Olive oil dishes or “Zeytinyagli yemekler” are common dishes in Turkey. Most often these dishes are vegetarian or vegan and feature fresh, seasonal products.. Turkish cooking is a celebration of the seasonality of the region and bringing people together with good food. Olive oil dishes are often made at home and kept in the refrigerator for the family to enjoy throughout the week. Here are some must-try olive oil dishes from Turkey!
1. Pirasa - Leeks
Leeks are lightly cooked often with carrots, until sweet and soft. Then the leeks are preserved in olive oil and lemon juice. Leeks can be cooked with rice for a more filling meal. This dish is a great way to celebrate leeks, often underused in other cuisines.
2. Kabak Cicegi Dolmasi - Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are typically found in spring and summer when the fruit is flowering. The delicate flowers are stuffed with flavoured rice and then cooked until soft. These “dolma” are a light, refreshing summer treat. Best eaten with fresh lemon juice, they will leave the plate very quickly indeed. These delicious, fresh rolls are typically found throughout the Aegean region, especially in spring and summer when zucchinis are blossoming.
3. Taze Fasulye - Green Beans
Green beans are clipped and cleaned before being cooked in a garlicky tomato sauce and preserved in olive oil. The beans take on the sweetness of the onion and tomato sauce, giving the dish a comforting richness.
4. Ispanak Koku - Spinach Stems
Turkey produces bunches and bunches of thick, delicious spinach. You’ll notice shocks of deep green leaves clustered together at markets and fruit sellers. This dish is made with the stems of young spinach, it is light, crunchy and flavourful. The stems are thoroughly cleaned before being cooked with garlic, onion, olive oil and lemon juice. Eaten cold, this is the perfect dish for a light yet nutritious bite.
5. Bamya - Okra
Bamya is commonly seen throughout Turkish Cuisine. Also featured in stews, this unique vegetable is often cooked with garlic in a light tomato and onion sauce. Cooked just so, bamya is a dish renowned throughout Turkey for its fresh taste.
6. Biber Dolmasi - Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed green peppers are a common sight on the Turkish dinner table. Plump green peppers are cored and then filled with a delicious fragrant rice mixture before being cooked in a rich tomato broth, adding a sweet lightness to the dish. Biber Dolma can be enjoyed on its own or with lashings of thick yoghurt and spices.
7. Bakla - Green Broad Beans
The broad bean is a highly versatile legume. Broad beans are very similar to green beans. When dried, the beans can be ground down to make fava, a delectable meze dish found throughout Turkey at any time of the year. When making a fresh broad bean dish, the beans are cooked very simply in salted boiling water, allowing the flavour and texture of the bean to be the star of the show. Served preserved in olive oil with sprigs of dill and a side of garlic or plain yoghurt, Bakla is a delicious, fresh olive oil dish that can only be found in Turkey.