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Turkish food is based on fresh, seasonal produce with generous usage of nuts, legumes and olive oil.  I got some wonderful leafy, spring greens from the market the other day (similar to Swiss chard, though with tenderer leaves) and made this delicious greens cooked with onion and red peppers in olive oil, with pine nuts.

Leafy greens or Swiss chard with onions, peppers and pine nuts, cooked in olive oil

Leafy greens or Swiss chard with onions, peppers and pine nuts, cooked in olive oil

This dish is inspired by my hometown Antakya’s Zilk (similar to pazi, Swiss chard). Locals would use either leafy chard called zilk or spinach, including its entire stem. They may also add bulgur to make it a substantial meal.

I included sweet, juicy red bell peppers to my version, as well as the crunchy, creamy pine nuts, omitting bulgur. With a touch of zing from the lemon juice and a little heat from red pepper flakes, it turned out to be a very delicious vegetarian dish. We loved the crunchiness of the pine nuts here, they really complement the vegetables very well.

One of the participants attended my Turkish cookery class last Saturday was a Coeliac Expert and she was pleasantly surprised to see that Turkish cuisine offers a lot of good options for gluten-free diet. This dish is another good example.

Spices galore; at Antakya's historic Long Market, Uzun Carsi

Spices galore; at Antakya’s historic Long Market, Uzun Carsi

On a separate note, I am delighted to hear that Antakya – Hatay’s application to UNESCO to become a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy has now been approved. This will be a very well deserved recognition for the rich, varied Antakya cuisine. I hope you can make it to Antakya one day and experience all the culinary delights.

Delicious, refreshing & crunchy; leafy greens with pepers, onions and pine nuts


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