I was chatting with Özlem last week and of course the conversation turned to food, as it inevitably would.

We were talking about the hot weather and how you really don’t feel like cooking too much in the heat. The conversation turned to dishes that are great for the summer; light, nourishing and easy to make ahead.

Here are a couple of recipes from Özlem for a delightful light lunch…

Fasulye Palaki; white beans cooked in olive oil with vegetables

A delightful light meal from Ozlem's Turkish Table
Fasulye Pilaki, White (Cannellini beans) cooked in olive oil with vegetables

Fasulye Pilaki is a delicious and wholesome vegetarian Turkish mezze, where vegetables and white (or cannellini) beans are cooked with onions, garlic, carrot and potato in olive oil, served at room temperature or cold. You can serve fasulye pilaki as a side to grilled fish, meat or vegetables. It is delightful as part of a mezze spread and for lunch too. This dish is also naturally gluten-free.

Serves: 4
  • 1 can – 440 gr / 14 oz. of cooked white beans or cannellini beans, juice drained OR 275 gr/ 1½ cups/ 10 oz. dried white beans or cannellini beans*
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, quartered and diced in small pieces
  • 1 medium potato, cut in small cubes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons of olive oil for cooking
  • 30 ml/ 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to drizzle before serving
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 8 fl oz. / 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. If using dried beans, soak the dried white or cannellini beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Then drain the beans, rinse and transfer to a pot, filled with plenty of cold water.
  2. Bring the pot to the boil, partially cover the pot and simmer for about 30 – 35 minutes. Make sure the beans become tender, but not soft or mushy, they should still have a bite to them. Drain and rinse the cooked beans under cold water and set them aside.
  3. If you are using precooked beans in can, simply drain its juice and rinse under cold, running water and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in the pot and stir in the onions, sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, until they start to soften.
  5. Add the garlic, carrots and potato, combine well and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour in the water, cover and let them cook for 10 minutes in low to medium heat.
  6. Stir in the beans, sugar, lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
  7. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan.
  8. Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the beans and vegetables are cooked (but not mushy). Check the seasoning and add a little more salt or ground black pepper if needed.
  9. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the Fasulye Pilaki and let it cool in the pan, covered.
  10. Serve Fasulye Pilaki at room temperature or cold as part of a mezze spread or appetizer, garnished with chopped parsley and wedges of lemon by the side to squeeze over.


If you are using dried beans, first soak the dried beans in plenty of water overnight. Next day, drain the water and boil the dried beans in fresh water for about 20 minutes, covered. Drain the water and set the partially cooked white beans aside (If you are using precooked white beans, simply drain the juice and rinse the beans under cold water).

Baked dried apricots with walnuts; cevizli kuru kayısı tatlısı

A delightful light meal from Ozlem's Turkish Table
Baked dried apricots with walnuts; cevizli kuru kayisi tatlisi
One of Turkey’s most prolific fruits is the apricot. Dried apricots are great, wholesome snacks. This healthy and delicious dried apricot with walnuts dessert is great for parties, sharing with friends and family or just indulging yourself.
A delightful light meal from Ozlem's Turkish Table
Walnuts stuffing is delicious and wholesome in dried apricots
Serves: 6
  • 225 gr / 8 oz dried Turkish apricots
  • 3 fl oz / ⅓ cup water – if needed
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons butter
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • For the filling:
  • 75 gr /1/2 cup crushed walnuts into small pieces
  • 50 gr / ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water for baking
  • Crushed pistachio nuts for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. Soak the dried apricots in warm water for 10 minutes, if they are really hard. Then drain the water. If they are already soft enough to split open, you can skip this stage.
  3. Combine the crushed walnuts and brown sugar in a small bowl as the filling.
  4. Split open the apricots with a small knife, making sure one end is still intact.
  5. Stuff each apricot with a teaspoonful of crushed walnut and brown sugar mixture and slightly close it up.
  6. Grease a baking tray with olive oil or butter and place the stuffed dried apricots on it.
  7. Pour the water over the tray.
  8. Place a tiny little dab of butter on the top of the each stuffed apricot.
  9. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the apricots and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  10. Arrange them in a serving dish and sprinkle over some crushed pistachio nuts.

Serve with delicious Maraş dondurma (ice-cream).

Afiyet olsun

These recipes, and many more, can be found on Özlem’s website, Ozlem’s Turkish Table or in her book, Özlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland.

 delightful light meal from Ozlem's Turkish Table
Contents Page, Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book,

Signed copies of the book are available for a limited period. Click here to order yours!