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Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes

Merhaba Dear All,

It’s has been very hot recently and we have been enjoying this lovely Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes a lot. This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish bean salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with sumac infused onions in this refreshing, nutritious salad. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.

Note: If you prefer to use the dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in cold water overnight. Then drain the chickpeas and put them in a pan with plenty of fresh water. Cook for about 60 minutes or until tender, adding salt toward the end of the cooking time. Drain and set aside in a bowl, to be used in this salad.

Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes
This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish beans salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with sumac infused onions in this refreshing, nutritious salad. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.
Recipe type: Vegan, Healthy Salads
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 x 14oz can of precooked chickpea / garbanzo beans
  • 1tsp/5ml ground sumac (use more if you are a fan!)
  • 1tsp/5ml ground cumin
  • ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 40g/1 ½ oz spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 30ml/2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ juice of lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of extra sumac to serve
  • Flatbread or pita bread to serve
  1. In a mixing bowl, rub a pinch of salt and ground sumac into the onion slices with your hands really well. This will soften the onions and make them more palatable, will also help infuse tangy sumac to the onion slices.
  2. Place the precooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans on a colander, drain its liquid and rinse over running water. Combine the chickpeas with the onions in the mixing bowl. Stir in the ground cumin and season with salt to your taste, mix well.
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, peppers, spring onion and spinach into the bowl and combine well with the chickpeas and onion mixture.
  4. For the dressing; combine the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a small container. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste.
  5. Pour in the seasoning over the salad and combine well. Transfer the salad into a serving plate. Serve with an extra pinch of ground sumac sprinkled over, if you like, with plenty flat breads or pita bread by the side, to mop up the delicious juices.
  6. Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem

Turkish Vegetarian Feast Supper Club and Pide Workshop at Aromas Café, Weybridge – Surrey

 on Friday, August 28th evening from 7.30pm

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

We are absolutely delighted to re-start our workshops and supper clubs at the Aromas Café, Weybridge and we can’t wait to welcome you back!

Please join us at our Turkish Vegetarian Feast Supper Club and Pide Workshop at Aromas Café, Weybridge, on Friday, August 28th evening from 7.30 pm.  We will serve you some scrumptious healthy Turkish and Mediterranean vegetarian dishes as below and moreover, you will get to make a vegetarian Pide, Oval Turkish flatbreads with vegetarian toppings at our workshop with Ozlem’s instructions and you will take your pide back home. We believe healthy food can also be very delicious and we will show you how. We hope the workshop inspires you and bring delicious Mediterrenean and Turkish flavours to your table.

We will serve the below vegetarian and Ozlem will give you tips on how to make them:

Hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil

Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir

Smoked aubergine salad with garlicky youghurt and dried mint

Our slice of Pide to enjoy as part of your dinner

Baked dried apricots with walnuts, served with vanilla ice cream

Pide  with vegetarian fillings workshop during the night!:

And during the night, at our workshop, you will also get to make Pide with a variety of fillings to choose as below (please tell us which filling you would like to use upon booking, so that we can get it ready for you) – you will get to take your Pide back home:

Filling options – please tell us which filling you’d like to use:

1) sauteed courgette, peppers, olives

3) spinach, peppers and feta cheese

4) grated mozarellla and tomato

Cost per person: 55 GBP (includes the hands on workshop, Ozlem’s tuition, all ingredients, the vegetarian courses to enjoy during the night, a glass of bubbly, tea or coffee)

Participation is limited so please book your spot soon at this link soon! This workshop can also make a lovely present for a foodie too. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is also available during the event.

We look forward to welcoming you at Aromas on August 28th at our delicious event.

Kurban Bayrami – Eid In Istanbul

It’s been really special to be able to make it to Istanbul to see my dear mother, Gulcin, my sister and family, during the past Kurban Bayrami, Eid. I haven’t been able to see them for a long while; it was a precious time spend together. As with every Turkish gathering with family, it included feasts to share – Turkish breakfast, dinners, Turkish coffee and more. Here are a few photos for you – including a special photo above with my dear mum Gulcin and my lovely niece Defne.

