I love the abundance of seasonal vegetables we get in Turkey. This is a wonderful vegetarian dish, celebrating the seasonal bounty at home. Turlu is traditionally cooked over stove top, as a stew, though I prefer to bake the dish in the oven here, as I love the additional dept of flavours you get with baking the vegetables. Having chickpeas in these casseroles are a typical Turkish fare; its earthy flavour goes well here and makes it a delicious and substantial all in one dish. In winter months, you can use root vegetables like beetroots, potato, as well as leeks etc. in this wholesome dish. It also tastes better next day and freezes well. Great for back to school and weekday meals.
You can serve as this turlu with crusty bread or rice pilaf. I also love to top this wholesome casserole over the smoked eggplant béchamel sauce, as a vegetarian topping for the Turkish classic, Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight.
Turkish cuisine offers wholesome, delicious vegetarian and vegan choices, such as this Aubergine, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Signed copies are now 25 % off and delivered worldwide, including the US and Canada at this link.
- 4 medium aubergines/eggplants, cut in lengthways and sliced in chunks
- 3 medium courgettes/zucchini, trimmed and sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 large or 2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced in wedges
- 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut in chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 400g/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
- 400g/14oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 15ml/1tbsp dried oregano
- 10ml/2tsp Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes
- 10ml/2tsp ground cumin
- 60ml/4tbsp olive oil
- 15ml/1tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
- 285ml/10fl oz hot water
- Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley to decorate
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F
- Spread the eggplant/aubergine chunks on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for about 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess water out of the aubergines/eggplants.
- Toss all the vegetables with olive oil, oregano, pul biber/red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper, on a large baking tray. Please do that with your (clean) hands and make sure all the spices and olive oil coat the vegetables; this really helps to infuse all the spices and olive oil to the vegetables to enhance their flavour. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, turning them around the midway. By the end of this roasting, the vegetables will start to get charred along the edges and softened. Transfer the roasted vegetables over a large baking dish.
- Combine the 285ml/10fl oz hot water with tomato paste and mix well. Stir in the can of chopped tomatoes, rinsed chickpeas, cumin; season with salt and pepper and combine well. Pungent cumin goes well with earthy chickpeas.
- Pour this mixture over the roasted vegetables in the baking dish and gently combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to your taste.
- Bake in the preheated oven for another 20 – 25 minutes, until all vegetables cooked, browned at edges and the sauce thickened. Sprinkle chopped parsley over, ready to serve.
- Serve with crusty bread or rice pilaf aside (sharp feta cheese is great crumbled over too, as an option). I also love this wholesome casserole over the smoked eggplant béchamel sauce, as a vegetarian topping for the Turkish classic, Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight.
- Afiyet Olsun.