Turkish Breakfast

August 10, 2016
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

It’s good to have two or three dried fruits, a couple of different nuts, and a few seeds like sesame, flax, or even hemp. I played around with various things I had in my pantry for sweetness and ultimately settled on date molasses, but honey is great or that Turkish favorite pekmez. I love a dollop of tahini on top—it’s like a little touch of grown-up peanut butter flavor and doubly good if you add some sesame seeds to the mix.

Use this recipe as a guide and fill in or substitute with whatever you have or like best. Play around and experiment. I think three different ingredients in each category—fruits, nuts, seeds—makes for the most exciting dish, with multiple textures and layers of flavor, but if you only have one in each category, it’s still going to taste very good.

I admit I’ve even taking to filling a plastic bag with the nuts, fruits, and seeds to bring to the airport when I’m traveling. Combined with a plain yogurt—purchased after security—it’s a better meal than just about anything else you can find. You can’t bring the sweeteners, but you can usually at least find honey somewhere, even if it’s meant for tea. —Sara Jenkins

What You'll Need
  • 12 ounces thick plain yogurt, such as Siggi's, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, or Fage
  • 1 tablespoon well-blended tahini
  • 1 tablespoon date molasses (silan)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 2 ounces (2 to 4) dried figs, cut into eighths
  • 2 ounces (6 to 8) dried apricots, cut into strips
  • 2 ounces (about 2 or 3 tablespoons) dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 pinch Turkish dried crushed chile, Aleppo pepper, urfa biber, or isot (optional)
  1. Divide the yogurt in half in two bowls and, using a spoon, smooth it around to form a hollow in the middle. Drizzle the tahini and the date molasses around the yogurt and fill in the hollow with the dried nuts and fruits. Sprinkle the mint and the chile, if using. Eat immediately (it will hold for about 15 to 20 minutes, but it’s so quick to make you might as well just make it and eat it).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • Evren Bingøl
    Evren Bingøl
  • Oui, c'est bon
    Oui, c'est bon
  • Sara Jenkins
    Sara Jenkins
  • Annie Ozsarac
    Annie Ozsarac

5 Reviews

Nancy February 17, 2023
This is an inspired take on the typical and quite literally granola banal take on a yoghurt breakfast.
I renamed it the ethereal breakfast. 🌞
Evren B. August 25, 2016
Only thing turkish about this is urfa, isot and marash. Also we use grape molasses. Google "kahvalti" and check images. I am not trolling, I swear :). It is just the facts.
Sara J. November 29, 2016
evren i appreciate the comment, having lived and travelled quite a bit in the middle east I have always loved the yogurt for breakfast wether its manaeesh in Beirut or what i cam across this spring in a (admitedly very international) luxury hotel in Istanbul. There they had a breakfast bar with all sorts of toppings to go with yogurt, I fell hard for the mini jars of tahini and the grape molasses as well as the chili. There weren't really any instructions on how to combine it into a perfect Turkish breakfast but I did really fall in love with the dish as much for the flexibility (this morning I added dried Iranian rose petals) as the specific flavors. I call it Turkish breakfast on my menu because I want people in the US to see and learn how wonderful Middle Eastern food is and opposed to being scared of unfamiliar flavors and I want them to know when something is delicious where it comes from.
Annie O. September 13, 2019
Turkish inspired breakfast would be a more apt title. I have lived in Turkey for almost two decades and never have I seen a breakfast like this except for at hotels with foreign tourists. I agree, this is a tasty breakfast that most tourist hotels will serve that I always enjoy when I go to them on occasion, but the proper Turkish breakfast is almost sacred in Turkish families--my Turkish husband and half Turkish children can vouch for that! Turkish breakfast is a thing not to be missed and with maybe the exception of the tomatoes and cucumbers is quite different from breakfasts in the Middle East (in my experience of Middle Eastern breakfasts--wherein each country has its own take as well).
Oui, C. August 13, 2016
It's almost 10 pm and i cheated, inwas so hungry. Farmerstyle yogurt and ripped opened a package of dried cranberries &pecans. Also found toasted pumpkins seeds & sunflower seeds. Yum! Cannot wait for the full monte.