Our Bayram Turkish breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. Traybake Borek, Filo Pastry with Spinach and cheese is everyone’s favourite, here’s my recipe and my youtube video links.

And scrumptious Bayram meals shared with family; I love how these special events bring us together. My cousin’s home made Baklava with walnuts were delicious, here’s my recipe and youtube vide on how to make baklava, it is easier than you think and so delicious.

Last but not least, my dear cousin Nihal hosted us for another family feast – her Tray bake Kebab, Antakya’s Tepsi Kebabi was so delicious. This is such an easy kebab to make at home, here’s my recipe if you like to give a go.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Booksigning in Bebek – Istanbul

I also managed to do a little book signing while in Istanbul, at the lovely Bebek district – thank you Emily for your kind interest for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book!

A little reminder that  signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are delivered worldwide, including US and Canada at this link – You can also see also kindle, ebook etc options here (Delighted to share that kindle version of Ozlem’s Turkish table is No.3 in Canada for Turkish cooking, thank you!). You can see all options here via GBPublishing.

My best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,


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Roasted Aubergine with Tomatoes, Herbs and Cheese and Latest News

Merhaba dear All,

It gives me a great pleasure to share my dear friend Sibel Pinto’s special recipe, Roasted aubergine/eggplant with tomatoes, herbs and chees, Patlican Yelpaze. Sibel is a chef-instructor, founder of ‘Action Kashkarikas Wasteless Kitchen Mission’, anti-foodwaste activist, Gourmand Cookbooks Award winning author of ‘The Evolution of Sephardic Cuisine in Turkey.’  Sibel does a lot of very valuable work to promote Food Waste Awareness around the world, please follow her on Instagram at @chef_sibelpinto and her website, , if you like to know more about her work.

We have done an Instagram Live with Sibel a few weeks ago and she kindly demonstrated this delicious Roasted aubergine, tomatoes, herbs and cheese recipe to us. This recipe dates back to her Sephardic roots, a legacy from her grandmother Elisa’s kitchen; many thanks Sibel’cim for sharing with us.

I love the ease of this recipe and it is Mediterranean on a plate. Buffalo mozarella really works well here (our favourite) with its creamy texture. It was lovely with Turkish beyaz peynir, or feta cheese too. Marinating the aubergine generously with herbs, garlic, olive oil is important and adds such a lot of flavour. Here’s Sibel’s recipe if you like to make at home:



  • 1 aubergine, eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 60ml/ 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100-150 gr mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
  • 2 large tomatoes, halved and cut into thin slices (or several cherry tomatoes, cut in half)
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber
  • Parsley/basil (chopped roughly)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Prepare the sauce: Mix the olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, mint, oregano and red pepper flakes.
  • Cut the aubergine into thin (about 1/2 cm) slices, but not all the way through, leave it attached to the stem.
  • Cover your baking dish with baking paper and place the aubergine on a baking pan.
  • Coat and brush every slice on both sides generously with the sauce.
  • Place the cheese and tomato slices between each aubergine slice.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Then uncover and cook around 10 – 15 minutes (and a bit more if your aubergine is big), until the cheese melts deliciously.
  • Once cooked, sprinkle with basil/parsley and serve warm.

Baked potato with cumin, red peppers and onions, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

Shepherd’s Salad with sumac, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, image by Sian Irvine Photography

It’s been very hot recently, we enjoyed this  delicious Roasted aubergine, Patlican Yelpaze, with Shepherd’s Salad with sumac, Baked potato with cumin, red peppers and onions and Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt by the side, it was lovely meal.

Stuffed Anatolian Flatbreads – Gozleme is at Ozlem’s Turkish Table YouTube Channel!

Stuffed Anatolian Flatbreads, Gozleme, is one of the most popular street food in Turkey and it is easy to make it at home. It is now at Ozlem’s Turkish Table YouTube channel and it’s been a big hit, here is the link if you like to have a go too:

Signed Hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table – 30 % Off until July 3rd 2020

One of the most special things about writing Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book has been witnessing how much joy it has brought to over 5,000 Turkish food lovers around the world. My sincere thanks to each and everyone for your kind feedback and writing a review on Amazon. If you have a copy of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book and can kindly write a review here, we would greatly appreciate it.

