For this Turkish recipe, we’re going to be adding to our list of Turkish vegetarian and vegan recipes with a tasty vegetable güveç.
As you no doubt know by now, we love to eat seasonally.
If you’ve been to Turkey before, there’s a strong chance you’ve ordered a güveç – aka the Turkish casserole – when you’ve been in a Turkish restaurant.
We love this famous Turkish dish. As do many of our readers who voted it amongst their favourite dishes of traditional Turkish cuisine.
For me, even in the height of summer, I can still happily polish off the steaming contents of the clay pot.
Making Vegetable Güveç
This vegetable güveç recipe (Turkish name; sebzeli güveç) has been requested by a few different readers.
It’s an easy recipe, so we decided to make it for lunch recently.
At this time of year, we have a fridge and cupboard brimming with spring vegetables. And this recipe is the perfect way to make use of some of them.
So, which variety of vegetables are we going to be using for our Turkish güveç recipe?
There are no hard and fast rules as to which vegetables you can use for your vegetable güveç.
Our recipe varies depending on the season.
Well, why not make the most of the vegetables that are at their best at that time of year?
So, we have a main ingredient that is going to be the star of the show, with the rest of the vegetables as the supporting act.
In some years, part of that supporting act for our springtime vegetable güveç would be green beans.
Unfortunately, they’re currently expensive to buy, compared to other seasonal treats, so we’re giving those a miss for now.
We’re very much looking forward to green beans in olive oil once the beans reach a more sensible price!
But, back to our ingredients:
- Aubergines: Aubergines are going to be our main ingredient. On the local markets at this time of year, they’re really small and meaty and wonderfully tasty.
- Cooked baby new potatoes: Not in the photo above. But we add a handful of cooked baby new potatoes to the vegetarian güveç. They’re in season and they make for a more substantial casserole. Buy a few and use the rest to make a Turkish potato salad.
- Mushrooms: We’re using chestnut mushrooms. But in autumn and winter, we would use seasonal Saffron Milk Caps.
- Green peppers and red peppers: Because you just can’t have a Turkish vegetable güveç without peppers!
- Tomatoes: We’re using vine tomatoes because they’re in season. The diced tomatoes will be used to make a light tomato sauce. We’re also keeping one back as a decorative cooked garnish.
- Chopped onions and garlic: Our vegetable güveç recipe is going to make two individual casseroles so we’re using one medium onion for each pot. And we can’t not have garlic!
The Rest Of Our Vegetable Güveç Ingredients
As we’ve said before on this blog, translating güveç as ‘casserole’ is a bit misleading because a güveç is actually a traditional earthenware pot.
How ‘caserrole-ish’ you want to make your ingredients inside that earthenware casserole pot is up to you.
Your vegetable güveç can be like a vegetable stew with lots of sauce. Or you can have just a little.
In the past, we’ve made a sucuk güveç in a deep clay pot that more resembles a traditional casserole.
For this vegetable güveç recipe, we’re going to let the main ingredients do the talking in a shallow dish. And accentuate them with some traditional güveç extras.
As well as some dried herbs and spices (just a few hot red pepper flakes for this particular recipe).
We’ll also use a generous amount of olive oil and a half cup of water (or vegetable stock) with some tomato paste (or red pepper paste) stirred into it.
Time To Cook The Vegetable Güveç
Our vegetable güveç is going to start out life in a frying pan rather than the individual casserole dishes.
Whilst our oven is getting to a nice high heat, we need to get the vegetables sizzling in the frying pan.
We’re starting off with our olive oil, onions, peppers and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper.
Get them all cooking over a medium heat.
As our onions start to sweat and go translucent, we add our small pieces of aubergine for a couple of minutes first, before adding the mushrooms.
We’re not aiming to cook the vegetables through with this first part of the process.
We just want them to begin to soften and take on the olive oil and flavourings.
So, after your mushrooms have been cooking for a couple of minutes, we add our roughly chopped tomatoes, herbs and spices.
Our recipe for vegetable güveç uses crushed coriander seeds, crushed cumin seeds, paprika, chilli flakes and dried thyme (kekik) and dried rosemary.
Time For The Oven
Once all our herbs and spices are stirred in, we’re going to add our cooked new potatoes, before removing the mixture from the heat.
We divide vegetables between two shallow güveç dishes. Then dissolve the tomato paste in a half cup of hot water and pour over both mixtures.
If you want more liquid in your casserole, feel free to make up more water and tomato paste / red pepper paste mixture.
Place your vegetable güveç bowls in the centre of the hot oven. And 20 minutes later, you will have two hot, bubbling servings of traditional Turkish vegetable güveç.
Vegetable Güveç – No Cheese
If you’re anything like Barry, you won’t want cheese over the top of your vegetable casserole.
Of course, this makes for a more healthy meal. You’ve essentially got yourself a healthy vegan stew.
However, if you’ve enjoyed güveç dishes when on holiday along Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coast, chances are they have been generously topped with cheese!
For many, the melted cheese is the best part!
I love a generous sprinkling of cheese over the top of a shallow dish vegetable güveç!
If you’re the same, then sprinkle grated cheese over the top of your vegetables 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
We use Turkish kaşar cheese but any cheese that melts easily, like Cheddar cheese, will do the trick.
Vegetable Güveç Recipe – FAQs
We use seasonal vegetables. Staples are tomatoes that make up the sauce or stew, onions and peppers.
Aubergines are also used widely in Turkish cuisine.
In winter, you can experiment with pumpkin and butternut squash. Sweet potatoes will also work well.
