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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Healthy, Delicious and Easy Turkish Menu Ideas for Every Taste

I have been asked by a few readers to give some Turkish menu ideas to enjoy with family and friends. Most Turkish food is easy to prepare and can also be prepared ahead of time. I hope the below ideas may inspire you to have a go at delicious, wholesome and easy to prepare Turkish food. Using seasonal produce, healthy grains and naturally flavoring with spices, olive oil and sauces like pomegranate molasses, you can create delicious, wholesome and balanced Turkish meals for family and friend easily.

A Classic Turkish Menu; from Soup to Dessert

Ezo Gelin Corba, Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup, flavored with dried mint and red pepper flakes.

Ezo Gelin Corba, Turkish red lentil and bulgur soup, flavored with dried mint and red pepper flakes.

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with them. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. In my parents’ home, no matter how extensive dinner menu we is, soup like this Ezo Gelin Corba would always be the one to welcome everyone, along with Pide Bread. There would be a type of borek, savory pastry with fillings, a Zeytinyagli, vegetables cooked in olive oil, made with seasonal vegetables and a mezze, appetizer. Then the main course could be either a casserole, stew or a home style tray bake kebab. Most Turks these days may skip the dessert, unless it is a special family gathering or have a light one like this stuffed baked apricot or sliced seasonal fruits, as in our house.

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes in ground meat and aromatic rice; Dolma

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes in ground meat and aromatic rice; Dolma

Turkish Spicy Bulgur and Lentil Soup – Ezo Gelin Corba
Spinach and feta filo tray bake – Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek
Warm Hummus in red pepper flakes infused olive oil
Green Beans with onions, garlic and tomatoes, cooked in olive oil – Zeytinyagli Taze Fasulye
Stuffed tomatoes and peppers with ground meat, onions and aromatic rice – Dolma
Baked stuffed dried apricots with walnuts – Cevizli Kuru Kayisi Tatlisi

Vegetarian Turkish meal menu

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and there are many delicious vegetarian courses on offer. From stuffed pides to vegetables cooked in olive oil, yoghurt based dips to pilafs with vegetables and more, there are plenty, delicious choices. Here’s my selection; the list includes a family favorite from Antakya, Eggplants cooked with lentils, onions and peppers – Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla; a heavenly, delicious meal that melts in the mouth.

Eggplants, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil; Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla

Eggplants, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil; Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla

Turkish oval flat breads with spinach, peppers and feta cheese topping, Peynirli Pide
Eggplants cooked with lentils, onions and peppers in olive oil – Patlicanli, Mercimekli Mualla
Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint
Bulgur Pilaf with vegetables – Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi
Semolina Sponge Cake in syrup – Revani

Semolina sponge cake in syrup, Revani

Semolina sponge cake in syrup, Revani

Festive Turkish Meal Menu

Walnut and red pepper paste dip; Muhammara or Cevizli Biber

Walnut and red pepper paste dip; Muhammara or Cevizli Biber

This is a festive menu that appears at my mother’s table at every special occasion and gatherings. With our roots going back to Antakya, southern part of Turkey, the menu is naturally inspired by our home town. The walnuts and red pepper paste dip, Muhammara is a special favorite and makes a great appetizer, served with homemade pide bread. Upside down rice with layers of sautéed meat, eggplants and potatoes, Mevlubi, is my mother’s signature dish; a special, impressive dish that is perfect for entertaining. Having rice, meat and vegetables in it makes Mevlubi a complete course too. Kunefe, pastry strands soaked in syrup with melted cheese would be the ultimate dessert for this festive meal.