Here’s the latest 5 star review on Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, with many thanks to Leah 1709:

“Passion for Turkish Cuisine: This is a wonderful book, full of excellent tips and suggestions as well as alternative ingredients and suggestions to try. You can definitely feel the love Özlem has for her homeland and the passion she has for the cuisine. This book was one of the best gifts I have received and I love trying the recipes. More people should try Turkish cuisine…. Delicious”

Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is 30 % off via GBPublishing at this link, until July 3rd 2020. It is delivered worldwide, including the USA. The offer has been our way of helping out food lovers with home cooking, especially during the Covid 19 lock down. Many thanks for all your kind words and sharing your delicious creations with us.

My Best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,


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Wholesome, Easy Turkish Food Ideas for Extraordinary Times

Merhaba Dear All,

Indeed extraordinary, uncertain times and I hope this post finds you all well. We are all doing our best, taking precautions, and making every effort to support family, friends and loved ones, in the growing rise  of Covid-19. We have been trying our best to help out especially the elderly and the vulnerable, helping with their food shopping, dropping meals to their door.

Many healthy experts say that one of the most important things we can do now is to boost our immune system with healthy eating. We are lucky as Turkish cuisine follows Mediterranean diet, based on seasonal produce, wholesome grains, legumes, flavouring naturally with olive oil, nuts, natural condiments. Just having a look at this sunny Turkish breakfast lifts my spirits and showcases how healthy Turkish food is. Please remember, there are over 100 healthy, wholesome, easy to make Turkish and Mediterranean recipes at my blog here, with free access to you all, I truly hope it inspires and brings comfort.

I have noted below a few pantry staples I always keep in hand; you can turn them into delicious, wholesome meals without breaking the bank. A dear reader, Sally, yesterday sent me a note, saying You remain by my side in troubled times with your inspirational, happy food”, which made my day. I have included recipe links from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table,  at this post, do hope they inspire you too. Please remember, times like this, we may not have an access to all the vegetables and grains but we will make the most of what we have, be creative and substitute when needed.

With this note, Happy coming Mother’s Day to all mothers celebrating, in good health and happiness; we may not be by the side of our dear mothers to protect their well being, but they will all be in our heart and thoughts; I will be drinking my mother’s favourite Turkish coffee for her across the ocean and will send a virtual hug. If you would like to gift my cookery book, signed copies of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, is now 10 % off at this link, and it is delivered worldwide.

Eat a rainbow of vegetables

All health experts say eat colourful fruit and veg to boost immune system; Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and we use a large variety of vegetables in our diet. As it is extraordinary times, please substitute with whatever veg you find in your recipes.

Special mention here for garlic; in ancient times, it was used as a medicine to treat a variety of medical conditions. it is highly nutritious, rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese, great, fantastic value ingredient to boost your immune system. Another great pantry staple also worth a mention is canned tomatoes; they are not only great value but (just like fresh, in season ones) are low in calories and packed with vitamin C and fiber. Canned tomatoes (as opposed to fresh) are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, shown to help lower the risk of heart disease and various other ilnesses. Needless to say, we use plenty of garlic and tomatoes in all form in Turkish cuisine.

Baked prawns (or any small chunks of fish) casserole with mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, peppers – Karides Guvec

Turkish style shrimp casserole with vegetables, Karides Guvec

This is a very popular one pot dish served in fish restaurants at home and combines high nutrition with great taste. You can use small chunks of fish instead of prawns (in that case, please cook the fish in the vegetable sauce for 15 minutes, before further baking with the cheese additional 10 minutes. Always check the sea food packaging for advised cooking times). Or opt out fish and shellfish for a vegetarian option. Here is my recipe link; it is also at Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, page 239.

Baked Turkish Meatballs with vegetables – Firinda Sebzeli Kofte – Great for freezing too!

