I recently visited Istanbul, and once there, I quickly fell in love with Turkish food. I booked myself a food tour (through Istanbul Eats who I can wholeheartedly recommend) and spent a good six hours traipsing through the Beyoğlu neighborhood and trying some amazing food. A lot of dishes hinted at the Middle-Eastern food I already know and love, but there were also some completely new flavors. After the tour, I made my way to the spice bazaar, and when I returned home, laden with Turkish spices and nuts (and Turkish delights, of course), I was ready to incorporate Turkish flavors into my everyday cooking. I devised this soup to try out a mixture of dried vegetables I’d purchased at the spice bazaar as well as the spices, and I ended up quite happy with my little experiment.
Turkish Bean and Vegetable Soup
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Turkish red pepper*
- 3/4 cup Turkish dried vegetables**
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (15-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 Tbsp dried mint
- 1 large (28 – 32 ounces) can white beans, drained and rinsed***
- 1 large (28 – 32 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp ground sumac
- salt, to taste
*Or other crushed red pepper. Adjust based on your spice preference – you can also add more at the end, if desired.
**I found these at the spice bazaar in Istanbul, and they look to be a mix of carrots, peppers, tomatoes, celery, onion, and garlic. If you can’t find a mix like this, you can substitute your favorite dried vegetables or use fresh vegetables instead.
***I used small white beans for variety of size, but any of your favorite white beans should do.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, then sautee 1 onion, thinly sliced until translucent and starting to darken, about 10 minutes.
- Add 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced and 1/2 – 1 tsp Turkish red pepper, and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add 3/4 cup Turkish dried vegetables, 4 cups vegetable stock, 1 (15-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp dried thyme, and 1/2 Tbsp dried mint, and stir together. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer until the vegetables are just about cooked through, about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Stir in 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed and 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, and let simmer together until the beans are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in 1 tsp ground sumac and salt, to taste.