Top 15 Turkish Vegetarian Dishes

Lots of vegetarian dishes are included in Turkish cuisine. In addition to vegetarian dishes, the number of vegan dishes cannot be underestimated.

One can be unaware of the vegetarian options in Turkey easily since Turkish cuisine is mostly shown as meat-included dishes. However, you can find various Turkish vegetarian dishes. Knowing those dishes before your trip would help you a lot while making a decision.

Menemen

Breakfast is an important part of the Turkish culture, and menemen is one of the most popular food to be eaten in a typical Turkish breakfast. It can amaze you how delicious it is in comparison to the level of easiness it takes to prepare. Menemen includes eggs, tomatoes, green peppers, onions (optional), and some spices.

People typically eat menemen with bread, and they drink Turkish tea with it. So, keep in mind that you have the option to get full while you are eating according to your diet in a Turkish breakfast.

Rice with Chickpeas

It might frustrate you to see the majority of the street food in Turkey contains meat, but rice with chickpeas is ready to save the day in addition to other vegetarian street food. Rice with chickpeas is a popular dish in Turkey which you can find in restaurants, on-street, or in a Turkish home. The chances of you not like rice with chickpeas are pretty low, so it is highly recommended to give it a shot.

Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is sort of the common point of Turkish people since it is a widely consumed and loved dish. There are some restaurants in Turkey where the concept is soup, and lentil soup is perhaps among the most preferred soups. It is mostly consumed as a lunch or dinner, but some people prefer it for breakfast as well. 

The main ingredients of the lentil soup are red, green, or yellow lentils, flour, salt, butter, onion, and cumin. Keep in mind that some restaurants and cafes put meat water into the lentil soup. So, asking the restaurant chef whether they are using meat water in their lentil soup is highly recommended.

Börek Varieties

Borek with Kasar Cheese

Börek is perhaps one of the most significant categories of Turkish cuisine, and it is so great that you can find börek for all kinds of diets, including vegetarianism. Of course, there are böreks with mince or sujuk, yet there are also flavors that will both fill your stomach with joy and that is vegetarian. The following are the vegetarian börek varieties that you must try while in Turkey:

  • Börek with various kinds of cheese including cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, herbed cheese, and so on.
  • Börek with spinach.
  • Börek with potatoes.
  • Plain su börek

In other words, all kinds of börek without meat is a vegetarian option. If you kindly ask the seller about the böreks that do not include meat, they will help you out.

Baklava

Baklava is one of the most loved components of Turkish cuisine and personally, I would not encounter a single soul that does not like the taste of Baklava. It is completely a masterpiece from its preparation to the final look.

Walnuts or pistachios are optionally placed between the doughs that are rolled thinly in layers, and sherbet poured over them, with the addition of the butter. It might taste amazing and you want to eat one after another, but keep in mind that baklava is not a light dessert and you might get a stomach ache if you eat too much. 

Sütlaç (Rice Pudding)

Even though rice pudding is a dessert that belongs to various cuisines in addition to Turkey, still, you need to try it while you are in Turkey. Adding rice to something sweet might seem a little bit suspicious at first, but you cannot know without trying it out.

The word sütlaç has nothing to do with the translation of rice pudding. It originated from the word “sütlü aş” (which means milky food in Turkish). And by time, the pronunciation of this group of words transferred to “sütlaç”. Sütlaç includes rice, milk, and sugar. Some people prefer to consume sütlaç with cinnamon on top.

Haydari

Haydari is a type of appetizer made from strained yogurt, cheese, mint, garlic, and walnuts (optional). It is an indispensable part of raki tables and is known for having a thick consistency. Some people prefer to serve haydari by adding dill.

Fellah Patties

Fellah patties, (fellah köftesi in Turkish) is a dish in Turkish cuisine in which you can find small differences in different regions. Since it is a patty made from brown rice, it is completely vegetarian. Besides, brown rice is nutritious, delicious, and fulfilling. Fellah patties could be a great option for your lunch or dinner in Turkey.