A wonderful all in one pot dish to please the family – a great one for bulk cooking and freezing in portions. Again, use any veg you can get hold of; I add a can of cooked (and rinsed) chickpeas for extra nutrition and bulk it up too. If preferred, keep it vegetarian without the meatballs, and include cooked chickpeas or beans instead. Here is my recipe link, also at page 179 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can serve with Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt – again, very healthy, full of gut friendly bacteria.

Aubergine, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil – Mercimekli Mualla

We love aubergine / eggplant or as we call it, patlican, in Turkey. This delicious recipe is from my southern Turkish roots, from Antakya- dried mint, healthy olive oil, flavours lentils and veg so beautifully here. You can prep ahead of time and once cooked, it can be kept in the fridge for a good 2-3 days. It is also vegan and gluten free. Here’s my recipe link (also at page 151 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table) . You can make another version using courgette/ zucchini, equally delicious and wholesome, with my recipe here

Power of legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils), bulgur, whole grains

Legumes, whole grains, bulgur are an important part of Turkish diet and I am a huge fan of them. They are packed with goodness, convenient and great value. At times like this, always keep dried or canned version of legumes. I also love the nutty flavour of bulgur; it is wholesome and so versatile. Here are some ideas for you to turn them into delicious, nutritious meals:

Spicy bulgur and lentil soup – Ezo Gelin Corbasi

Spicy bulgur and lentil soup, Ezo Gelin Corbasi

One of our favourite soups of all times; such a tasty, wholesome, fantastic value soup, so easy to make. Make a big batch as it freezes very well, here is my recipe link (also at page 47 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table).  If you like to make it gluten free, use quinoa instead of bulgur – my recipe link is here for this gluten free version

Turkish bean salad with sumac spiced onions, tomatoes, olives – Fasulye Piyazi

This traditional beans salad, Fasulye Piyazi, is a meal in itself and turns the humble beans into an exciting and vibrant salad. Canned cannelini beans would work well here. You can flavour your red onions with the tangy sumac here and add a little heat with pul biber, Turkish red pepper flakes – so good, easy and wholesome. Here is my recipe link (also at page 90 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table)

Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses  – Kisir

Fun baking with children – try this delicious Gozleme!

With children now off school, you may enjoy making this delicious Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with fillings with them. Any veg in hand can make a filling – left over mashed potato, sauteed leeks, mushrooms, peppers.. etc. Great activity with kids, learning a new skill and very satisfying, here is my recipe link here (also at Ozlem’s Turkish Table, page 113)

Flavouring through spices, naturally

You can add so much flavour to your dishes, naturally, through spices, they have a lot of health benefits too. For instance, it is the warm, pungent cumin simply transforms hummus, when combined with tahini. You can also prepare a red pepper flakes infused olive oil and drizzle over hummus – it is a delicious, wholesome dip you can easily make at home, using a can of precooked chickpeas, my recipe is here if you like.

How about this Leafy greens with onions, peppers and pine nuts, an inspiration from my home town, Antakya? Any greens would work – kale, Swiss chard, spinach all work. A sprinkle of pul biber, Turkish red pepper flakes adds a delicious heat to this lovely recipe. You can make it a substantial meal with adding bulgur to it (and hot water). My recipe is at this link here if you’d like to give a go (also at page 153 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table)

Dried fruit and nuts

Baked dried apricots with walnuts, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

We consume a lot of nuts – almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and more – and dried fruit (dried apricots, figs etc) in Turkish cuisine. They are packed with nutrition, goodness and make a wholesome snack. If you’d like a healthy dessert, why not try this Baked dried apricots with walnuts; it is so easy to make, healthy and delicious. My recipe link is here (also at page 271 of Ozlem’s Turkish Table)


Finishing off here with my favourite drink, as well as my mother’s, Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi, more than a drink for us, as it always evokes special memories.  Even if we are away from one another, staying at our homes, love of good food and sharing connects us all and brings happy memories. The rituals of Turkish coffee, that is staying in the moment, slowing down and enjoying every sip thinking of loved ones, is very suitable for the current times. May you enjoy yours and hope it brings comfort.

My very best wishes to you all, please stay well and Afiyet Olsun,


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