My favorite part about summer is the wide variety of fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market. I cannot remember the last time I opened a can of vegetables or really any food for that matter, as Turkey’s fertile land provides over 30 million tons of vegetables annually. In the last five years or so Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetables have become very popular which has increased their exportation to over 100 destinations throughout the world.
I want to share with you a few of my favorite Turkish salad recipes. I encourage you to try these the next time you are grilling, adding a refreshing summer salad as a part of your meal.
Çoban Salatası (Turkish Shepherd Salad)
A simple refreshing and tasty salad made with a handful of ingredients. It is commonly served as a part of the meze, which are small dishes served before the main course. This salad goes with any meal. Takes about 10 minutes to prepare!
- 1 medium-sized onion peeled & finely chopped
- 1 medium cucumber seeds removed & finely chopped
- 1 large green pepper or two-finger peppers, seeded & finely chopped
- 1 large tomato seeded & finely chopped
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 small handful parsley chopped
- small handful mint chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tsp apple vinegar
- salt & pepper to season
- First of all, sprinkle the sumac over your chopped onion, give it a squeeze and add to a small mixing bowl.
- Now add your cucumber, peppers and tomato. Mix gently.
- Time for the parsley and mint. Mix those, too.
- Add your dressing ingredients to a ramekin dish or similar and mix before pouring over your shepherd’s salad.
Piyaz Fasulye (White Bean Salad)
Piyaz is a traditional Turkish salad. Most of Turkey makes this dish without the dressing. In Antalya, however, piyaz is served in tahini sauce, topped with sliced onions, hard-boiled egg, olive oil and parsley. Piyaz is often eaten as an accompaniment to köfte and similar grilled meats, but it can also be served as a meze in some restaurants.
- 1+3/4 cups of cooked/canned dried beans
- 1 hardboiled egg
- 1 tomato,
- Olive oil
- 2 TBLSP cooked/canned dried beans
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Fresh juice of 1 small lemon
- 2 tablespoons of grape vinegar
- 1/2 cup of water
Soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Add clean water into a pot and cook the beans until softened. Add 1 tsp. salt then boil for another 5 minutes. Strain and set aside. Dash sumac on onion, toss and let sit for 5 minutes Mix the parsley, onions, and beans.
Put all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce over the top of the beans. Serve topped with boiled eggs and black olives.
Bulgur and Summer Vegetable Salad
(Bulgur Ve Yaz Sebze Salatası)
In Turkish cuisine, bulgur, better known as ‘cracked wheat,’ is a staple and one of the most common ingredients found in Turkish pantries. You will find it summer salads when combined with seasonal vegetables and herbs. In this recipe, the cracked wheat is paired with summer squashes, vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil. It’s a colorful salad that can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- 1 1/2 cups fine bulgur
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 zucchini or courgetti squash
- 1 yellow summer squash
- 2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes or mini heirloom tomatoes
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- In a large saucepan, add the bulgur, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Let the bulgur simmer gently until all the water evaporates. Turn off the heat and let the bulgur continue to steam and cool down.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Wash and dice the squash and cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters depending on their size. Wash the basil leaves and pinch off the stems.
- In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the diced squash for a few minutes until slightly softened. Set aside and let it cool.
- When the bulgur is completely cool, use your fingers or a wooden spoon to separate the grains. Add the salt and toss it through. Pour in the 1/3 cup olive oil and work it through all the bulgur evenly. Add the lemon juice and mix again.
- Add the cooled chopped vegetables to the bulgur and toss gently but thoroughly. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves and again, toss them through. (If the basil leaves are very large, you can tear them into smaller pieces before you add them.)
- Either serve immediately or chill until later. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Cacık (Yogurt with Cucumber)
Yogurt and cucumber is a great summer salad when the days are hot and you want something to cool you off. I have seen this salad also served as a dip with a variety of vegetables. Cacik also makes for a great cucumber sandwich.
2 Cucumbers, grated or chopped into small dice
2 cup Yoghurt
¼ cup Water
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Dry mint
2 tbsp. Olive oil
In a large bowl combine the yogurt and water. Add salt and garlic, whisk until smooth. If it is too thick you may add a little bit of water to bring it to soup consistency. Finally add the cucumbers, divide among bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with dried mint.
Patates (Potato Salad)
Potato Salad goes well along with any meat selection. I like this salad because it is light and has a slight tanginess to the flavor.
4 Potatoes, large, boiled, peeled, and cut into large dice
1 bunch Parsley, finely chopped
5-6 Scallions, finely sliced
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
2 tsp. Cumin
1 ½ Lemon, juiced
4 tbsp. Olive oil
Place the potato cubes in a large bowl. Add scallions and parsley. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil and lemon juice, then add salt, pepper, and cumin. Pour this sauce over the potatoes and mix well. If you prefer to make it spicy, you may add some red pepper flakes.
Yeşil Zeytin Salatası (Green Olive Salad)
1 cup Green olives, seeds removed
½ cup Walnut meat, coarsely chopped
1 bunch Parsley leaves, chopped finely
2 Scallions, finely sliced
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Red pepper paste
2-3 tbsp. Olive oil
1 Lemon, juiced
1 tsp. Salt (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the olives, walnuts, parsley, and scallions. In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, garlic, and pepper paste. Pour this dressing over the olives and mix well. Keep in the fridge for about 1-2 hours before serving.
I hope you try one of these amazing dishes with your next meal. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
Bon Appétit Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.