Traditional vegetarian Turkish food is not only delicious but also healthy and flavorful. During my visits to Turkey, I was able to try some traditional Turkish foods – but just vegetarian or meat-free ones, for sure. The probably most known Turkish food is the Kebab. Invented as Döner Kebap (bread filled with Kebab) in Berlin, the traditional Kebap is served on a plate – meat and salad with sauce and spices. But, the Turkish cuisine has so much more to offer. Read on what traditional vegetarian Turkish foods and dishes will await you on a trip to Turkey.
Traditional Vegetarian Turkish Food
With a history spanning over 500 years, Turkish cuisine has been influenced by a diverse range of cultures and traditions, making it one of the most unique and varied cuisines in the world. Here are some of the most popular vegetarian Turkish dishes:
Dolma is a stuffed vegetable dish that can be made with peppers, zucchini, eggplants, or grape leaves. The filling is usually made with rice, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices.
Imam Bayildi is a classic Turkish vegetarian dish that is made with eggplants stuffed with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers, and baked in the oven. It’s usually served with rice or bread.
Hummus is a popular dip made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It’s usually served as an appetizer with pita bread or vegetables or with Falafel.
Borek or Börek is a savoury pastry that can be filled with cheese, spinach, or potatoes. It’s usually served as a snack or breakfast food.
Ezogelin soup is a popular hearty soup made with red lentils, bulgur wheat, onions, tomatoes, and spices. It’s usually served with a dollop of yoghurt on top.
Fasulye is a vegetarian dish made with white beans, onions, tomatoes, and spices. It’s usually served with rice or bread.
Pide is a Turkish flatbread that can be filled with cheese, vegetables, or meat. It’s usually served with a side of salad or yoghurt and spicy red sauce (Muhammara), as pictured above and below. This cheese Pide was enjoyed in Antalya.
Cacik is a refreshing yoghurt-based dip that’s made with cucumber, garlic, and herbs. It’s usually served as a side dish with meat or vegetables. It has similarities with the Greek Tsatsiki dip.
Simit is a traditional Turkish bread that’s shaped like a ring and covered in sesame seeds. It’s usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
Turkish cuisine offers a wide variety of delicious vegetarian dishes that are sure to satisfy any palate. Whether you’re in the mood for stuffed vegetables, savoury pastries, hearty soups, or refreshing dips, there’s something for everyone in Turkish cuisine. Don’t be shy and ask for meat-free options, if you can’t pin out one specific one on a menu in a Restaurant or at a street vendor cart. The Turkish people are always happy to help and satisfy customers.