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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian cheat manti with roasted butternut squash and lentils

We absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings, including the vegetarian version with crushed chickpeas and sautéed onions. When I am short of time though, I enjoy this vegetarian, sort of “Cheat Manti”, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious vegetarian sauce, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil.

You can make the vegetarian sauce ahead of time and make variations with other seasonal vegetables – meaty aubergines, mushrooms all would work well in the sauce. The butternut squash works really well with caramalised onions and earthy green lentils in the sauce.

My family absolutely love this vegetarian Cheat Manti, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do; garlicky yoghurt and spices infused olive oil complements the dish beautifully.  You can serve Shepherd salad with sumac onions as a side, if you like.

If you also like to make manti, here is also my Vegetarian manti recipe with crushed chickpeas and caramalised onions. It is a satisfying and delicious dish and well worth your effort when you have time.

Vegetarian cheat manti with roasted butternut squash and lentils
 
We absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings, including the vegetarian version with crushed chickpeas and sautéed onions. When I am short of time though, I make this vegetarian “Cheat Manti”, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious vegetarian sauce with roasted squash and lentils, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian recipes
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 500g/1lb 2oz shell (conchiglie) pasta or your choice of pasta
  • 850g/1lb 14oz peeled, deseeded butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil (for roasting the butternut squash)
  • 15ml/1tbsp olive oil (for sautéing onions)
  • 85g/3oz green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the garlicky yoghurt:
  • 400g/14oz plain yoghurt (I like to use whole milk yoghurt)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • Salt to your taste
  • For the spices infused olive oil:
  • 10ml/2tsp (or more!) Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • 5ml/1tsp ground sumac
  • 5ml/1tsp dried mint
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
  • Few sprigs of chopped parsley to serve, if you wish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  2. Please take the yoghurt out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour before you ensemble the dish. For the garlicky yoghurt, combine the yoghurt with chopped garlic in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt to your taste, combine well and set aside.
  3. Place the cubed butternut squash on a wide oven tray and drizzle the 2tbsp olive oil over. Season with salt and pepper. Coat the squash the olive oil and seasoning (I recommend using your hands here) and roast in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until they are cooked and a little charred at the edges. Take the tray out of the oven.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed green lentils and water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, but not mushy. Drain excess water and set aside.
  5. On a large sauté pan, stir in the onions and pour in 1 tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onions start to change colour and caramalise. Stir in the roasted squash, cooked green lentils, season with salt and ground black pepper. Combine gently for 2-3 minutes, turn the heat off. You can prep this sauce ahead of time.
  6. Pour in the hot water to a medium sized pan and stir in your pasta (I like to use shell shaped conchiglie pasta, which reminds me the manti shape). Cook your pasta, al dente, as per the cooking instructions in the package (conchiglie pasta cooks al dente in 10 minutes). Take 2tbp of the pasta’s cooking liquid into the vegetable and lentil sauce; now turn the heat on and combine the liquid with the sauce gently and warm the sauce. Once paste is cooked, drain the water and drizzle a little olive oil over and combine, so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  7. In a small sauté pan, drizzle 2tbsp olive oil and stir in the pul biber or red pepper flakes, dried mint and sumac. Stir and gently infuse the spices to the olive oil, over medium to low heat, for 1 -2 minutes, turn the heat off.
  8. You are now ready to ensemble your vegetarian cheat manti feast; using a serving spoon; place the pasta on a plate. Spread the 3 – 4 tablespoonfuls of the vegetable and lentil sauce over the pasta and scatter a few small dollops of garlicky yoghurt over the sauce. Drizzle spices infused olive oil over the garlicky yoghurt. Serve immediately.
  9. Afiyet Olsun.

If you enjoy Turkish cuisine, hardback signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, as well as this beautiful apron, are available to order at this link, and delivered worldwide. Signed copies are 20 % off via GB Publishing, and we are told they make special gifts.

If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, you can now order hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table now lower delivery rates here.

 

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Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu

Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu

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.

Aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my  cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

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.

Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu
 
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.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian and Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.
 

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Sauteed courgettes and carrots in yoghurt – Ozlem’s Turkish Table in the USA!

Merhaba Dear All,

I hope you enjoy my new recipe, Sautéed carrots and courgette/zucchini with walnuts in yoghurt –  Yogurtlu havuc ve kabak salatasi, in this post.

This is a much loved meze at home; sweetness of sautéed carrots and courgette/zucchini works so well in garlicky yoghurt with dill. I added chopped gherkins, our tursu here (capers would work well too) here for a touch of tanginess and crunchy walnuts for added texture and flavour. A delicious dip that you can serve as part of your mezze spread, great with grills and pasta too. You can prepare this meze ahead of time and store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. Another version of this dip, with Sauteed carrots in garlicky yoghurt and parsley is also at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table.

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Sauteed courgettes and carrots in yoghurt - Ozlem's Turkish Table in the USA!
 
This is a much loved meze at home; sweetness of sautéed carrots and courgette/zucchini works so well in garlicky yoghurt with dill. I added chopped gherkins, our tursu here (capers would work well too) here for a touch of tanginess and crunchy walnuts for added texture and flavour. A delicious dip that you can serve as part of your mezze spread, great with grills and pasta too. You can prepare this meze ahead of time and store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian sides
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium courgette/zucchini, grated
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
  • 15ml/1 tbsp chopped gherkins or capers
  • 45ml / 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 230g/8 oz strained or whole milk yoghurt
  • 45ml / 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the grated courgette/zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 10 minutes. Using a tea towel or sturdy paper towels, really squeeze out any excess juice from the courgette/zucchini and put in a large bowl. Combine the grated carrots with the courgette in the bowl.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy pan and sauté the grated carrots and courgette for 3-4 minutes, over medium to high heat. Stir in the garlic, season with salt and ground black pepper and sauté further 4 minutes. The vegetables will soften up but still a little crunchy. Turn the heat off and leave them aside to cool in a large bowl.
  3. Once cool, stir in the chopped gherkins or capers and dill to the sautéed carrots and courgette. Fold in the yoghurt and chopped walnuts, combine well. Season with salt and black pepper, if needed.
  4. Spread over a serving plate, with a few pieces of chopped walnuts over the top, if you like. Afiyet Olsun.
Hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book in the US – at Milk Street Online Store!

We are absolutely delighted to share that hardback copies of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, is now available at the Milk Street Online store!

We have been trying hard for the readers in the US and North America to be able to have hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table and I am thrilled that Milk Street online store now carries it. I am proud to be a friend of Milk Street and love teaching online classes with them, do hope you enjoy my cookery book, you can order your copy here.

Let’s Make Mezze! Filo triangles with cheese and spinach (Muska boregi), Courgette/zucchini fritters (Mucver) and Piyaz salad with sumac onions, tomato, parsley Zoom Cooking Class

Saturday, June 5th 2021, 6 pm – 7.30 pm (BST)

Spinach and feta cheese filo triangles, Muska Boregi

We love mezze; small plateful of savoury pastries, salads, dips, vegetables prepared in countless ways, in Turkish cuisine; these delightful plates adorn our table, to share with family and friends. Please join our zoom class on Saturday, June 5th, 6pm – 7.30pm (BST), as I will be teaching how to make some of my favourite mezzes. We will be making the popular Filo triangles with cheese and spinach (Muska boregi), Courgette/zucchini fritters with herbs and cheese (Mucver) and Piyaz salad with sumac onions, tomato, parsley – a feast you will be surprised to see how easy to make too.

Date: Saturday, June 5th 2021

Time: 6pm- 7.30pm (BST)

Cost: 30 GBP per person

To register for the class, please kindly make the payment of 30 GBP  per person via the PayPal button at my Cookery Classes page. The classes tend to sell out quickly therefore early registration is recommended.

I hope you can join us to make this delicious meze feast and take a virtual culinary journey to my homeland, Turkey.

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