Stories

Our Vegan Favourites in Turkey

 

Since going vegan, Cody and I have truly gained a new appreciation for food.

We become so excited to try new vegan dishes we have never seen before, and it is an added bonus when we know these dishes are healthy.

You won’t have a problem eating vegan while travelling in Turkey. There are plenty of beautiful plant based dishes to choose from.

LENTIL SOUP

Unlike our stir fried vegetables with steam rice option when there was nothing else to choose from in South East Asia, we ate lentil soup almost everyday in Turkey when we had other options and never got tired of it.

Lentil Soup in Istanbul, Turkey

The lentil soup in Turkey is amazing, but  be sure to ask whether it is made with butter. Some restaurants will add butter to it while they are cooking it, and others will add it to the top. There are plenty of restaurants that make it without animal products.

SIMIT

Simit is Turkey’s famous bread. It is similar to a bagel, crunchy on the out side, soft on the inside, and always delicious. You can find it all over Turkey, in the tourist areas, and local bakeries.

SIMIT IN TURKEY

They usually have sesame seeds all over them. Make sure to choose the simit that is not shiny. The shiny one is washed with egg. When we were in a hurry, we would pick up a few simits and bananas, and head out.

POMEGRANATE JUICE

The jewel of the fruit world. A fruit I love so much that I got it tattooed on my shin!

POMEGRANATE

Bursting with ruby red juice, these seeds pack a superfood punch, and add such simple beauty to any dish. We found pomegranate juice vendors all over Turkey, and definitely got our fix during our time there. Grab a cup of fresh squeezed pom juice, and a simit, and you have a great simple light lunch.

STEAMED CORN AND ROASTED CHESTNUTS

You can find steamed corn and roasted chestnuts in the tourist area of Sultanahmet in Istanbul (check out our post on out top 5 things to do in Istanbul)

CHESTNUTS

You can’t miss the wonderful smell. There are also dark chocolate covered chestnuts around Turkey as well, but we weren’t sure whether the dark chocolate was real dark chocolate with no milk so we opted out.

STUFFED PEPPERS AND VINE LEAVES

The stuffed peppers and vine leaves are one of my favourite dishes. They are usually stuffed with rice, tomatoes, and spices.

STUFFED PEPPERS

The stuffed red peppers are sweet, and the vine leaves are made with many spices including lemon salt, giving them an aromatic flavour.

AUBERGINE SALAD

Eggplant is amazing any way you cook it, but this aubergine dish is grilled, chopped up, and garlic and olive oil is added. It’s simple and so delicious. It is traditionally eaten as a cold starter or “meze” but it was always one of our main dishes.

BAKLAVA

Oh my god, Baklava. I am not ashamed to say that while in Turkey I obsessively seeked out vegan baklava in every city we stopped in. It’s just that good!! It is such a beautiful, light, sweet, and simple dessert.

BAKLAVA

Made with light layers of flaky pastry, all types of nuts, and sugar syrup. Again, it is not always vegan. A lot of the time it is made with butter. We told people we were allergic to butter so we wouldn’t be lied to just so they could make a few bucks.

We found a handful of places that made it with oil instead of butter, and it was amaaaaaaaazing.

PISMANIYE

Pismaniye is pretty much cotton candy. It is flour blended and roasted in butter or oil, and then pulled in sugar.

DSC_4624

We found several brands made with oil rather than butter. It is sweet, light and stringy.

TURKISH DELIGHT

I was told that turkish delight is made with bovine gelatine which is really really gross, but the traditional recipe for turkish delight is actually made with corn starch, which made us very happy.

DSC_2124

We didn’t try any that was sold by the kg as we weren’t sure about the ingredients, but we found plenty of turkish delight in boxes with the ingredients in plain english. The best we had was coconut and pistachio. So sweet, and chewy. It reminded me of marshmallow.

I could go on with all of the vegan food, but I’ll leave it up to you to find more vegan eats.
(Check out our blog on vegan food in the country of Georgia)

It’s all part of the adventure!!

