Zeytinyağlı Bezelye: Turkish peas in olive oil

turkish peas zeytinyagli bezelye

Did you know that there is a whole category in Turkish cuisine called "Zeytinyaglilar", i.e. "(dishes) with olive oil"? Zeytinyaglilar include all kinds of dishes with a lot of olive oil, which are usually eaten cold and lukewarm. The Turkish Riviera is famous for its zeytinyaglilar.


The taste of zeytinyaglilar? Unbeatable! Different types of vegetables such as celery, peas, parsnips, artichokes or green beans are usually added with onions, carrots, possibly potatoes, a lot of olive oil, lemon juice and a little sugar. The juice of an orange is often added to the cooking process.


Dishes such as these Turkish dishes with lots of olive oil are the best example of how the greatest culinary delights can be prepared from just a few and, above all, simple ingredients.


Today we're making zeytinyagli bezelye, i.e. Turkish peaswith olive oil.


What does zeytinyagli bezelye taste like? 

This question deserves its own heading. Because we believe that you can't imagine the taste of a really good zeytinyagli - you have to taste it! Because let's be honest; if we tell you to "put some vegetables, olive oil, salt, lemon and sugar together", you won't be able to imagine much. What is supposed to taste good here? A lot!


The result is usually wonderfully tasty vegetables in a slightly sweet and sour, thick sauce. The olive oil juice that remains at the end is nice and viscous. The taste would be called "mayhoş" in Turkish, i.e. sweet and sour. (For comparison: pomegranate syrup aka nar ekşisi is classically mayhoş).


BUT: Due to the small number of ingredients in this Turkish-style pea recipe, it is clear that the result is only as good as the ingredients used. You should therefore make sure you use high-quality vegetables and, above all, really good olive oil*.


The best olive oil we have ever eaten was in a simple plastic bottle from the market in Istanbul, without a label. The taste was unparalleled and the oil simply tasted intensely of olives. The consistency was very fine and thick... a dream.


In Turkey, you can really find olive oil everywhere. We remember when we were looking for an apartment with a real estate agent who simply offered canisters of home-produced olive oil (presumably from the family) in the estate agent's office. So if you are preparing a zeytinyagli recipe, make sure you use the best olive oil you have. In Turkey, these are always labeled as being ideal for these zeytinyaglilar. 


What else you should know about our Turkish peas recipe

Like all zeytinyaglilar, this Turkish pea recipe is vegan. Zeytinyaglilar, like this pea recipe, are eaten as a starter, meze, side dish or main course. It is important that you do not serve the dish hot and freshly cooked, but already cooled. The delicate flavor with the creamy olive oil and lemon sauce only comes through cooling. Afiyet olsun!


Zeytinyağlı Bezelye recipe: Turkish peas with olive oil


zeytinyağlı recipe peas

Ingredients (approx. 3 portions)

  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 300 g/0,6 lbs peas
  • 60 ml or 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Dill for garnish


Step 1: Chop the onion and fry it in olive oil with a pressed clove of garlic until translucent.

Step 2: Peel the carrot and cut it into small pieces. Add it to the glazed onions. Sauté everything.

Step 3: Cut the red pointed bell pepper into small pieces and add to the vegetables. Shortly afterwards, add the peas (fresh, frozen or canned). We used frozen peas.

Step 4: Mix everything together and add salt and pepper. Pour 350 milliliters/little less than 1,5 cups of water and the juice of one lemon over the vegetables. Now add a teaspoon of sugar to the pan and cook everything over a medium heat for a good 30 minutes until soft.

Step 5: When there is almost no liquid left and the vegetables are soft, the meal is ready. Leave everything to cool, garnish the Turkish peas recipe with chopped dill and serve.

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