Turkey has earned itself a solid reputation when it comes to food however many people assume the country to be a nation of hard-core, meat-eating fanatics thanks to the international popularity of the donor kebab.
People, who find the thought of eating meat revolting, may think that delicious vegetarian food in Turkey is hard to come by but you could not be more wrong. Turkish vegetarian food is cheap, plentiful and totally delicious! Here are a few suggestions of meat free food that will always be readily available.
Vegetarian Food in Turkey
Meat Free Mezes in Turkey are similar to those in Greece and are served cold. They will contain anything from eggplant, tomatoes, rice, beans or even a combination. A tempting choice is Sigara borek which is a cigar shaped, filo-pastry roll filled with white cheese and parsley. Mezes are tasty at any time of the day however they are normally served as a starter before the main course. Don’t be surprised to find more than 20 mezes on the menu at any Turkish restaurant.
Kumpir is a good old fashioned jacket potato that is available on most street corners. It can be topped with a variety of vegetarian choices from sharp olives, cheese and onion or juicy sweet corn. It is very popular with locals and you’ll not look out of place grabbing a jumbo potato with vegetarian fillings for a lunch time snack. Just remember to whack some mayo over the top for extra deliciousness!
Soup translates into corba in Turkish and it is a favourite dish for many. Don’t be surprised after a night time partying with the Turks to end up in the local restaurant ordering crusty bread and a massive bowl of warm soup. The favourites of the Turks seems to be a soup called Mercimek (lentils) however vegetarians can also opt for Ezo Gelin (lentils and tomatoes) or domatoes soup which is simply tomato soup with the added option of sprinkling grated yellow cheese over the top to melt slowly.
Head to any local lokanta (restaurant) and you will find an assortment of Turkish pides to choose from. The best way to describe this dish is a oblong pizza with a thin crust. Sumptuous Toppings will vary from plain cheese to peppers with egg. Look for the vegetarian option on the menu however don’t be afraid to order your toppings exactly how you like them.
Moving onto sweet vegetarian food in Turkey. Cezerye is confectionery made from, wait for it, carrots. But before you dismiss it as being rather bland, give it a try. You’ll find it very similar in texture to Turkish delight. Various nuts are usually added to it to give it a crunchier texture, so expect the heavy taste of pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts and coconut to hit your palette
Still hungry? Then tuck into some Baklava, which is pastry filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios and then sweetened with syrup or honey. Some people may find too rich however it is popular in Turkey and sold in most restaurants and supermarkets.
Contrary to popular belief, delicious vegetarian food in Turkey is easy to find and it won’t bust your budget either. If you are thinking of cheap holidays abroad and are hampering after vegetarian food, fill your stomach by visiting a local restaurant or street stall for the tastiest meals you could wish for.
(Pictures taken from Flickr)