A Turkish(ish) Breakfast

August  8, 2013

Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Even if you can’t travel, you can breakfast!

Turkish Breakfast

Shop the Story

As a total breakfast person, I have great respect for cultures that really know how to put together a breakfast spread. I do like a simple piece of toast and cup of coffee for breakfast on occasion, but it doesn’t capture my fancy like the epic breakfasts of, say, Denmark or Germany -- both of which involve a seemingly endless parade of breads, meats, cheeses, spreads, and sometimes beer.

So, when a friend of mine and her Turkish husband took a group of our parents on a tour to Turkey (without me??!) and I started to get reports back about the marvelous breakfasts, I was very intrigued. And jealous. There was one day when I received a flurry of text messages to let me know they had eaten three breakfasts in a row -- my idea of a dream day!  

From what I’ve gathered, your general Turkish breakfast includes eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers (either sliced or as a chopped salad), maybe some olives, fresh cheese or yogurt, and bread, usually with honey or jam. There can be other elements, but those make up the backbone. Guided by nothing more than this vague second-hand knowledge, I decided to make my own Turkish, er, Turkish-ish, breakfast. You can cook your egg how you like, but I’d say a runny yolk is a must. It slips and slides around, mixing with the juices of the vegetables and the creamy yogurt into a flavorful mess that’s a perfect dip for your bread. Even if you can’t travel, you can breakfast!

Turkish(ish) Breakfast

Serves 1

1 egg (or 2)
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
1 good-sized scoop of thick (Greek-style) yogurt or labneh
Fluffy flatbread or bread for serving 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Emily Vikre

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • aysegul
  • AnnArborJoan
  • Clover88
  • dizzy tea
    dizzy tea
  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


aysegul September 3, 2014
of course not all on the same plate
AnnArborJoan August 15, 2013
This kind of breakfast is common in the Middle East and reminds me of the wonderful Israeli breakfasts. I sometimes add a dollop of mayonnaise for the vegetables.
fiveandspice August 16, 2013
Clover88 August 11, 2013
This caught my eye during the week and I made it this morning for breakfast with fresh eggs right out from under our chickens and veggies from the Saturday Farmers' Market. We made the "glorious mess" and loved it. A new "go to breakfast" for weekend mornings!
fiveandspice August 11, 2013
Wow, that sounds like the perfect version! Wish I could steal my eggs right out from under the chickens!
dizzy T. August 11, 2013
Hah, I am Turkish and I have to agree that the full Turkish breakfast is pretty amazing (and not for the faint hearted). Hope you get to travel soon and try the authentic breakfast (or three breakfasts!). xxx
fiveandspice August 11, 2013
Thank you so much!
Oui, C. August 9, 2013
Ahhh....Turkish(ish) is among my favorite cuisines! I was in Istanbul a few months back and can attest to the quality of their breakfasts....I miss them so.
fiveandspice August 10, 2013
Ooh, lucky you! What a fun place to get to visit! I can well believe you'd miss the breakfasts. :)
BoulderGalinTokyo August 9, 2013
Thank you for starting this column. Breakfast is my "weakest" time of day, so I'm always looking for new ideas!
fiveandspice August 9, 2013
Hope they wind up being helpful! :)
Kitchen B. August 8, 2013
Great to see food52ers becoming columnists.

I loveeeeeee this. I've heard superb things about Turkish breakfasts, especially about kaymak - a type of clottted cream, served with honey (read: http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/snapshots-from-istanbul-turkish-breakfast-is-awesome.html). Someday, I'll watch beautifully embroidered rugs move with the wind, while I feast on a seasoned tomato-cucumber salad, eating kaymak and the softest bread ever.

Thanks for 'travelling' by breakfast.
fiveandspice August 9, 2013
Yes! I've heard of kaymak as well! And as a total cream devotee, I am dreaming of trying it some time.
HalfPint August 8, 2013
I've fantasized about a Turkish breakfast ever since I watched Bourdain in Istanbul having a full breakfast with fresh flatbread, cheese and tomatoes. That was enough for me to want to fly out there just for breakfast(s).
fiveandspice August 9, 2013
That's how I felt after hearing about it too!