Vegan expedition to Turkey

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TURKEYTurkey is rather a mandaory point on each travaler’s map. It is so close (I’m mean for Europeans) that it is so easy to get there by plane, car or one of those creative means of transport. On the other hand, although it’s located practically in Europe (at least partly), Turkey is a diversed country where an European can both feel at home (thinking often „I’m in Germany”:)) and lost, in case they end up somewhere by the Black Sea in the middle of Ramazan. If we talk about the food, it’s similar. There are some vegan restaurants in Istambul, or at least one. I didn’t check it out since looking for a place to eat is a waste of time. Why would I seek vegan bistros if I have slew of them in Poland… well… maybe not that many… 🙂 Anyways, I don’t think it is sensible to misuse the precious time which we have to explore and spend it on eating, or even worse, I mean on looking for something to eat.  We still have delicities of local cuisine.

Turks love meat

I’m not sure, I haven’t carried out any research but it seems to me that the majority of this world’s people just love meat. It is usually associated with prosperity and wealth. This is the case of Turkey. Kebab, the famous Turkish dish is everywhere and the view of Turkish cuisine has been determined by this particular meal. Luckily, the truth lays somewhere in between. Meat is number one in Turkish menu, but it doesn’t mean that there can’t be found anything vegan. In particular, if we’re talking about a country where bananas are grown and there’s a big diversity of fruits and vegetables. What is more, meat isn’t or hasn’t been affordable by everyone so the cunning people had to come up with ideas of tasty dishes which can be prepared at a lower cost.

Çiğ Köfte

Something made of bulgar, it is usually well spiced up, served with a bit of pomegranate juice and enrolled in lavash/pita accompanied with veggies. You will find it almost everywhere. There are even bar specialized in preparation of Çiğ Köfte.


Pancakes or rather tortilla filled with differetn stuffing. The vegan ones are with spinach or potatoes. They are often served with cheese so you have to inform the seller that you want it wothout it (in Turkish it will be peynirsees).

Kısır in other words tabbouleh

A salad made of bulgar, tomatoes, cucambers and something green.


Rice enrolled in grape’s leaves. There are also non-vegan dolmas.


Good snack – Turkish pretzel. You can choose it with sesame, poppy, salt…


I stumbled upon blogs pointing out baklava as vegan. Nevertheless, I didn’t find the vegan version. As I was told it is always prepared with butter so I don’t know where the olive oil version is made.

While talking about vegan sweets I have to mention CESERYE (jeserie) – overboiled carrot which after becoming thick is enriched with nuts and dried fruits. There are versions with and without sugar. Unfortunately as I experienced it is really hard to find a good ceserye. The best ones I tried were originated from Trabzon and Antep.

At the bazaars and special shops you can also find baklavas filling, that is, smashed pistachios. It looks like green rolls and it’s extremly sweet. But worth trying!


Sweet pudding inside which you can find almost everything. Together with dried fruits there are also chickpeas!

Turkish delight

Don’t like it but it’s vegan and there are a lot of versions. It’s starch supplemented with rose water with nuts. dried fruits and so on…

There are also other meals I didn’t try: Zeytinyağlı Enginar (artichoke with green peas, carrot and potatoes), Acılı Ezme (souse made of tomato, red pepper, garlic and parsley), Patlıcan Ezmesi (eggplant puree), Mısır (corn)…



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