Turkey being located on one of the most fertile parts of the world hosts thousands of plant species. It is easy to find fresh and tasty vegetarian dishes in Turkey. I always have to know restaurants where you can get many vegetarian options. I know them not because I am a tour guide, I know them because my beloved wife Valeriya is vegetarian too 😊
I tried to compile a list of some great vegetarian dishes which can be found in Turkey. I hope one day we can try all of them one by one together. Enjoy the list. See you soon, Hasan Gülday
10 Great Turkish Vegetarian Dishes
Piyaz is best eaten in Antalya’s Kepez district. Piyaz is a nice compromise between a salad and a dish. It is basically boiled beans mixed with fresh onions and sesame paste! I know it sounds like a ”weird” combination but believe me you will love it❤️.
There is a whole subcategory of Turkish cuisine which is called ”zeytin yagli” dishes. This term can be translated as ”Olive oil using dishes”. Shakshuka is the king of this category. You take some semi peeled eggplants and semi fry them. Later you add some fresh tomatoes, garlic and pepper in the mix and go on frying in a small amount of olive oil. The final result is remarkable.
Antakya city of Turkey which is known for tasty pomegranate hosts the best kisir restaurants. Kisir is made by boiling Turkish bulgur wheat like you cook rice. Then you mix boiled wheat with finely shredded lettuce, mint, tomatoes and finally pomegranate molasses.
Mercimek (Lentil) Kofte
This pattie is very similar to cig kofte, a dish I mentioned in another article. Lentils should be placed in the water for one day. Then you boil them. After your lentil cools down you mix it with garlic, parsley and lettuce in the blender. After your mix is cold, you can make patties. Lentil pattie is best served in big lettuce leaves.
Sarma (Stuffed Vine Leaves)
Sarma is one of the superstars of Turkish cuisine. Stuffed vine leaves can be found all around Turkey but the best is cooked in the Ephesus region since we have the best vineyards. Semi boiled vine leaves are stuffed with rice and boiled for 20 minutes. Rice gets cooked in the leaves. This gives a unique taste to the rice. You can be in Turkey for 5 hours while you are on a cruise or you might be having a mega fifteen days tour around Turkey, You never leave without trying stuffed vine leaves.
Gozleme (Turkish Pancake)
When the word pancake is mentioned many people might think about breakfast. Here in Turkey, we like to go big when it comes to cooking! Turkish pancake is about 30 centimeters in diameter and we stuff it with various different ingredients before baking. The most popular stuffings are cheese, eggplant, spinach and potato. You should try gozleme if you need a quick snack in Turkey.
Kuru fasulye is a classic in Turkey. This dish goes best with some bulgur rice and bitter onions. Kuru means dried and fasulye means white beans in Turkish. Dried white beans hard-boiled for two hours then mixed with olive oil and tomato sauce is how kuru fasulye is made. It is the cheapest and easiest to find dish in Turkey. I strongly recommend you to try boiled white beans in Turkey.
The word ”Kebab” mostly confuses people. Kebab is not a dish. Kebab is a whole family of dishes and there is a great kebab variety. You can easily order vegetarian kebab in any restaurant in Turkey where they serve meat kebab. They will season veggies in kebab sauce and grill it for you. You can still have the spicy / chili taste of kebab without having a single piece of meat.
Fava Bean Paste
Fava beans grow in Turkey and they are loved by Turkish people. Turks like to boil fava beans and smash them. We later add some parsley, garlic and lot of olive oil into the paste. The end result is an astonishing taste that you can put on lovely bread slices.
Sigara boregi is a type of a deep-fried roll with cheese stuffing. Be careful when you see them. Caramelized taste of pastry and warm melted cheese is hypnotic! It is impossible to stop eating it! 👿