 

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Comments To This Entry.
  1. Amélie September 30, 2015 Reply

    Yum! Can’t wait to be there!

    • Giselle and Cody October 4, 2015 Reply

      You are going to have such a great time Amélie!! The food, the culture, the history etc….. There is so much to see, eat and do in Turkey.

  2. Natalie October 1, 2015 Reply

    I love the lentil soup! Best cure for a hangover

    • Giselle and Cody October 4, 2015 Reply

      Hahaha neither one of us had to try it for a hangover but we will keep that in mind.

  3. Wendy@TheNomadicVegan October 10, 2015 Reply

    This all looks so delicious, and so much of it reminds me of the amazing vegan food in Greece! It’s sad that there is so much political conflict between the two countries, as they clearly share a great deal when it comes to culture. Like you two, I have become a total foodie since becoming vegan. Although I’ve been to Turkey before, I now can’t wait to go back and experience its cuisine as a vegan! Which is pretty much what I say about every country now 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody October 22, 2015 Reply

      Wow, we can only imagine all of the incredible food in Greece. We haven’t made it there yet, but it’s on our list 😉
      Enjoy your culinary experience in Turkey. It will be a delicious one!

  4. Karianne October 11, 2015 Reply

    When we visited Istanbul a few years ago, we weren’t vegetarian – but we did eat a lot of lentil soup and stuffed vine leaves. You don’t need to be vegetarian to enjoy those!!

    Istanbul is one of my favourite cities and I can’t wait to go back as a vegetarian! It’s great to know that we will have lots of veggie options to choose from! And we can eat Turkish Delight!

    • Giselle and Cody October 22, 2015 Reply

      Mmmmm the lentil soup in Turkey was the best we’ve ever had. And you can’t go wrong with unlimited fresh bread!
      Enjoy your trip back!

  5. Jojo October 17, 2015 Reply

    I’ve had Turkey in my sights for a while and I’m hoping to get there in the next year or so. A friend visited recently and ate copious amounts of Turkish delight and now after seeing your picture of it too I’m totally craving it!

    • Giselle and Cody October 18, 2015 Reply

      Hey Jojo, thanks so much for commenting. Hope all is well with you on your travels. Turkey was a really easy place to travel and eat delicious vegan food. Didn’t have any issues and everyone was very accommodating with our requests. Turkish delight is so delicious and I am sure we could have eaten our weight in it.

  6. Elizabeth October 22, 2015 Reply

    Every one looks delicious!

  7. Lucia Pereira December 31, 2015 Reply

    Yes, Turkey was fantastic for Vegan options….the scenery was amazing, the country side was spectacular, the culture deep and colourful, the people warm and friendly
    AND the food very delicious and abundant….love my visit there….if anyone has a chance to visit Turkey, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!

  8. eternitysojourner January 12, 2016 Reply

    Glad you had such a great visit! We’re a vegan family living here in Turkey and planning our first trip to Istanbul this weekend. Can you recall the name or location of any places where you’ve found vegan baklava in Istanbul? I was heartbroken when I discovered that baklava is usually made with butter and brushed with eggs. :/

    • Giselle and Cody January 17, 2016 Reply

      Hey guys, sorry we didn’t get back to you earlier on this. Where in Turkey are you living?

      We ended up just asking one lady what she used and she didn’t mention any animal products so we asked her again. 🙂
      I wish we could remember where it was. Best bet is to just ask what they use in the baklava and hopefully you will find one.

      Enjoy Istanbul!!!

  9. eternitysojourner June 8, 2016 Reply

    I’m even later in responding! We’re in Ankara and found a gluten-free bakery that does vegan baklava and one other in Istanbul. Hope you can pass through again on your world tour. Congratulations!

    • Giselle and Cody June 13, 2016 Reply

      Thanks so much for the congrats! We are pretty excited to take off and explore some new countries.
      Mmmmmmmm, vegan baklava in turkey was so delicious. Hope you guys are having a great trip!!!

  10. Shivya Nath April 4, 2017 Reply

    Damn, I miss Turkey. Can I go back already?!

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