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.