Pancake lovers out there will probably hate me for this, but I think that Americans get short changed when it comes to breakfast. Yes, the entire menu at IHOP is satisfying, but only in a short-term-enjoyment, long-term-low-blood-sugar-misery kind of way. The first time I had a full Turkish breakfast, it was like the clouds had parted and the plate had been sent down from the heavens. THIS is what breakfast should be.
There are no hard and fast rules about what is on the plate, as long as there is a little bit of everything: protein, fat, and carbs; meat, cheese, and veggies; savory and sweet. So, please, use your creative license.
You can eat it with bread on the side if you want, but you won’t miss it if it’s not there. It compliments coffee or tea or fresh juice – whatever is your morning drink of choice. And it is easy to prep in advance and throw it all on the plate first thing in the morning.
Best of all, this meal is so refreshing. It’s filling, but not heavy and very balanced in terms of flavors and nutrition. Plus, even though it’s called breakfast, it is a fantastic meal for any time of day!
By the way, scroll down past the recipe for a virtual tour of Istanbul!
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- Hard boiled eggs (typically one per person)
- Stuffed grape leaves
- Sliced green peppers
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced cucumbers
- Black olives
- Green olives
- Dried apricots
- Good quality cured meat (like salami)
- Good quality salty cheese (like feta)
- Good quality creamy cheese (like mozzarella)
- Sumac, salt and pepper, for sprinkling
- Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Cut the egg(s) in quarters and place in the center of the plate.
- Arrange the remaining items on the plate around the egg.
- Garnish the egg with sumac, salt and pepper, and sprinkle the entire plate with flatleaf parsley.
- If you are only making one serving, you only need a few of each item. If you're making a platter to feel multiple people, assume 2-4 pieces of each item per person. With so many edibles on the plate, you'll fill up fast!
- To make this vegetarian, simply omit the meat and add an additional hard boiled egg.
- If you want a little bit more sweetness, serve it with a dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread and some bread or cut up fruit to spread it on.
For more information about what I ate in Istanbul, click here!