Red pepper paste and walnut dip – Cevizli Biber or Muhammara
Homemade Turkish flat pide bread, Pide Ekmek
Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir
Stuffed grape vine leaves with aromatic rice and herbs – Sarma
Upside down rice with layers of meat, eggplant and potatoes – Mevlubi
Pastry Strands in syrup with melted cheese – Kunefe

Kunefe, Kadayifi - a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Kunefe, Kadayifi; pastry strands in syrup with melted cheese – a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Mezze based Turkish Meal Menu

Baked prawns with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and cheese - Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and cheese – Karides Guvec

I love the small plates of mezzes in Turkish cuisine, probably my favorite style of enjoying Turkish food. Dips, salads, borek pastries, vegetables cooked in olive oil, mini meatballs, and oven baked shrimp casserole all adore the tables as “starters” and shared amongst the guests. I love them so much that I tend to have a variety of them as my main course. Here is a delicious selection for you to create at your home. Turkish coffee accompanied by Turkish delight would be the ultimate end to this Turkish meal, shared in good company of friends and family:

Filo rolls with feta and parsley, Sigara boregi
Borlotti beans cooked in olive oil – Barbunya Pilaki
Shepherd’s Salad with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions with olive oil and sumac – Coban Salatasi
Baked shrimp casserole with peppers, mushroom and cheese – Karides Guvec
Baked Mini meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce – Domates ve biber soslu mini kofte
Potato, red onion and olive bake with cumin and chili flakes
Turkish Coffee
Homemade Turkish Delight

Baked mini Turkish meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce

Baked mini Turkish meatballs in tomato and pepper sauce

I do hope these delicious varieties of Turkish menus inspire you; you can pick and choose the dishes that suit your taste and needs, I hope you enjoy them.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; more than a drink

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; more than a drink

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Merhaba all; we had a delightful Turkish cookery class at the weekend and this baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions and peppers was a big hit at the class.

This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. In Southern part of Turkey, especially in the regions of Gaziantep and Antakya, locals would use up the left over grilled or barbecued eggplants to make this delicious, home style kebab the next day. A tradition in Antakya is to prepare the kebab at home and take the tray to the local bakery to be baked in the wood fired oven, providing amazing, melt-in-the mouth flavors. I hope you enjoy recreating this lovely, impressive dish in your home for family and friends.

Tip: Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap
 
This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, tomato paste and red pepper paste is well worth the effort, as it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well. I hope you enjoy this delightful, home style baked aubergine kebab with chicken and vegetables.
Author:
Recipe type: Southern Turkish style baked kebabs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
  • 700 gr / 1.5 lb. chicken thighs or chicken breast, skinned and cut in 4x4 cm (1.6” x 1.6”) chunks
  • 2 red Romano (pointy) or bell peppers, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 green (pointy or bell) pepper, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the chicken marinade:
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. plain whole milk yoghurt
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste (optional)
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. olive oil to sauté the marinated chicken
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. Peel the aubergines (eggplants) in zebra stripes, using a vegetable peeler or a small knife. Cut the aubergines in lengthways then in 1cm (0.4”) thick slices. Place the slices on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (The salt will help extract the bitter juices out of the aubergines). Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using) and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to your taste and combine and mix the chicken pieces with the marinade. Cover the marinade and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can prepare this marinade ahead of time, even overnight and leave in the fridge).
  4. Using kitchen paper towel, squeeze the excess moisture out of the aubergines. Place the aubergines on a tray and drizzle 3 tbsp. olive oil over them. Coat the pieces with the olive oil and partially bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan and stir in the marinated chicken pieces. Sauté over medium to high heat for 4 – 5 minutes, turn the heat off.
  6. Once the aubergine slices partially baked, prepare the chicken & aubergine bake with vegetables. In a large baking dish, place a chicken piece next to onion, pepper (alternating red and green pepper pieces) and aubergine slices. Keep on placing chicken and vegetables in this order side by side, until all the chicken and vegetables are layered. Spread any remaining aubergine slices at the top.
  7. To prepare the sauce, stir in the red pepper paste, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and the water to the pan used for sautéing the chicken. Combine all, also using any leftover chicken marinade sauce in the pan. Pour in this mixture over your tray with the chicken, aubergine and vegetables.
  8. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until chicken and vegetables are cooked and turned light golden color.
  9. Serve hot with plain rice or bulgur pilaf aside.
Notes
Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Live Encounters Magazine

I have been delighted to be featured at the wonderful Live Encounters Magazine with my recipes and stories from my homeland, here’s the link to the full article, I hope you enjoy this wonderful magazine. Live Encounters is also running a little contest in my article, where 4 lucky winners may have a chance watch my online Turkish cookery course free. All answers are in the article! : ) Hope you enjoy reading this wonderful magazine.

