14 Turkish Recipes To Experience The Country's Diverse Cuisine

Pilaf, kaymak, crisp-edged flatbreads, and the world's best grilled cheese sandwich

The Essentials Turkish Tools
Turkey is a vast and diverse country, where the cuisines of Asia and the Middle East blend seamlessly into the dishes of Northern Africa and Eastern Europe. "Eating across Turkey can seem like eating across nations," says Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul and Beyond, and we love the ways the continent-spanning flavors come together in some of the country's most iconic dishes, like the classic stuffed eggplant known as imam bayildi, or lamb-stuffed manti dumplings tossed in a brown butter tomato sauce. With the right tools, and these 14 recipes, you'll be that much closer to experiencing the flavors of this country's alluring, distinct cuisine.Matt Taylor-Gross
Inspanakli Gozleme (Spinach-Filled Anatolian Flatbreads)
turkish gozleme
This recipe, adapted from Ghillie Basan's Classic Turkish Cooking, is exemplary of the dozens of regional variations of Anatolia's ubiquitous stuffed flatbread. Get the recipe for Inspanakli Gozleme (Spinach-Filled Anatolian Flatbreads) »Kat Craddock
Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama)
Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama)
Bugulama can be soupy, saucy or dry; cooked on the stovetop or in the oven; spare and simple, little more than fish poached on the bone with parsley and garlic, or lush with juicy tomatoes and lots of freshly churned Black Sea butter. Get the recipe for Turkish Steamed Anchovies and Tomatoes (Hamsi Bugulama) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)
Roasted Eggplant
This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Turkish Manti Lamb Dumplings
Lamb Dumplings
It's believed that these traditional meat-filled parcels were carried into Anatolia via the Silk Road. Regardless of their past, they have an unquestionable place at the Turkish table. This version is Turkish in origin but uses a technique derived from Armenian recipes: The dumplings are baked in the oven before boiling, allowing the meat to better flavor the dough and imparting a toasty aroma to the final dish. Get the recipe for Turkish Manti Lamb Dumplings »Matt Taylor-Gross
Turkish Grilled Cheese
Kumru
This specialty of Çesme, a small beach town in Turkey, is one of the world's great grilled cheese sandwiches, in which the cheese itself is grilled before getting slipped into toasted bread with raw tomato and optional (but highly recommended) toppings of griddled sausage and pickled cucumbers and chiles. Get the recipe for Turkish Grilled Cheese »Matt Taylor-Gross
Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant
Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant
A creamy eggplant purée, enriched with béchamel and Gruyère cheese, serves as a bed for meltingly tender lamb shanks, slow-braised in red wine and aromatics. Get the recipe Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant »Christina Holmes | Food Styling: Eugene Jho
Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac
Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac
Sumac, a brightly-flavored spice, lends color and lemony zing to a side dish of earthy, nutty freekeh—a popular Mediterranean grain. Get the recipe for Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac »Christina Holmes | Food Styling: Eugene Jho
Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream
Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream
This pleasantly tart soup is a welcome break from super-sweet desserts. The accompanying ice cream is made from kaymak, a traditional Turkish dairy product; crème fraîche makes a good substitute. Get the recipe for Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream »Cem Talu
Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard
Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard
Ground lamb adds rich flavor to this traditional Turkish meatballs. Serve them simply with mustard for a first course, or with rice or pasta for something more substantial. Get the recipe for Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard »Cem Talu
Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard
Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard
We love this quick braised side dish with Swiss chard, but any hearty green will work. Try it with bok choy, kale, or even green or purple cabbage. Get the recipe for Skillet-Braised Swiss Chard »Christina Holmes | Food Styling: Eugene Jho
Chilled Yogurt and Chickpea Soup
Yogurt and Chickpea Soup
Packed with green lentils, wheat berries, and black-eyed peas, this filling, tangy soup is brightened with handfuls of fresh parsley and mint. Get the recipe for Chilled Yogurt and Chickpea Soup »Cem Talu
Olive-Oil Poached Green Almonds with Dill
Olive Oil-Poached Green Almonds with Dill
Green almonds are a rare spring treat; simmering them in olive oil, orange juice, and aromatics mitigates their slightly bitter exterior, making them an irresistible cocktail party snack. Get the recipe for Olive-Oil Poached Green Almonds with Dill »Matt Taylor-Gross
Turkish Poached Eggs in Yogurt (Cilbir)
Turkish Poached Eggs in Yogurt (Cilbir)
Need a breakfast idea? This egg dish is perfect. Pair it with warm bread to mop up extra egg yolk and yogurt. Get the recipe for Turkish Poached Eggs in Yogurt (Cilbir) »André Baranowski
Turkish Flatbread With Lamb And Tomatoes (Lahmacun)
Lahmacun Turkish Flatbread
Bake these Turkish spiced lamb and tomato flatbreads on a heated pizza stone in the oven so that the crust and topping cook evenly. Get the recipe for Turkish Flatbread With Lamb And Tomatoes (Lahmacun) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)
Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)
A thick, flavorful marinade of mint, Aleppo pepper, and Turkish sweet red pepper paste caramelizes on the outside of these grilled chicken kebabs. Get the recipe for Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi) »Laura Sant