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
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.
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.
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
Festive Turkish Meal Menu
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
Mezze based Turkish Meal Menu
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
Homemade Turkish Delight
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. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, also have a Suggested Menus chapter with wonderful menus for different dieatary needs and occasions. Signed copies of my cookery book is available at this link.
oh yum! now i need some turkish food!
Thank you Jaz, glad if the menus inspire!
Wonderful post, Ozlem, laying out menu ideas for Turkish meals, a lot of times people unfamiliar with a cuisine need guidance in putting a meal together. So many of my favorites in here, but a big shout out to revani and turkish coffee:) xxPeri.
Many thanks dear Peri, you are right, it was good to share some menu ideas that folks can put together – thanks to readers asking for it- Revani and Turkish coffee goes together so well, I am with you : ) Ozlem xx
Özlem’ciğim, Thanks for the suggested menus. Actually, I was amazed at how many I’ve already tried (and have wowed my guests with!) But in this post, I was able to pick up some new ones as well. Yine çok teşekkür ederim, ailene selamlar ve sevgilerimi söyle. xoxo J
Sevgili Jolee’cigim, many thanks for your kind note, I am so happy that you’ve been enjoying the recipes here, really no better compliment 🙂 I hope we can get to enjoy some nice Turkish food when we are in Istanbul this summer. Cok selam ve sevgilerimizle, Ozlem xxx
I was wondering what to cook tonight – now I know ! Thanks as always.
So glad if it inspired, cok tesekkurler BB – afiyet olsun!
Ozlem, I live in the US now and am American but grew up in Turkey through the 1960s-early 70s and still visit often. Izmir and Bodrum. Just wanted to tell you that I enjoy and share your recipes and sometimes dream of retiring in Turkey! Thank you for your blog. :o)
Merhaba Liz, thank you so much for your lovely note; I am grateful to my blog to have a chance to connect Turkish food lovers like you. How wonderful you lived in Turkey and visiting often. I love Aegean coast too, the landscape, cuisine and people really add to ones life; do hope you make it for retirement, worth dreaming about. My best wishes, Selamlar, Ozlem
Hello from Australia, Ozlem, So glad to have chanced upon your blog. I am hosting a dinner party for about 45 later in January. I wanted to serve Turkish cuisine and really wanted some menu suggestions. This will be a great help.
Merhaba dear Rupali, many thanks for your kind note – how wonderful you’ll be serving Turkish food at your dinner party, glad my menu suggestions are helpful here for you. I also wanted to let you know that my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table is also available – Signed copies at this link! ; it has over 90 authentic Turkish recipes with stunning photos and I have included a Suggested Menus chapter in the book too:
Hope you enjoy your Turkish dinner party, Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
I live in Turkey and want to bring a meal to a Turkish friend going through a hard time. Is this normally done among Turks? If so, what can I bring?
Thanks for your help!
What a kind, thoughtful gesture, I think your friend would really appreciate it – we Turks show that we care through food we make for family and friends and this would be just perfect. You can make the Spinach and cheese borek or perhaps a main like Baked Turkish meatballs with veg, if they eat meat – anything you make I am sure will be so special, after all it is your thought that counts – Elinize Saglik!
Also to let you know that I have a cookery book available to purchase – signed copies! – online at this link; over 90 authentic recipes and Suggested Menus at the end, it is shipped worldwide, promptly, if interested https://www.gbpublishing.co.uk/ozlemsturkishtable
My best wishes, Ozlem