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Homemade Kibble
(In just an hour!)
Recipie, Dog Pita

This great kibble recipe is from the new cookbook, Dinner for Dogs by Henrietta Morrison. She is the founder of Lily’s Kitchen, a popular pet food company in the UK. She believes in proper food for dogs, and Lily, her Border Terrier, is her chief taster. See an interview with Henrietta as well.
This is a great dish as all of the ingredients, except the turkey, are cooked in one pot. 
You could, of course, just serve this as a stew, but I love the idea of being able to make your own kibble. It takes about an hour, but it’s very easy and also very empowering to make a food that has always been a bit of an industry secret.

Turkey is great as it’s very low in fat and very digestible, which makes it useful for dogs who are allergic to the usual protein sources—lamb, beef and chicken. Turkey is also handy as it’s readily available ground.

This is also a good hypoallergenic recipe that is free of wheat. You’ll notice I haven’t included peas, which always seem to be part of a dog’s menu these days. Peas can be hard to digest for some dogs and therefore can make them gassy.

  • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon (200 g) brown rice
  • ½ cup (100 g) lentils
  • 5 cups (1¼ liters) water
  • 3 medium carrots (200 g), peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato (200 g), scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped, or ½ cup (100 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup (100 g) steel-cut oats
  • 1¼ tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2¼ cups (500 g) ground turkey, about 18 ounces
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) olive, sunflower or canola oil, plus additional oil for greasing

Put the rice and lentils into a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.

Once the rice and lentils are cooked, add the chopped carrots, sweet potato and apple to the saucepan. Stir in the oats and chopped herbs and gently simmer for 20 minutes more. Add an extra cup of water if the mixture is too dry. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a separate frying pan. You will need to keep stirring it while it is cooking to prevent it from sticking to the pan as it is very low in fat. It will take about 10 minutes to cook through.

Put half the cooked vegetable and grain mixture into a food processor with half the cooked turkey, add half the oil and pulse until the mixture resembles a thick purée.

Grease 2 cookie sheets and spread the mixture onto one of the sheets so that it is about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. The mixture will spread slightly so leave a bit of room for this. It is important that the mixture is not too thick because it will prohibit the kibble from cooking through.

Repeat as above using the second cookie sheet and the remaining ingredients.

Place both cookie sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the kibble over so that it dries through, and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. You should have what looks like two very large cookies. Make sure the kibble is completely cooked through, as any moist bits will get moldy after a couple of days. If it is not fully dried out, leave it in the oven for 20 minutes more.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C. Remove the “kibble cookies” from the oven, cool slightly and cut them into small pieces. Place the pieces back onto the cookie sheets and bake for an additional hour, or until the kibble is completely dried (but not burnt).

Remove the kibble from the oven and let cool completely. It should resemble pieces of broken pita bread. 
It will keep in the fridge for 10 days.
Per 4 ounces (100 g)
Calories: 365
Protein: 20%
Fat: 9%

This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 75: Fall 2013

Recipe from Dinner for Dogs: 50 Home-Cooked Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Dog, © Henrietta Morrison, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

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Submitted by Cassandra Childs | August 14 2013 |

This sounds good and fun to make, but in my experience brown rice won't be cooked in 20 minutes in a saucepan, even though the lentils will. Is it the intention to leave the rice kind of crunchy?
Also, why can't some of the oil be used in browning the turkey, since you are adding the oil in anyway?

Submitted by Rosalinda | August 14 2013 |

Why peel the vegetables and apple. Are not a lot of nutrients lost once the skin is removed. Why not just scrub well and not peel.

Sounds like a yummy recipe, however.

Submitted by danielle kovack | August 12 2014 |

Peels on vegetables and fruits are very difficult for pets to digest. Most vegetables still have many nutrients without their peel, fruit is a little different depending on which ones.

Submitted by Donelle | August 15 2013 |

Not for nothing, but we all know grain-free is the healthiest for dogs. All the science points to this (and common sense in my opinion considering when was the last time you saw a wild dog running through and eating up things they see in rice patties/wheat fields/oat plant fields???). I wish we could get a great grain free version of homemade kibble. I'm wondering if you could cut out the oats and rice and replace with garbanzo bean flour? AND cut the cruddy oils like sunflower and canola (and olive oil bc it's not so healthy when heated at high temps for so long), and replace with part olive/part coconut oil?

Submitted by Terri Martin | April 11 2014 |

I believe you probably can use garbanzo been flour or any other grain free flour. I make dog treats and many of my recipes say the whole wheat flour can be switched out to a grain free alternative. My dog seems to like when I use brown rice flour for her treats. I think it's because it makes the treats super crunchy.

Submitted by Liz B | August 15 2013 |

Great points on the previous 2 comments! What can be used instead of rice? My dogs don't handle rice that well. And is there a way to make this grain-free?

Submitted by Andrea Cartwright | April 3 2014 |

Today I saw a chef making a rice-free risotto and his substitute for rice was cauliflower. Just put the raw cauliflower in the food processor and process till it's about the size of grains of rice or a bit bigger. Worth trying I guess.

Submitted by Dmoya | August 16 2013 |

Sounds good...maybe the book has other options for dogs with digestive problems...dogs in wild only lived a few years!!

