Turkish food is one of our favourite cuisines. It’s hard to beat the flavours that come from cooking on charcoal and their famous kebabs. Pair that with colourful dips and salads, and you’re transported to food heaven.
Turkey’s unique geography and history garner influence from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and you can taste it in the food. It’s exotic yet familiar to many cultures.
Yogurt, butter, and meat are staples in Turkish food. But with classics like falafel and gözleme, many Turkish dishes check the vegetarian and vegan box without any changes.
And for meat and dairy dishes, you’ll see below that there are many creative plant-based substitutes that don’t compromise the spectacular flavour.
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Essential Turkish ingredients
As you prepare to try Turkish food, there are a few staples you’ll see come up time and time again. Here’s the list:
Tomato paste or puree
Base for sauces, stews, and soups in Turkish cooking.
Hummus, falafel, and various salads and stews.
Base for sandwiches, wraps, and kebabs.
Flavouring agent in marinades, dressings, and sauces.
Replacement for lemon in Turkish cooking. Can be sprinkled on salads, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables.
Roasted eggplant (or aubergine)
Topping for bread, pastries, and salads.
Roasted capsicums (or bell peppers)
Adds flavour to salads, dips, and spreads.
Semi-dried chili peppers
Adds a kick to marinades, sauces, and stews.
Nigella seeds (black cumin or black seed)
Topping for breads, pastries, and salads.
You can typically find these ingredients in large supermarkets that have an international aisle or in specialty grocery stores.
If there are Middle Eastern markets available in your city, they’re a great place to start your search.
Additionally, many online retailers offer a wide range of Turkish ingredients that can be conveniently delivered to your doorstep.
The Best Vegan Turkish Recipes
Discover a collection of the best vegan Turkish recipes from around the internet. These flavourful dishes showcase Turkish cuisine's vibrant and diverse flavours, offering a delightful twist on traditional favourites.
The origins of Stewed Green Beans, also known as "Taze Fasulye," can be traced back to Ottoman cuisine, where it was a staple in the royal kitchens. Over time, it gained popularity among the general population and is now commonly enjoyed in Turkish households and restaurants.
To prepare stewed green beans, slowly cook fresh green beans with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and a blend of spices. This slow-cooking process melts the flavours together, resulting in a delicious and hearty side dish.
Get ready to explore the world of Vegan Turkish Pizza, also known as lahmacun, thanks to Ania from Lazy Cat Kitchen. This dish, often called Turkish pizza, is a super thin flatbread topped with a flavourful minced meat filling. It's typically served with fresh salad and a squeeze of lemon, and you roll it up to enjoy it like a wrap-style sandwich.
Ania has created a delicious vegan twist on this concept that has been well-received in her house and is sure to become your favourite, too!
This classic Turkish Bulgur Pilaf recipe from Unicorns in the Kitchen is a staple on Turkish dinner tables. Made from a few essential ingredients, it’s simple yet comforting. It’s often served as a side dish with main courses like doner plates at Turkish restaurants. With a dollop of vegan yogurt, it becomes a truly comforting meal.
Bulgur, a nutty grain, is the star ingredient. It’s prepared by parboiling whole wheat, drying it under the sun, and grinding it to various sizes, with fine bulgur for salads and coarse bulgur for pilaf. It’s not the same as cracked wheat, offering a unique texture and taste.
This recipe, shared by Gönül from Aegean Delight, is an authentic family treasure cherished for generations.
Gözleme is like Turkey's answer to quesadillas, and its mouthwatering taste and simplicity make it a favourite across the country. You can easily whip up the dough with just flour, water, and a pinch of salt. As for fillings, the endless options allow you to get creative with ingredients like spinach feta, plant-based mince, or spicy potato.
Whether you're an experienced cook or a kitchen newbie, gözleme is the perfect way to experience the authentic flavours of Turkish cuisine.
Baklava is a traditional pastry originating from Turkish cuisine. It has been enjoyed for centuries and is famous for its delicate layers of phyllo dough filled with a mixture of nuts, spices, and sweet syrup.
Unlike many baklava recipes that are overly sweet, this one allows the flavours to shine. The amount of sugar used is reduced, creating a perfect balance for a delightful treat that won't overpower your taste buds.
This recipe by Romy in London offers mouthwatering vegan doner kebab meat that can be enjoyed on its own, paired with vegan cheese, or stuffed with your favourite kebab toppings.
Romy's secret lies in the blend of vital wheat gluten, herbs, and seasonings, which infuse the kebab meat with a flavour reminiscent of traditional non-vegan kebabs. This recipe has received rave reviews, with one reader describing it as "absolutely gorgeous" and a favourite meal.
Introducing the zesty Turkish Sumac Onions, a fantastic recipe from Samantha at Little Ferraro Kitchen.
The magic of this dish happens when you combine tangy sumac with savoury onions, creating an incredible contrast of flavours and textures. And the best part? It's straightforward to make!
To prepare, thinly slice some red onions, add fresh chopped parsley, a squeeze of zesty lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the tangy sumac. Toss everything together and let the sumac onions marinate while you prepare the rest of your meal.
These wraps offer a vegan twist on traditional Turkish wraps, replacing the meat with tofu. Inside these wraps, you'll find a fresh salad combo of red onions, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, parsley, and mint, all drizzled with a tasty tahini dressing. These wraps are perfect for a relaxed lunch or dinner, and they may quickly become your new favourite way to enjoy tofu.