In addition to eating fellah patties as the main course, some restaurants prefer to serve it as a garniture. Even you can see fellah patties served as an appetizer in some regions as well. Either way, fellah patties are one of the most beautiful things that can happen to brown rice.

Carrot Tarator (Turkish Carrot Dip)

You can see the carrot tarator as a garniture, appetizer, or eaten as a snack with some chips. As you can understand from the name, carrot tarator is a dip from Turkish cuisine that is made from carrots. It includes carrots, garlic, strained yogurt, olive oil, and salt. Besides, it is quite easy to prepare. 

If you want a healthier option to use carrot tarator as a dip, try dipping various vegetables instead of chips in it. Afiyet Olsun!

Cacık

Cacık is a dish that is similar to haydari, but there are differences enough to be named different from haydari. It is classified as an appetizer made from cucumbers, yogurt, water, and garlic. Cacık is typically served with dried mints, yet some prefer dill, onion, olive oil, etc. instead of dried mint.

The type of cacık with carrot and lettuce is called “winter cacık”. Cacık is named caciki in Greek cuisine.

Mücver (Fritters)

Mücver is a Turkish dish made from eggs, flour, and zucchini. Yet, some variations of mücver exist such as mücver with potatoes, mücver with cheese, or a combination of both. It is a useful dish since you do not need to heat it before eating, you can eat it cold.

Since mücver does not have a strong taste on its own, it is typically served as a side dish and yogurt with garlic. Besides being a side dish, it is also served as a salty treat to eat in the teatime with Turkish tea.

Simit (Turkish Bagel)

Simit is another dish from Turkish cuisine that cannot be separated from the Turkish culture as well. Some foods are so settled into the cultures that it has some meaning like inside jokes between friends, and simit is something just like that in Turkey.

Different from bagels that you are probably familiar with, simit includes grape molasses and sesame in addition to the differences in the baking style. You can find simit in every pastry store in Turkey, in addition to the grocery stores, streets, and even you can find homemade simit in Turkish houses.

Simit is a popular food to be eaten for breakfast, but you can see people eating simit in all day long. Besides, it could be a great snack with Turkish tea. Since simit has relatively plain taste, there are various recipes to prepare something more creative with simit in which you can find it in pastry stores.

Semolina Halva

Another dessert from Turkish cuisine, semolina halva, is a popular dessert that is both easy to make and delicious to eat. It includes mainly semolina, flour, sugar, and butter. Some add other ingredients to semolina halva such as milk, pistachios, etc. It is a dessert that could be eaten as hot or cold.

Künefe 

Künefe is a dessert from Turkish cuisine that is very popular in Turkey. If you have a sweet tooth, kunefe will be more than enough to fulfill it. It is made with shredded filo pastry and includes cheese in it. You can encounter kunefe in many other countries as well, but it is a big part of Turkish cuisine.

Bazlama

Bazlama is a type of bread which is made and eaten by Turks for hundreds of years. There are variations of bazlama, such as bazlama with cheese or bazlama with potatoes. To make bazlama, the dough must be leavened to be yeasted a day earlier. Since a very yeasted dough is used, bazlama has a fluffy consistency. 

Frequently asked questions about Turkish vegetarian dishes

You might have heard of Turkey as a place where you can only eat kebabs, meaty dishes, and chicken, etc. but you should know that there are lots of alternatives for vegetarians as well. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about Turkish vegetarian dishes and related topics, to make things clearer.

Can I find vegetarian dishes easily in Turkey?

Yes, in fact, Turkey is sometimes referred to as a “vegetarian heaven”. Even though there are lots of non-vegetarian options in Turkey as well, keep in mind that food takes a big place in Turkey and the chances of you not finding something to eat for you is very low.

What are the other vegetarian dish options in Turkey?

As you know, all vegan foods are vegetarian. If you are not satisfied with the options written here, you can check out the vegan options and find something for you there.

Is Turkish delight vegetarian?

Some of them are but be careful while consuming it since some of them might contain gelatine.

 

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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