Submitted by Lucy | April 17 2014 |

...you are so right. Like people, dogs are now living much longer lives. I try and make all her dog food but sometimes I cannot.... its strange but the dog we had when I was a child ate the same dry food with table scraps and bones and lived a long life... but now I am scared of store bought dog food; bones; you name it. Its so much more stressful owning and feeding a dog these days. My parents had a hard time finding money for our food let alone our beloved dog.

Submitted by Dezi | August 20 2013 |

This is one of the better homemade kibble recipes I have seen, most of them use wheat or corn meal. Yuk. For those of you who want a grain free version, or want to cut cooking time, make this with lentils or garbanzo beans, coconut oil and don't bake it. Just feed the cooked mash :) My dogs like it better that way... actually they like it all raw.

Submitted by Szabo | August 31 2013 |

My dogs love it. Now that I've made it as the recipe describes I've made it again and this time skipped cooking the turkey, added that to the cooled cooked rice/fruit/veggie mix and used a dehydrator to finish it. I'm fine with canola oil for the omega 3's it gives my dogs. I add other veggies I find in the fridge, too--my dogs eat cauliflower and green beans and I've used that in the mix. I'm so glad you shared this recipe! Thanks!

Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | September 4 2013 |

I liked that you used a dehydrator for this, can you tell me what temperature you used and for how long? I just got a dehydrator and am anxious to start to use it.

Submitted by Szabo | June 17 2014 |

eek! Sorry to have missed your question! Meats get dehydrated at 165--or the highest setting your unit offers.

My brother just mentioned his dog food doubled in price so I referred him to this recipe and found your question...very late! Hope you're having fun with your dehydrator.

Submitted by Szabo | September 11 2013 |

I love this recipe. The lentils and rice continue to cook with the fruit and veggie additions. I've added more/other dog-friendly stuff. I spread it onto sheets in large pancakes that can easily be turned when cooking it. Be careful, in the oven a lot of steam is released. I've made this 3x, now I combine everything and dehydrate it. Thank you. This has been a great addition to my collection. You are very generous to share.

Submitted by J | November 10 2013 |

I substitute quiona for rice & other grains in dog food… yup, they don't eat most grains in the wild (though they would eat corn on the cob - just not corn in cornmeal form). Rice & flour - even brown rice - are not nutritionally great but quiona is and is very high in protein. MDR for humans (I don't know dog) quinoa has:

9% niacin, 21% riboflavin, 52% folate, 29% iron, 14% potassium, 33% copper, average across essential amino acids of 47% & 16g dietary fiber.

Rice is 29%, 6%, 6%, 9%, 5%, 16%, 29% & 9g dietary fiber. Only place rice comes out on top is niacin.

So given the extra nutritionally bump, is I figure it is worth it.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 18 2013 |

The recipe appears to be good enough for me and my dog! :) A big THANK YOU to Henrietta Morrison. I'll have to put that book on my XMAS list.

I recall reading an article from January 23, 2013 from Nature (International weekly journal of science)entitled "Dog's dinner was key to domestication" by Ewen Callaway. People interested might enjoy reading it as much as I did:

Submitted by MJ | January 11 2014 |

I've made this recipe a few times and find if I cook the ground turkey in the saucepan first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, I can make it in just one pot. keeping it that simple helps me continue to cook for my dogs. I don't peel the potato, the apple or the carrots and I don't use the rolled oats, I just add more organic brown rice....my dogs love it

Submitted by elaine | September 14 2014 |

Hi. Do you also blend n bake it?

Submitted by Lana Harris | February 13 2014 |

I came late to this discussion; why use rosemary? Does anyone ever use ground beef? My Westie has major skin problems and I'm leery of turkey.

Submitted by Justin | March 30 2014 |

This is a really good recipe. I agree with the comment below, however. The peels of the apple contain a significant amount of nutritional value. I'd leave them in.

Submitted by Tanya | May 19 2014 |

would this recipe be worth trying with the amounts that a five dog family would need? We have a 9lb yorkie, a 35lb cattle dog mix, a 97lb lab, a 70lb lab mix and a 100 lb saint bernard akita mix. How much kibble would this recipe make just so I could try to multiple it up to the amounts I would need?

Submitted by Leo Rodriguez | May 25 2014 |

Food like this is exactly why vets are making money hand over fist these days. A carnivore allergic to lamb, beef and chicken but not rice (a grain)? Says who?

We humanize dogs to the point of causing them a great deal of harm and commit them to a life with less than optimum health.

The dog's digestive system has not changed in spite of domestication and will thrive on their ancestral diet of 'raw meat and bones'. This diet will boost your dog's immune system and will save you a great deal misery not to mention an enormous amount of money at the vet.

Please read the following articles if you wish to have a healthy and happy dog. Your dog deserves it.








Submitted by lindsay | July 28 2014 |

This recipe seems like an okay recipe however, I would cut back a little on the grains and some of the veggies and put in more meat. Dogs requires 60-80% of meat protein including muscle meat, organ meat, and even skin. Also, you don't want to cook at 350 degrees for that will burn out a lot of nutrients. I would cook on a nice low temperature and dehydrate the recipe to preserve the nutrients. :)

Submitted by Amanda | September 6 2014 |

I love how easy this recipe is! My Berner loves it and she has a super sensitive stomach.