Top 15 Turkish Vegan Dishes

Getting out of your comfort zone in terms of food, especially as a vegan, might be challenging in a country you have never been to before. Luckily, there are lots of vegan options in Turkey. Such that, you can be surprised by the number of vegan dishes, desserts, and snacks that you can find in Turkey that belong to Turkish cuisine.

Kısır

Kısır is a popular dish among vegans and non-vegans in Turkey, and you must try it out while you are in Turkey. It is a type of salad that contains brown rice, tomato paste, tomatoes, parsley, and garlic with oil. It can be eaten as a main course, yet you can see kısır served as an appetizer or a side dish.

Kısır is mostly consumed with lettuces, by putting kısır inside of a lettuce leaf and poorly wrapping it up. In addition to lettuces, kısır is mostly consumed with pickles or tomatoes, even though it has tomatoes inside of it. In some regions like Antakya, pomegranate syrup is added to kısır.

Kısır has a place in the Turkish culture as well. In Turkey, women meet with their friend groups in specific intervals. For example, in a group of 12 women, each month is assigned to a woman and in her mouth, she should accommodate his friends as a guest. Kısır is an important part of those meetings, insomuch so, sometimes these meetings are referred to as “kısır day”.

Green Beans with Olive Oil

Dishes with olive oil are pretty popular in Turkey, especially in the Aegean Region. Those dishes that contain olive oil are both delicious, healthy, and mostly vegan. Besides, it is not that hard to prepare green beans with olive oil which means that you can prepare them yourself as well. 

Green beans with olive oil include only green beans, onions, tomatoes, salt, and olive oil. There is a meaty version of green beans, so be careful that you highlighted the “with olive oil” part while you are ordering. Afiyet Olsun! 

Artichoke with Olive Oil

Recipes with olive oil in Turkey are the holy recipes for vegans, and artichoke is one of those recipes. Besides, artichoke with olive oil has a place among recipes with olive oil since it is very rich in terms of nutrition values. Artichoke is often grown in the springtime, which makes the springtime the best time of the year to eat an artichoke.

The ingredients in artichoke with olive oil could be listed as follows:

  • Artichoke
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Sarma (Stuffed Leaves)

Sarma, as known as stuffed leaves, is another part of the dishes with olive oil heaven of Turkey. Mostly, it is known as a dish to prepare at home, but you can find it in various restaurants, especially in restaurants with homemade themes. There are different types of sarma according to which type of leave is used.

Regardless of the type of leave used, sarma is made with a rice filling that is put inside of a leaf, and then the leaf is rolled thinly. Thinnes is an important feature of sarma since it is known that thinner sarmas taste better and not everyone can roll thin sarma, so it is a sign of talent. The following are some of the sarma types:

  • Stuffed grape leaves
  • Stuffed cherry leaves
  • Stuffed cabbage leaves
  • Stuffed collard green leaves

Kuru Fasulye (Turkish Stewed Bean Dish)

Kuru fasulye, as known as a Turkish stewed bean dish, is referred to as the “national dish of Turkey”. It is a popular food among people. Even though there are variations of kuru fasulye that are non-vegan, you can always find the vegan version of kuru fasulye. The main ingredients in kuru fasulye can be listed as follows:

  • White beans
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato
  • Onion

İmambayıldı

Imambayıldı is another vegan dish that belongs to Turkish cuisine, and its name is pretty funny since it means “the imam fainted”. Of course, there is a story behind that. It has been said that an imam who ate this dish loved the taste so much that he fainted, and the name of this dish remained as “the imam fainted”.

Basically, imambayıldı is eggplant stuffed with garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Of course, olive oil is added on top of those ingredients and then put in an oven

Vegan Turkish Pizzas

Turkish pizza refers to the pita with toppings, and there are vegan alternatives to those Turkish pizzas as well. There are various vegan Turkish pizza options with different ingredients. Besides, you can buy the ingredients to make a topping of your choice and then hand it out to a bakery and say you want to make “pide” with them (pide is pita in Turkish). The bakery will prepare it and give it to you.

Mashed Eggplant

Mashed eggplant is a popular side dish that you can see frequently on Turkish tables, and it is 100% vegan. Besides, it is pretty easy to make. You will need eggplants and the other ingredients you want to add to your dish, which could be tomatoes, onions, parsley, or dill. After the eggplants are roasted, the only thing left to do is mashing them and mixing with other ingredients.

Hummus

Even though hummus is quite popular in the whole Middle Eastern countries, it has its place in Turkish cuisine as well.  It is a great appetizer that goes well with all kinds of foods, and it is very delicious. Besides, hummus could be used as a dip for your chips or vegetables.

Hummus includes chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. To make hummus, one needs to boil the chickpeas and then blend all the ingredients in a blender until it gets a sort of thick consistency. Then, it can be used as an appetizer, dip, or anything of your choice.

Bamia with Olive Oil

Bamia is a type of stew, which can be classified as the less-popular end of vegan Turkish cuisine. The reason for it is less popular than others is the prejudice towards bamia. Just because it does not look appealing, it is often not preferred but keep in mind that looks have nothing to do with the taste of a dish.

Bamia is made from okra, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic, and sugar. It is also a very nutritious and healthy dish.

Çiğ Köfte(without meat)

Çiğ köfte is one of the most popular dishes of Turkey, among vegans and non-vegans. The original version of çiğ köfte includes meat, yet it is forbidden to market çiğ köfte with meat in Turkey. So, the only type of çiğ köfte that you can find in Turkey is vegan.

Çiğ köfte is made from brown bulgur, powdered isot pepper, onion, tomato paste, pepper paste, pomegranate syrup, sunflower oil, and lemon juice. It is often served with lettuces, tomatoes, and pickles. Another way for çiğ köfte to be served is wrapped in lavash bread.

Lentil Patties

Lentil patties are one of the most delicious and nutritious dishes of vegan Turkish cuisine. Lentil patties can be listed after kısır in terms of popularity in women’s friend group gatherings. Besides, since it is quite easy to prepare it is often preferred as the main course.

Lentil patties include brown rice, lentil, onions, tomato paste, olive oil, and some spices.

Dolma with Olive Oil

Dolma is another significant part of Turkish cuisine in which you can find it everywhere in Turkey. Like in sarma, dolma has types where it includes meat so be careful while ordering dolma as well. Dolma is made from rice filling being filled with various vegetables like peppers (not the thin ones), tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, or eggplant. Dolma with olive oil is typically served cold.

Peas with Olive Oil

A colorful, delicious dish with olive oil is nothing but peas with olive oil. Up to now, lots of olive oil dishes were discussed but personally, peas with olive oil are the most underrated among all of those. Like other dishes with olive oil (excluding sarma and dolma) peas with olive oil are easy to make. The following are the ingredients of peas with olive oil:

  • Onion
  • Olive oil
  • Carrot
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Red pepper 
  • Yellow pepper
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

 

Peas include lots of different vitamins, and it is known that it is being used in the treatment of some neurobiological diseases. Additionally, peas with olive oil is an indispensable part of the weight loss diets since it is low in calories and high in nutritional values.

Ezogelin Soup

 

Ezogelin soup is a widely consumed soup in Turkey and has its place in Turkish cuisine. It is a healthy, nutritious, and delicious soup that is loved by the people. It is often consumed with bread. The following are the ingredients of the Ezo Gelin soup:

  • Red lentil
  • Tomato
  • Olive oil
  • Rice
  • Bulgur
  • Tomato paste
  • Dried mint
  • Paprika
  • Hot pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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