid as it cooks through.

STEP 1

Soak the akawi cheese in a medium-sized bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.

Pat dry using a paper towel and shred using a large box grater. Add the shredded mozzarella and mix to combine.

STEP 2

Open up the pita and add about ½ cup of kafta and spread it out on one side of the pita (or tortilla) for an even layer of filling. 

Arayes Kafta
Arayes Kafta

Sprinkle ½ cup of the cheese mixture over the meat.

Arayes Kafta

Place and additional tortilla on top and cover over the half pita.

STEP 3

BakingArrange the arayes on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray the top pita (or tortilla) with non-stick spray (I used avocado oil spray).

Bake for 10 minutes on 375 until the kafta is fully cooked and cheese has melted.

Using a GriddlerStart out on medium heat for the first 6-7 minutes until the meat is almost cooked through. Then, cook on high heat for the last few minutes to crisp up the bread.

STEP 4

Arayes Kafta

Cut the arayes kafta into triangles or in half. Enjoy!

Arayes Kafta
Arayes Kafta

Arayes Kafta

Arayes kafta are quick and easy Lebanese sandwiches which consist of fresh kafta spread thin into pitabread and baked until crispy. This cheesy spin to arayes adds a delightful combination of salty akawi cheese and mozzarella to elevate these sandwiches to the next level.
4.50 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: arayes, kafta, pita bread, sandwiches, tortillas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 576kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Kafta
  • 1 cup Akawi Cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 sm. Pita Bread or 8 tortillas
  • Non-Stick Spray

Instructions

  • Soak the akawi cheese in a medium-sized bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
    Pat dry using a paper towel and shred using a large box grater. Add the shredded mozzarella and mix to combine.
  • Open up the pita and add about ½ cup of kafta and spread it out on one side of the pita (or tortilla) for an even layer of filling.
    Sprinkle ½ cup of the cheese mixture over the meat and cover with the other half of the pita (or tortilla). Place and additional tortilla on top and cover over the halfpita.
  • Arrange the arayes on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray the top with non-stick spray (I used avocado oil spray).
    Bake for 10 minutes on 375 until the kafta is fully cooked and cheese has melted.
    *If using a griddler, start out on medium for the first 6-7 minutes until the meat is almost cooked through, then cook on high for the last few minutes to crisp up.
  • Cut the arayes kafta into triangles or in half. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.2g | Protein: 42.3g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1361mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Christine

      These look amazing. I will have to try this recipe soon!

      • Iman

        Thanks!! It’s delicious!

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