Haydari (Turkish Yoghurt Dip)


Haydari is a Turkish yoghurt meze. Herbed and spiced yoghurt, so to speak. There is another variety of it which uses both yoghurt and feta cheese. The recipe below uses yoghurt only. But, I know how to make cheesy one, too. So, I will publish that one as well as soon as I have the photo. Stay tuned, Peoples…

Haydari is made from very thick, strained yoghurt. In Australia, a yoghurt that ‘thick’ is very difficult to find. So, I use Farmers Union Greek Style Natural Yoghurt. It is gelatine free and does the job nicely. I also want my Haydari is a little bit more spreadable. I must admit, real Haydari looks as if you would need knife and fork to eat.

I do have a vegan version of Haydari here on VegFusion, by the way. I remember substituting real yoghurt with Tofutti Sour Supreme and lemon juice. It is close but still not quite the same. Anyway, you can find Vegan Haydari recipe here.

Haydari (Turkish Yoghurt Dip) is very easy to make and is a great addition to any meze platter. Here’s the recipe…

Haydari (Turkish Yoghurt Dip)

1 cup Farmer’s Union Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Turkish ground sweet paprika (Use Hungarian sweet paprika if you can’t get Turkish one)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried spearmint
½ tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt to taste

• In a small bowl, mix together yoghurt, olive oil, crushed garlic, cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper, dried mint and parsley.
• Salt to taste and serve.

Serving Suggestions
Haydari is served along with other mezes as part of a meze platter. You could also serve Haydari with:
Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
• Fresh bread (preferably Turkish bread)
• Toasted rustic bread
• Corn Fritters
Mücver (Zucchini Fritters)
• Crudités
• Water crackers
• Pitta bread

Afiyet olsun Peoples!

Eggplant (Aubergine) Rolls

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I have been planning on making some sort of eggplant rolls for a very long time. I even found out how to tie up the rolls with spring onion but it seems like I had to wait until I had some left overs to put together this:

Eggplant (Aubergine) Rolls
4 grilled eggplant (aubergine) slices in oil, drained (choose the smaller ones)
1 potato, peeled and boiled
8 split green olives marinated with chilli and garlic
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley chopped
4 toothpicks

• Mash boiled potato with a fork or a potato masher. Chop 4 olives and add to mashed potato. Add half the parsley and mix well.
• Spread the eggplants over a large plate fill them up with potato mixture and roll.
• Secure each eggplant with an olive and arrange on a serving plate.
• Sprinkle the remainder of parsley and serve.

Recipe Notes: I didn’t use any seasoning in the potato mixture because the olives are very salty.

Curried Potato Salad, VegFusion style

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I find potatoes incredibly versatile –yet, please don’t make me list all the things you can make by using potatoes here. Anyway, potato salads are probably one of my favourites in the realm of potato possibilities.

Just like my other dishes here on VegFusion, my version of this classic is –again –different. I actually don’t boil potatoes for salads anymore; I ActiFry them. The recipe below, yhough, covers both boiled version as well as my version which is ActiFried. Hope you enjoy VegFusion style curried potato salad.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tbsp (heaped) vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp (heaped) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp mild curry powder
Fresh chives, chopped

• Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, add ½ tablespoon salt, and reduce to a gentle boil. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain into a colander.
• If you own an ActiFry; place the potato cubes in your ActiFry and add a tbsp of vegetable oil. Set the timer to 25 minutes. When it’s done, place the potatoes in a large bowl and let it cool.
• Place mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl; whisk to combine.
• Add potatoes, green onions and chives to mayonnaise mixture. Stir to combine.
• Chill until ready to serve.
• Sprinkle the salad with more fresh chives and serve.

Lentil Salad, Deli Style

Super easy, super delicious. That’s all I have to say about that. Forest Gump 🙂

Lentil Salad, Deli Style

Lentil Salad, Deli Style
1 tin lentils, drained and rinsed and drained again
4 artichoke hearts in brine, halved
4 chargrilled red peppers, sliced thinly
A handful flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian or continental parsley)
A few twigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves separated
A big glug extra virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper

• Combine the lentils, artichoke hearts, red pepper strips, parsley and lemon thyme in a salad bowl.
• Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
• Add salt and pepper. Gently mix well and serve!

