Turkish cuisine is famous for having a lot of greasy, heavy, meaty meals, accompanied with a lot of different types of bread and pastries. Being vegetarian is not so common in Turkey, but still there are some traditional dishes that may not be so famous, but are suitable for vegetarians. In this article we will list for you some of those dishes.
Cig kofte is common Turkish street food. Although in original recipe it was made with raw minced meat and bulgur, this way of making it is today less applicable, and mostly people prepare it in this way on the south of Turkey. The way it is prepared today is with a mixture of bulgur with spices. The mixture is then eaten either in lavas bread with lemon juice, salat, nar sauce and spicy sauce, other vegetable can also be added like tomatoes, corn, parsley, pickles, etc. The other way of eating cig kofte is by putting it in lettuce leaf, wrapping it, also with addition of lemon juice, nar (pomegranate) sauce and spicy sauce.
Sarma is homemade dish made out of mixture of rice, onion and spices putted in grape leaves and then rolled. Sarma on Turkish means wrapped. This specific type of sarma is called yaprak sarma (yaprak means leaf on Turkish). There is also variation of this dish with addition of minced meat inside.
Very similar like sarma, but this dish consist of stuffed vegetables. Dolma means stuffed in Turkish. Usually vegetables like zucchinis, peppers, eggplants are stuffed with the similar mixture as for sarma above.
Favorite street food and breakfast food, usually accompanied with ayran, is a simple pastry shaped in the form of pretzel with sesame seeds on the top. There are two varieties of simit: the milky one and the normal one. You can find this food in every bakery in Turkey and it is also sold on street stands.
This is a simple dish made out of either cooked bulgur or rice (pirinc). The grain is cooked with butter and addition of Şehriye, which is a type of pasta. This dish is common in household and as street food. It is often served as a side dish, but it can also be main meal. There is also variation with fasulye (beans) on the top of it.
This meal is some sort of bean stew/stewed bean. It is made with white beans, onions, olive oil, tomato paste or tomato sauce. It is often eaten with bulgur or pirinc pilav.
In Turkey almost every meal start with a soup. There are plenty types of Turkish corba, and the ones mostly consumed are withouth the meat. Mercimek corba is a soup based on lentils. It can be made from brown, red, yellow or black lentils. Dehulled yellow and red lentils disintegrate in cooking, making a thick soup. This type of corba is one of the favorite ones for Turkish people and the most consumed one. But there are plenty more types like:
Ezo Gelin soup which is made with red lentils, bulgur, rice, hot red pepper paste and dried mint.
Ayran corbasi– Ayran is traditional drink made with yoghurt, water and salt. This soup is It is a wholesome yoghurt soup cooked with chickpeas and barley.
This are just some of the most common types, but there are plenty more of them made with mushrooms, beans and yoghurt, etc.
This meal is prepared with whole eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and spices fried together in olive oil. It can be eaten with rice or bulgur. Imam Bayildi literally means “Imam fainted” and the name comes from the story that imams wife use all the olive oil to make this dish, which shocked the imam the first time and second time he was shocked when trying the meal and seeing how delicious it was.
Nohut means chickpeas on Turkish and this dish is characteristic for the city of Gaziantep on the south of the Turkey. Nohut dürüm is a savory wrap of mixed chickpeas and whole chickpeas in pita bread with addition of spices, onion, parsley and tomatoes.
Meze are considered as starters, appetizers and side dishes in Turkey. They can be eaten with kofte, drinked with raki or simply be eaten by themselves. There are many types of them such as:
Acili Ezme: this spicy appetizer is prepared from diced tomato, garlic, red bell pepper, and parsley. The dish goes well with bread, and you can also take it with grains like rice and white bulgur.
Haydari is a type of yogurt dish made from certain herbs and spices, combined with garlic and yogurt.
Muhammara or mhammara is a spicy dip made with red chili peppers.
Şakşuka/baba ghanoush-is consisted of roasted eggplants with with green peppers and tomatoes and doused in parsley, olive oil and tomato sauce.
Köpoğlu-this meze is made out of same vegetables as Şakşuka: eggplant, green peppers and tomatoes, but they are combined with a garlicky yogurt sauce
Patlıcan salatası– patlican means eggplant in Turkish language and this salat is consisted of smoked eggplant and roasted red peppers that are mixed together in a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
Havuç tarator– Sauteed grated carrots combined with garlic and yogurt, there is also version with zucchinies instead of carrots, in that case the meal is called “kabak borani,”
The list of meze can be continued endlessly, but this are the most popular ones.