Discover the delightful taste and texture of Simit, also known as the Turkish bagel, with this fantastic recipe developed by Zerrin and Yusuf at Give Recipe. Simit is a beloved street food in Turkey for good reason. It offers a contrast - crunchy and nutty on the outside, yet soft and slightly chewy on the inside.
Hummus originated in Turkish cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a common feature in Turkish mezze platters and is typically served as a dip or spread with bread. Chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice create a flavourful and creamy dip that has gained popularity worldwide.
This smooth and creamy hummus makes it an excellent addition to any meal. The secret lies in using dried chickpeas instead of the ones you get in a can. Whether you spread it in a wrap, use it as a dip, toss it with pasta, or include it in your favourite Buddha bowl, this hummus is addictive.
Learn the art of making Turkish coffee with Gönül from Aegean Delight. In this comprehensive guide, she shares the rich history and traditional taste of this ancient brew.
This step-by-step tutorial teaches you how to brew Turkish coffee without any bitterness and offers exciting variations like iced and spiced options. Immerse yourself in Turkish coffee, where every sip is a taste of history.
Our homemade vegan falafel, a beloved dish in Turkish cuisine, is versatile, delicious, and sure to make your regular rotation. With a rich history dating back centuries, falafel has become a staple in Turkish street food and mezze platters. These little wonders are perfect for parties, such as a quick lunch wrapped in a salad or pita and more. They offer a delightful combination of a crispy exterior and a soft interior.
Introducing this Vegan Baba Ganoush, a Middle Eastern classic with a twist, brought to you by Ania from Lazy Cat Kitchen. This dip showcases a special ingredient: smoked aubergine flesh. It becomes a flavourful and smoky dip when mixed with garlic, tahini, and pomegranate molasses. Ania enjoys serving it with hummus, spicy green olives, a generous green salad and grilled Turkish pide wedges. Yum!
Prepare to enjoy the delightful flavours of our Turkish Pea Stew, also known as "Bezelye." This wholesome and hearty dish is packed with vegetables and simmered in a rich tomato sauce. It's a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed independently or paired with tasty side dishes.
Traditionally, this stew is made with meat, but we've given it a tasty twist by replacing it with TVP (textured vegetable protein). The result is a protein-packed meal that is delicious and wholesome.
These Vegan Orange Cookies, also known as Portakallı kurabiye, are a delightful treat developed by Marc from Bake To The Roots. Inspired by similar cookies he encountered at a Turkish bakery, Marc put his own twist on the classic recipe. These cookies have a delicious fruity-orange flavour and a unique, slightly larger size, almost like tiny buns.
Introducing a delicious alternative to traditional shawarma, the Vegan Mushroom Shawarma is a fantastic recipe by Suzy from The Mediterranean Dish. It showcases tasty portobello mushrooms perfectly seasoned and charred with onions. This goodness is wrapped in pita pockets and topped with a drizzle of tahini. Accompanied by a refreshing tomato and cucumber salad, this Middle Eastern-inspired dish guarantees a drool-worthy meal.
Muhammara is a roasted bell pepper (capsicum) and walnut dip that originated from the Syrian city of Aleppo and is also enjoyed in the southeastern region of Turkey.
Gönül's recipe combines roasted red bell peppers, toasted walnuts, zesty pomegranate molasses, and a blend of spices for a delicious experience. It is accidentally vegan, making it a crowd-pleaser for everyone.
The bold flavours of this dip make it a great addition to appetiser spreads or as a tasty accompaniment to various dishes.
Explore our collection of mouthwatering vegan Turkish recipes, including classics like Stewed Green Beans, Turkish Pizza, Bulgur Pilaf, and more.
Vegan TVP Borek Recipe
1 cup soy textured protein (TVP)
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stock cube, crumbled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup tomato passata
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 package vegan phyllo dough
½ cup unsweetened plain coconut yoghurt
3 tablespoons olive oil (or vegan butter, melted)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon salt
In a bowl, combine the TVP and hot water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the TVP absorbs the water and becomes soft, then drain well.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and sauté until softened and golden brown.
Add the rehydrated TVP to the skillet and stir well. Sprinkle in the crumbled stock cube, ground cumin, paprika, and dried oregano. Mix everything together and cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
Pour in the passata, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes until the filling thickens and it’s moist but not watery.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped fresh parsley. Let the TVP filling cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean surface and brush it lightly with olive oil. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top and brush it with oil as well. Repeat this process until you have used four sheets of the phyllo dough.
Spread a portion (around a ⅓ of it) of the TVP filling evenly over the layered phyllo dough sheets, leaving a small border around the edges.
Begin rolling up the layered phyllo dough and filling tightly to form a log shape.
Repeat steps 6-8 with the remaining phyllo dough and TVP filling to create multiple smaller logs.
Arrange the smaller logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, joining them together to form a round shape. Ideally, you would use a round baking dish for this dish to help the spiral keep its shape.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, olive oil (or vegan butter), nutritional yeast, salt, and ¼ cup of warm water.
Pour over the top of the borek and let it seep in a little.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the phyllo dough is golden brown and crispy.
Remove the borek from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.