Peperonata, VegFusion Style

VeganMoFo Day 8

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Peperonata is one of the classic Italian antipasto dishes. These colourful peppers are served at the start of each meal around Mediterranean region. My version, though, is not the classic version of this famous starter. I thought, I’d better warn you beforehand. I think balsamic vinegar adds tanginess to sweet peppers. Try serving Peperonata with olives, baby potato salad and some crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices.

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2/3 each red, green and yellow capsicum (bell Pepper), seeded
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

• Grill capsicums until skin blisters and blackens.
• Cool slightly and peel the skin.
• Cut the capsicums into thin strips and place into a bowl. Add chopped parsley and season with freshly ground black pepper.
• Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and spoon into a serving bowl. Serve lightly chilled.

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Ajvar, Croation Style

VeganMoFo Day 3
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Basically, Ajvar is a roasted eggplant and sweet bell pepper dip. There are many variations around Mediterranean countries as well as in Balkan region. It can be served as a spread or a dip with crackers or crudités but traditionally it is served with grilled meat which reminds me that it would be a great topping for Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks.

2 large eggplants, washed and dried
6 large red bell peppers, washed and dried
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and black pepper

• Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
• Place the eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet (2 layers if it is thin) and roast until their skins blister and turn black. This should take about 40 minutes depending on the oven.
• By using tongs, remove the vegetables from the oven and put them in a glass bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set aside for 10 minutes. This will make the peeling process easier.
• Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your Ajvar. Add crushed garlic and lemon juice, salt, pepper and oil. Stir well.
• Transfer Ajvar onto a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if you’re using.
• Serve as a dip or a topping to your seitan, vegan steaks and anywhere else you might like to use Ajvar. Enjoy!

Note: Store the remaining Ajvar in a clean glass jar. This way, it can be stored in the fridge up to 1 week.


Turkish Stuffed Vine Leaves, Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarma or Dolma

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After seeing quite a few bad examples of stuffed vine leaves or even Greek dolmades, I thought it’s time I did something about it. I always have a jar of the leaves in my pantry just in case I get in to the mood. Yes, it is time consuming and getting it right is difficult especially if you don’t have gas kitchen but once it is done properly, they are just divine.

There are many different styles of stuffed vine leaves in Turkey. One of them is the mince one and that one is served warm with garlic yoghurt. Non-meat version on the other hand is light and lemony although in certain parts of Turkey many use chickpeas, bulgur or even lentils instead of rice. From the area where my father’s family come from, there is even a semi-raw version. Actually, best leaves come from that area too.

33 pieces vine leaves in brine
1 cup medium-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp dried currants
½ tbsp dried spearmint
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley (leaves only), finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil or processed olive oil (the variety that you can cook with, not extra virgin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

• Place the vine leaves in a large bowl and fill it up with hot water. Soak them for 20 minutes.
• To make the filling; place the rice, onion, oil, parsley, mint, pine nuts, currants, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
• Remove the leaves and squeeze any excess water out, cut off any stems –some leaves come with stems still attached and some don’t. Reserve 3 leaves to line the saucepan.
• Get yourself 2 large flat plates; one for the rolling process and the other one for rolled ones. I actually don’t like to work on a chopping board as it is messier that way.
• Lay a leaf glossy/smoother side down on the plate –stalk end should be at the top. Place 1 tbsp of filling at the base of the split and spread the filling, making sure that it is a long line, not a fat and short one. Fold the tops over the filling –they should overlap a little–then the left and right sides into the middle. Roll firmly towards the tip. Pop it onto the other plate and repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.
• Judging by the number of stuffed leaves; choose the right size of a heavy-based, stainless steel saucepan. Mine was 18cm in diameter. Line the bottom of it with the reserved vine leaves. Drizzle with a little bit of oil. Pack the dolmas tightly in one layer and then another. Boil some water, pour it over the dolmas and cover with an inverted plate although I used 2 saucers as my breakfast plates are a little big for the job. The reason for this is that you need enough water to cook the rice in the filling but once it starts boiling dolmas start to float around. To make things worse, it doesn’t matter how tightly they are wrapped, they release their content into the water.
• Put the lid on and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until all that water is absorbed and the rice is cooked thoroughly.
• Pour freshly squeezed lemon juice over and set aside to cool. Remove the dolmas with fork and spoon once they are cool. Arrange them on a serving plate and serve cold with lemon slices.

