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Karnabahar Yemeği – A Recipe For Turkish Cauliflower Stew

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More seasonal eating for this article. It’s cauliflower season and we’ve got a great recipe for you. Traditionally Turkish, very easy to make, seasonal, tasty and healthy, too.

We’re going to make karnabahar yemeği. And the best description we can give you for that is Turkish cauliflower stew.

We’re loving our winter veggies and cauliflower is in its prime on the markets of Fethiye. We need to make the most of it!

Often, we’ll do a roasted cauliflower recipe or an Indian dish. But for warming comfort food, it’s all about the basic Turkish cauliflower stew.

Broccoli And Cauliflower Season
Plump cauliflowers on Fethiye Tuesday market

Karnabahar Yemeği – Turkish Cauliflower Stew

‘Cauliflower stew’ sounds as though this is a dish that needs to cook in the oven over a few hours so it’s not really the best translation.

We’re using a pan and your meal will be ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.

But, as with our difficulties in coming up with an English translation for our et sote recipe, there’s only so many words we can work with.

So, ‘cauliflower stew’ it is.

We’re Making Lokanta Food

Meğri Lokanta Food Display
Meğri Lokanta in Fethiye showing off some of their culinary offerings

If you’re like us and you love going to lokantas, you’ll know there is often a bain marie rammed with treats from the traditional Turkish kitchen.

In Fethiye, lots of lokantas have oodles of choice.

In the old town of Paspatur, Meğri Lokanta has pretty impressive display, too.

Cauliflower Treats

And amongst all the meat dishes, there’s always a more than appetising selection of seasonal Turkish vegetable dishes, too.

If you’re not the best at getting your healthy fill of vegetables, lokantas are the place to start practising; teaching yourself and realising that, wow, this is actually really tasty.

In winter, cauliflower – in some form – is very likely to be present in the bain marie.

Karnabahar yemeği – Turkish cauliflower stew – is a favourite.

Turkish Cauliflower Stew
A bowl of our Turkish cauliflower stew

Don’t forget; with a lokanta, you’re gonna have lots of other dishes on your table, too. For this post, however, we’re just celebrating healthy cauliflower recipes!

This is karnabahar yemeği all on its own.

Eat it as a light lunch or, if you check at the bottom of the post, we give some tips for making cauliflower stew a tad more substantial.

Anyway, let’s get down to business with another of our easy cauliflower recipes: Turkish cauliflower stew.

How To Make Turkish Cauliflower Stew

If you’re on the hunt for easy cauliflower recipes that are healthy, too, well this one has got to be up there, hasn’t it?

Oh, and for those of you who like more fragrant flavours; it is traditional to top your cauliflower stew with freshly chopped parsley.

In our servings, we use chopped, fresh coriander instead.

Cauliflower and coriander are perfect together.

Turkish Cauliflower Stew
Our serving of karnabahar yemeği

Turkish Cauliflower Stew Variations

Lots of people, including us, love to play about with recipes in the kitchen.

And with karnabahar yemeği, because it’s such a simple recipe, it can be tempting to start playing with flavours.

You can, of course, but then it won’t be the simple, delicious Turkish dish it’s supposed to be.

If you want to play around with ingredients but still keep your recipe traditionally Turkish, keep the cauliflower recipe above as your base.

It’s a light recipe, so, sometimes, other comfort ingredients are added.

You can add a couple of handfuls of chickpeas or rice.

Or, in the depths of winter when we need a bit more ‘comfort’ going on with our cauliflower stew, add a chopped potato at the same time as your carrots.

Our Turkish Cauliflower Stew Recipe

Let’s start cooking!

Cauliflower florets and sliced carrot in tomato gravy, stopped with fresh green chopped herbs. The meal is in a blue bowl and the photo is taken from above.
5 from 2 votes

Cauliflower Stew Recipe (Turkish Karnabahar Yemeği)

If you’re looking for healthy cauliflower recipes, this Turkish cauliflower stew is delicious as a main meal or an accompaniment to other dishes.
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Course Main
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 84kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life


  • 1 medium cauliflower about 500g, broken into florets
  • 2 carrots peeled & sliced
  • 1 onion peeled & sliced into half moons
  • 1 dessert spoon tomato paste tomato paste
  • 1 dessert spoon olive oil
  • 1 dessert spoon chilli flakes or paprika
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to season


  • In a deep pan, gently heat your olive oil.
  • Once hot, add your onion and sauté until it starts to sweat.
  • Now add your carrots and stir them round.
  • Keep the pan on a low heat and gently sauté for 5 minutes or so until your carrot begins to cook and soften.
  • You can add your chilli flakes, salt and pepper at this point, too.
  • Meanwhile, put your tomato paste (salça) into a cup and add boiling water or vegetable stock. Stir until the salça dissolves.
  • Add your cauliflower to the pan along with the dissolved tomato paste.
  • Now add enough hot water or stock to cover the cauliflower florets.
  • Stir everything around, bring to the boil and then simmer until your cauliflower is soft.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with your freshly chopped parsley.


  • As with all of our recipes, calorie count can vary slightly depending on exact weights and measures.
  • You can bulk this cauliflower stew recipe out in winter and make it more comforting with the addition of chickpeas, rice or potatoes.


Serving: 1Calories: 84kcal
Tried this recipe?Please consider Leaving a Review!

Afiyet Olsun!

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Recipe Rating

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Eileen Knowles

Thursday 30th of August 2018

What a simple but beautiful, delicious meal. Realised I had no tomato paste after starting the recipe so used a tin of chopped tomatoes .

Turkey's For Life

Friday 31st of August 2018

Aww, thank you for your comment, Eileen Knowles - and your 5 star rating! Much appreciated! :) Sure the tin of tomatoes in your cauliflower stew tasted just as good as using tomato paste. :)


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

A handful of giant prawns sounds like a good add to me.

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Interesting, BacktoBodrum! :) Love prawns but not sure I'd want them with cauliflower stew. But, of course we trust your cooking - ;) - so might just give that a try!

Ozlem's Turkish Table

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Delicious, healthy meal and a beautiful way to flavour cauliflower, elinize saglik! Wishing you a wonderful year and hope to see you in Fethiye this year!:) Ozlem x

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Yeahi hope to catch up, Özlem. :) Loving our cauliflower at the moment and this Turkish cauliflower stew is such an easy way to enjoy it. :)

Joy @MyTravelingJoys

Monday 8th of January 2018

Yum! I have a giant cauliflower sitting on our counter from our recent farm veg delivery! This recipe would be perfect for it. :)

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Hope you made the cauliflower stew, Joy, and enjoyed it! :)

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