NATIONAL VEGETARIAN WEEK MAKES US TURN TO TURKEY
It’s National Vegetarian Week and we have Turkey on our minds - not the traditional Christmas dinner kind, luckily. When you think of Turkish cuisine, a selection of meats are what usually springs to mind, whether they're squashed into a pita bread or accompanied by an array of salad and rice. But in fact, this foodie paradise packs in a platter full of vegetarian treats, too. You’ll find vegetarian versions of most local dishes beside the popular beef and lamb-based plates at many of the country's restaurants. Expect bold flavours, spicy sauces and plenty of heady black pepper, besides tangy yogurt and lemon toppings - mmm.
If you want to experience the food first hand, check out our guide to the best holiday resorts in Turkey.
The Cig Kofte or raw meatballs as the name goes, were originally made with raw meat, but while they’re no longer seen today, spicy vegetarian options abound. Prepared with bulgur white rice, these appetisers are packed with a combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices, all kneaded together. Order an ample serving at any Turkish restaurant and this makes for a delicious and filling vegetarian meal.
Börek, a kind of pastry that’s layered with crumbly cheese and spinach, makes for a quick meal or a hearty snack. While it’s mostly served with a ground beef filling, you’re sure to find a vegetarian version with feta cheese and eggplant gracing the shelves of local shops and eateries.
COBAN SALATASI OR SHEPHERD’S SALAD
A regular on the menu, you’ll find this refreshing Coban salad in any Turkish restaurant. Super easy to prepare, it essentially contains cucumber, tomatoes and onions, peppered with parsley, lemon juice and oil dressing - often topped with Turkish cheese, too. Add some bulk and enjoy it as a main, or mix things up with a side salad instead.
One of the most popular picky foods around, Zeytinyagli Dolma are grape leaves (or, equally you can use peppers) stuffed with infused rice and usually meat, but there are vegetarian versions on offer as well. Seasoned with olive oil and herbs, you can order them as a tempting starter, or have as a sweet addition to your main course. Serve hot or cold.
The delicious Gözleme makes for both a filling snack or a light lunch. Similar to a Mexican quesadilla, this crepe is filled with oozing cheese and spinach (sometimes potato and mushroom, too) and fried on an open griddle. It’s easily available at street stalls, so you can grab one if you’re hungry after a day of sightseeing (or beach lazing, let's face it)!
You can’t go wrong with Kumpir, also known as, Turkey’s ultimate baked potato. To prepare this mouthful of cheesy goodness, a huge potato is sliced into half and filled with an assortment of mayonnaise, pickles, sweetcorn and mushrooms - a super quick dish you can make in your own kitchen.
Need a little more inspiration? You'll find equally appealing dishes across a variety of vegetarian and vegan-friendly destinations, so the choice is yours.