"Turkey with Love" my article at Live Encounters magazine

“From Turkey with Love”, my article and Turkish recipes at the Live Encounters magazine

 

 

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12th June; Hands On Turkish Cookery Class at Abinger Cookery School!

I am delighted to partner up with the wonderful Abinger Cookery School in Surrey Hills – England, to teach a feast of Turkish recipes on Friday, 12th June 2015. This will be a hands on style Turkish cookery course, as some readers requested, from 9.30 am to 4 pm on 12th June. We shall prepare the delicious Turkish dishes together all throughout the day and enjoy eating them (as well as taking some back home) at the Abinger Cookery School’s beautiful grounds. It will be a day of feasting and learning all about wonderful, delicious Turkish cuisine; from Turkish flat breads with feta, spinach, onion and peppers to Courgette fritters with feta and dill, served with garlic yoghurt, from Stuffed aubergines with minced meat and vegetables to Baklava, Turkish coffee  and many more. The class will  also be packed with information on Turkish culinary heritage, Turkish ingredients and where to source them, artful use of spices, ideas for substitution and more.  Below is the details of our course – hope you can join us to discover and learn exciting Turkish flavors.

I demonstrate Karniyarik recipe, Stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables, during my online Turkish cookery course

Karniyarik, Stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables, is a part of my hands on Turkish Cookery Course at Abinger Cookery School

Place: Abinger Cookery School; Guildford Road, Abinger Hammer, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6RZ (telephone: 01306 730470)
Date: Friday, 12th June 2015
Time: 9.30 am to 4 pm (please kindly be at the Abinger Cookery School by 9.15 am)
Cost: £ 135 per person (This hands on style day class includes all printed recipes, all ingredients, my tuition, generous servings of the food at the venue. You will also be taking the food you prepared back home.) For booking, please kindly get in touch with Abinger Cookery School at 01306 730470 or  Contact them at this link.

Courgette fritters with feta and dill; a delicious vegetarian course we will have a go at our class

Courgette fritters with feta and dill; a delicious vegetarian course we will have a go at our hands on Turkish cookery class

Menu:

1) Turkish flat breads with feta, spinach, onion and peppers; Peynirli ve Sebzeli Pide – a delicious and popular flat bread with scrumptious topping, a real crowd pleaser

2) Gavurdagi Salad of ripe tomatoes, onions, walnuts and pomegranate molasses – So delicious, healthy and gluten – free!

3) Courgette fritters with feta and dill, served with garlic yoghurt; Mucver – a very popular and delicious vegetarian mezze at home

4) Stuffed aubergines with minced meat and vegetables; Karniyarik * –a classic example of Turkish cuisine, showcasing our much loved ingredient, aubergine. (* We are happy to offer the vegetarian option of the stuffed aubergines if requested ahead of time.)

5) Bulgur wheat pilaf with onions, tomatoes and peppers; Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi – a delicious, wholesome pilaf, a meal itself

6) Yoghurt and cucumber dip with dried mint, Cacik dip

7) Baklava with walnuts; we will learn to make the real thing- much lighter and delicious!

8) Turkish coffee

Peynirli pide, Turkish flat breads with cheese, spinach and pepper topping is at our Turkish cookery course

Peynirli pide, Turkish flat breads with cheese, spinach and pepper topping is at our hands on Turkish cookery course

Places are limited and the class tends to sell out quickly, so if you would like to join us please click here to contact Abinger Cooking School to book the course and registration.

My home made baklava with walnuts; delicious with a lighter, fragrant syrup

We will learn how to make home made baklava with walnuts during our Turkish cookery course; delicious with a lighter, fragrant syrup

Sometimes, all we need is a little encouragement and guidance to try out new, exciting flavors. You will be amazed to see how easy, delicious and wholesome each course are and will be able to recreate these dishes easily at home for friends and family after the course.  As a native and seasoned traveler in Turkey, I will also be delighted to answer any questions you may have on Turkish cuisine or visiting Turkey.

Ozlem1

Hope to have a chance to enjoy Turkish cuisine together, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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