Note: Any unused leaves should be stored in brine in the fridge. Depending on the salt content they last for quite some time until you are brave enough to make another batch of stuffed vine leaves.

Sprido – Spring Onion and Avocado Dip

Fusion of spring onion and avocado. I have had this avocado dip recipe for a long time which uses hard-boiled egg and thought about “veganising” it. So I experimented with silken tofu but Tofutti is just as fine as anything.

1 ripe avocado
50 gr silken tofu or Tofutti
1 spring onion
1 large clove garlic
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

• Cut the avocado all the way around by using a sharp knife. Twist into two pieces. Hold the half with the stone in one hand, hit stone sharply with blade of knife, twist knife to release the stone. You either mash the avocado while in the skin or scrape it into a bowl and then mash it with silken tofu or Tofutti making sure that the mixture is smooth.

• Wash and trim spring onion and chop its white bit finely. Slice the green bit and set aside (You don’t need the whole thing; only a little bit of it is enough. Rest can be added to the dip itself).

• Crush garlic and add to the bowl with chopped spring onion. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

• Transfer Sprido into a serving dish and decorate it with the green bits you set aside earlier on and serve with crudités or bread sticks.

Note: If you would like to spice it up a little, use 1 tsp of chilli flakes instead of pepper.

Vegan Cheese Spread/Meze

Vegan Cheese Spread/Meze

This is one of my Turkish mezes and its vegan version is just as good as the non-vegan version. So, there is no compromise on the taste department.
The original recipe uses feta cheese but I tried making it with vegan cheese -that is
Cheezly White Cheddar- and it turned out to be just as fantastic as the
vegetarian version.  I bought mine from Vegan Perfection stand during The
Cruelty Free Festival some years ago. The crumbily texture works well in this
recipe. You can buy your vegan cheese from Cruelty Free Shop or Vegan Perfection.

½ pack Cheezly White Cheddar (the type that does not melt)
¼ cup walnuts
1 tbsp tomato paste (plain)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp
Ground sweet paprika


  • Cut the vegan cheese. Put it in a flat plate and mash it well with a fork. Transfer into a bowl.
  • Roughly chop the walnuts and crush garlic.
  • Combine the vegan cheese with paprika, cumin, walnuts, garlic and tomato paste. Drizzle the mixture with olive oil and mix well.
  • Either serve it as a dip with dipping bread or spread on mini toasts.
Note: It is best to make this dip just before serving. However, if this is not the case put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Take it out ½ hour before serving as it gets hard in the fridge which makes it difficult to spread.

Roasted Capsicum Salad with Walnuts

Roasted Capsicum Salad WalnutsCapsicums take on a slightly smoky flavour if roasted in the oven to make a fresh, colourful and delicious salad.

1 large red capsicum
1 large yellow capsicum
1 large green capsicum
½ cup walnut kernels (shelled)
½ bunch continental parsley
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the grill.
  • Quarter the capsicums, remove the cores and seeds then squash them flat with the back of your hands. Arrange the capsicums skin side up on the baking tray.
    Grill capsicums until skin blisters and blackens. This will take about 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove the capsicums from the oven, cover with a clean tea towel until they are cool enough handle. Then peel off the skins and cut them into thin strips and place into a bowl.
  • Chop walnuts coarsely and parsley finely then add to the capsicums.
  • Mix olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and combine well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Recipe Note: Roasted Capsicum Salad with Walnuts can be prepared a day before and stored in the fridge until serving time.