If I had to name my favourite cuisine, well I’m not sure I could. But I can tell you that Turkish food would have to be up there somewhere: fresh bread, hummous, stuffed aubergine, vegetable kofta, I could go on. Despite the meaty kebabs and sausages that would come to mind for a lot of people, it’s safe to say the Turkish cuisine is exceptionally vegetarian and vegan friendly.
So when Jet2holidays challenged me to create a meal inspired by one of their European destinations, it didn’t take much thought on my part and I chose the Antalya area of Turkey. I visited this region two years ago and spent a wonderful week there with my mum and sister.. The weather and scenery were fantastic, the food was even better! I’ve chosen to make two Turkish dishes from this region: this Antalyan White Bean Salad and a Tofu & Spinach Börek (recipe coming soon).
This white bean salad is based on the traditional Turkish ‘piyaz’ – a salad made from white beans, thinly sliced onion and a vinegar-based dressing topped with tomatoes and boiled eggs. What makes the Antalyan variation of piyaz that much more interesting is the addition of tahini. The creaminess of tahini makes it perfect for a vegan salad dressing so I knew I had to base my Antalyan recipe on this dish. To fully veganise the Turkish bean salad, I replaced the boiled egg with some crispy tofu.
I do have one confession to make though: ‘piyaz’ is actually Persian for ‘onion’ which is why onion is a central component of the salad. Mine doesn’t contain any onion. I’m really not a fan of raw onion – it’s so overpowering and you can taste it for the rest of the day – but if you wanted a more authentic version then add a thinly sliced white onion to the salad mix!
- For the salad:
- 235g cannellini beans, cooked
- 25g fresh parsley, chopped
- 1tsp black pepper
- For the Dressing:
- 3tbsp tahini
- 3tbsp lemon juice
- 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- For the Topping:
- 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
- 50g tofu, well pressed and cut into 4 pieces
- 2tsp olive oil
- 1tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- To prepare the tofu for the topping, heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the tofu slices and fry for around five minutes, turning occasionally, until it is crisp and golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
- Whilst the tofu is cooking, mix the dressing ingredients together until they are smooth. The tahini may appear to curdle at first but quickly becomes smooth.
- Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Mix in the dressing, until the beans are thoroughly coated.
- Top the bean salad with the tomatoes, fried tofu and extra parsley and serve.
Have you eaten Turkish food before? What was your favourite dish?
Jet2holidays provided a small budget for the ingredients used here but the recipe and all ideas, thoughts, photos, etc. are my own!