Think about using seasonal mushrooms, too.
If you’re going for the Turkish restaurant experience, serve your vegetable casserole in the güveç pot it was cooked in.
The pot will be very hot so we use a wooden mat to place it on.
You can eat the vegetable güveç as it is or serve a side dish bulgur pilaf or Turkish rice pilaf.
Fresh crusty Turkish bread from the local bakery goes without saying.
Yes! This is one of the traditional dishes of Turkey and it is packed with seasonal vegetables that are bursting with health benefits.
Our Recipe For Turkish Vegetable Güveç
Let’s get cooking. Here’s our full list of ingredients and step by step guide for how to make vegetable güveç.
Vegetable Güveç Recipe
- 2 Shallow earthenware casserole dishes
- 1 Frying pan
- 1 Sharp knife
- 6 medium tomatoes 4 roughly chopped, 2 halved
- 6 baby new potatoes washed, halved
- 4 small aubergines chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 2 medium onions peeled & cut into half moons
- 1 red pepper deseeded & cut into strips
- 1 green pepper deseeded & cut into strips
- 180 grams chestnut mushrooms halved or quartered
- 4 cloves garlic peeled, crushed & chopped
- 30 grams kaşar or Cheddar cheese optional
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste or red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds crushed
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
- salt & pepper to season
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley to garnish
- First of all, boil your potatoes until al dente. Remove from the heat and drain.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and add your olive oil to frying pan.
- Heat over a medium heat and add your onions and peppers. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to sweat.
- Now add your aubergine sand stir them round the coat them in the oil and season with sald and ground black pepper.
- After a couple of minutes, as your aubergines start to colour, add your mushrooms and stir them into the vegetable mixture.
- Let them cook through for a couple of minutes before adding your chopped tomatoes. Keep the halved tomatoes to one side for now.
- Meanwhile, dissolve your tomato paste or pepper paste in a half mug of hot water (around 150 mls)
- Add your herbs and spices to your vegetables and stir to mix.
- Now take your güveç pots and divide the vegetable mixture between the two.
- Arrange the potaotes in the pot and add your halved tomaotes to the top.
- Pour the watered down tomato paste over the top of each casserole and drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Place in the centre of your hot oven for 20 minutes.
- If you are using a grated cheese topping, sprinkle this over the top a couple of minutes before the end of cooking.
- Remove your vegetable güveç from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and some hot red pepper flakes if you want some extra spice.
- Serve in the güveç pot on a heat proof mat.
- For reference, our shallow güveç pots hold approximately 700 millilitres.
- There are no hard and fast rules for quantities in your vegetable güveç. If you want more liquid, feel free to add more water and tomato paste mixture.
- Your vegetable güveç can also contain different vegetable ingredients, depending on the season.
- As with all of our recipes, calorie count is approximate for our vegetable güveç. Cheese is included. If you want to reduce the calorie content, you can swap some of the olive oil for extra tomato sauce.
Enjoy your seasonal vegetable güveç on its own or with side dishes.
And, if you want to make this main meal even more traditionally Turkish, you can add a side salad such as shepherd salad to the table, too.
You can find our vegetable güveç and other similar dishes in the Casseroles and Stews section of our list of Turkish recipes.
Wednesday 26th of October 2022
Hi people, I printed this & made it today- a bit bored with some of the old standards after a very long cold wet winter here in Australia. I had a bit of a flap finding a couple of big enough, small enough, shallow enough vessels but ended up using a pair of Indian copper dishes- stainless lined, brass handles. When I took it out of the oven it was incandescent: took me a little while to get into it (fear of burns) but I thought it was absolutely gorgeous! I used no chilli for reasons of my elderly digestion, but otherwise made it pretty straight, loved the spicing and the depth of flavour from a fairly easily-acquired bunch of vegetables! My partner loved it too: we are going to feed it to a friend who is tending rather vegetarian in her tastes. We're not vegetarians but I have always found Indian veg. food much nicer than the California-style in fashion at the moment. Plus of course I always loved the food we had in Turkey! I still make fritters with courgettes ( we call them zucchini here) and really enjoyed the garlicky yoghurt/ shredded carrot thing- often have it with the fritters. Here in Adelaide I have a gorgeous Italian greengrocer who always seems to have cheap aubergines- had a horrible shock on a visit to Tasmania to find it's $9 per kilo there when I made Hunkar Begendi for my daughters one day! I may try your aubergine & chickpea dish next week... Keep up the good work, I love your blog and the recipes you give.
Turkey's For Life
Wednesday 26th of October 2022
Hi Judy, thanks so much for your lovely comment and really pleased you liked the vegetable güveç recipe. Like you, we're not vegetarians but that doesn't mean we don't love our vegetable dishes and a güveç is a perfect way to enjoy them. :) Glad you have a good greengrocer. Invaluable! :)
Saturday 30th of April 2022
This recipe seems great. If I want to add meat, when should I include it? Before cooking the vegetables? Thank you in advance
Turkey's For Life
Tuesday 24th of May 2022
Hi Dalia, thanks a lot for your question and apologies for the late reply. We would ass the meat first to seal it. The vegetables in a güveç recipe shouldn't be too soft so you can add them later. :)
Monday 18th of April 2022
YAY ! Thank you so much...tried so many recipes off the internet but this one feels like the one I wanted all winter! THANKYOU !
Turkey's For Life
Tuesday 24th of May 2022
Hi Christine, so pleased you like the look of our vegetable güveç recipe! :) Thanks a lot for your rating and and your comment. Much appreciated.