Turkish cooking is actually very heavily vegetarian. There are a plethora of dishes that showcase the delicious, fresh, seasonal produce so widely available in Turkey. Many dishes show off produce from a particular area, while others are widely available throughout Turkey. Turkish food is often made in huge portions, this is because Turkish cooking is made to share with friends and family. Try these vegetarian dishes while you’re visiting - you won’t be disappointed!
1. Yaprak Sarma - Vine Leaf Rolls
Yaprak Sarma is basically vine leaves carefully wrapped around a mixture of rice, currants and sauteed onions. Yaprak Sarmas are hearty appetizers, available year-round. Best enjoyed with lemon juice drizzled over, the sour lemon bringing out the currant's delicate sweetness.
2. Enginar Kalbi - Artichoke Hearts
Artichokes are carefully peeled, leaving only their inner heart. Throughout the winter you’ll often see the peelers in grocery stores working furiously, bags of discarded leaves at their feet, their knives working tirelessly around the artichoke. The artichokes are then cooked to perfection and served with their olive oil and lemon juice preserve.
3. Barbunya - Pinto Beans
Barbunya is another classic Turkish kitchen sample. Made with pinto beans, this dish is filling, tasty and a true comfort food. Pinto beans are cream coloured beans flecked with pink. Cooked to perfection in an onion and tomato sauce, barbunya is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed on its own, with rice or as a meze. This true staple of Turkish cooking can be found in restaurants and homes across the country.
4. Cig Kofte - Bulgur Balls
Cig kofte can be a snack, an appetiser or a meal in its own right. Cig Kofte is bulgur that has been soaked in a richly spiced tomato sauce. The bulgur is clumped together and served with fresh crunchy lettuce leaves, pomegranate molasses and fresh lemon wedges. The crunchy lettuce and acidic lemon cut through the richly flavoured bulgur, lightening each bite.
5. Saksuka - Shakshuka
Saksuka is a dish that celebrates the staples of Turkish cuisine. Eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes are roasted and then covered in a rich tomato-onion sauce. Often served with yoghurt, Saksuka is a fresh, hearty meze or side dish for all to enjoy.
6. Mucver - Fritters
Mucver can be made out of most vegetables, however the most common are zucchini. The zucchini is grated and mixed with fresh dill and parsley before being mixed into a batter and fried. Mucver are delicious with yoghurt or white cheese.
7. Sigara Borek - Turkish Fried Feta Rolls
Turkish Fried Feta Rolls are perfect to be shared or eaten as a quick snack to satiate. Inside the crisp outer shell is a mixture of white cheese and fresh herbs. The salt of the cheese mingles with the satisfying crunch, leaving you wanting just one more, every time.