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10 Indulgent Vegan Eid Recipes From the Balkans

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There’s a common misconception that it’s impossible to be vegan and Muslim at the same time. But there are countless Muslims who have gone vegan in an effort to be kinder to animals, the environment, other humans, and ourselves. If you took a look at my 30 vegan Ramadan recipes you already know that there’s an array of vegan dishes all over the Muslim world, and that non-vegan dishes can easily be veganized. So what about after Ramadan? How can you have a big eid feast without animal products? Are there any vegan eid recipes you can make?

Eid (عيد) is the Arabic word for holiday, and there are two big holidays in the Islamic calendar, the small one after the month of Ramadan and the big one after the pilgrimage (hajj). In the Balkans, we use the Turkish word bayram instead of eid. Of course, as with any traditional holiday, food is a big component of bayram as well. Ramazan Bayram or Eid al-Fitr is a particularly indulgent holiday because it comes after a month of fasting.

As a vegan of Balkan heritage who also currently lives in the Balkans, I decided to present you with ten Balkan foods that are either traditionally vegan or super quick to veganize and are perfect for the holidays. I’m including sweets, a salad, a dip, luscious vegetable dishes, and even a drink so you can create an amazing feast of Balkan foods.

Note that Balkan food is very garlic-heavy, and I, particularly, have grown up in a household where garlic was the most important ingredient. We used it in every savory dish, we ate it raw as medicine, and we’d even put raw garlic on toasted bread as a snack. If you’re not used to eating a lot of garlic feel free to use less. But as someone who constantly has to double or triple the amount of garlic listed in recipes, I’m happy to finally use measurements that are realistic to me.

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Balkan Vegan Eid Recipes for a Delicious Feast

Ayran

I promised a drink, didn’t I? Ayran is related to the Persian yoghurt drink doogh (دوغ‎) and extremely refreshing. It goes very well with the heavy dishes popular in Balkan countries because it’s so light and hydrating. For the vegan version, all you need is a vegan yoghurt, some water, and salt.

  • 1kg vegan yoghurt (lupine has become a favorite of mine, but the most important thing is that it’s neutral and not sweet like Western yoghurt)
  • 500ml cold water
  • salt
  1. Mix all ingredients and drink cool.

Baklava

You can’t really celebrate any type of holiday without baklava, can you? So I had to include a baklava recipe in these vegan eid recipes. There’s a common misconception that baklava is very difficult to make. But with the dough being sold in stores these days it’s really only time-consuming, but not difficult.

There’s an endless number of baklava varieties, but I’ll go with a more traditional Balkan one with a walnut filling. Personally, I think nothing can top pistachio-filled baklava, but walnut is a lot more common on the Balkan peninsula, plus walnuts are a lot cheaper than pistachios.

  • 1 pack of vegan yufka for baklava (there is both böreklik and baklavalık yufka, you need the latter; you can also buy this as fillo in some stores)
  • 500g chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 250g vegan margarine
  • 700g sugar
  • 800ml water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Make the syrup by cooking the water and 650g of sugar for 15 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir from time to time. Let the syrup cool down.
  2. Mix the remaining sugar, chopped walnuts, and vanilla sugar.
  3. Melt the margarine.
  4. Brush a tray with some margarine and place the first sheet of yufka on it.
  5. Brush the yufka with more margarine and place another layer on top.
  6. Do this until you have about 10 layers of dough.
  7. Spread the filling on the dough.
  8. Then add the additional layers of dough, brushing each with margarine.
  9. Cut the baklava into your preferred shape (diamonds, squares).
  10. Bake at 180°C for 50 minutes.
  11. Let the baklava cool down a bit.
  12. Add syrup. (Both the baklava and the syrup should have cooled down for a few minutes before doing this.)
  13. Let the baklava cool down completely.

I like to make two or three layers of filling, but this is a simpler version with only one layer of filling.

Börek

There are so many varieties of börek, бюрек, burek, byrek, whatever you call it that you could eat nothing else for days. Most of them are not vegan, but since you decide what filling you want to use you can easily make a vegan börek such as this spinach and potato one.

  • 1 diced onion
  • 300g spinach (it should be chopped quite finely)
  • 1.5kg boiled potatoes, diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dried mint
  • chili flakes
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 200ml plant milk (I prefer oat for this)
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 sheets of yufka (this should be böreklik yufka which is thicker and works better)
  1. Sauté onion in a bit of oil and water.
  2. Add spinach and sauté for a few more minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, herbs, and spices, and sauté for several minutes.
  4. Combine oil, plant milk, and turmeric.
  5. Brush one yufka sheet with a quarter of the liquid, add a third of the filling, and roll the yufka.
  6. Do the same for the other two yufka sheets.
  7. Arrange the rolls in a snail shape on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Brush with the remaining liquid and bake at 175°C for 45 minutes.

Grilled Vegetables

When you think of Balkan food you probably think of grilled meat. But grilled vegetables are such a common side dish that they’ll go perfectly with all the other vegan eid recipes here. So take some peppers, zucchini, or whatever else you like, drizzle some olive oil on top, and bake them at 200°C for at least 40 minutes. Make sure to turn them at least once.

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Eid mubarak to everyone who's celebrating! 🌙 I'm bringing you a few #VeganEidRecipes for the holidays. You can find them in the link in my bio. For the grilled vegetables you simply take zucchini, peppers, or anything else you may like, drizzle them with olive oil, and put in the oven at 200°C for at least 40 minutes. On to the İmambayıldı: ———————————————————————————– • 4 eggplants • 6 grated tomatoes • 5 chopped onions • 2 grated carrots • 1 grated celery stalk • 8 minced garlic cloves • parsley • salt • pepper • water • 125ml olive oil Remove the tops of the eggplants and slice them in half. Scoop out about half of the insides of the eggplants. Heat the oil and sauté the onions until they have a golden color. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for 5 minutes. Then stuff the eggplants with this mixture. (If this doesn’t fill them to the top, add some of the eggplant you removed.) Bake at 200°C for 35 minutes. And finally the Лютеница (lyutenitsa): ———————————————————————————– • 1kg red peppers (preferrably pointed) • 150g tomatoes • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil • 2 tablespoons sugar • 3 chili peppers • 1.5 teaspoons salt Roast the peppers in the oven until the skin turns black. Peel and de-seed the peppers, then mash them. Grind the tomatoes and mix with the peppers. Let the peppers and tomatoes simmer in the oil for 10 minutes. Add sugar and salt and continue to simmer. Grind the chili peppers and add them to the mixture while it thickens up. Continue to simmer until the lyutenitsa is thick enough. #veganeid #veganrecipes #culinarytravel #veganbayram #muslimvegan #veganofinstagram #veganinstagram #veganfood #veganismo #veganblog #veganblogger #veganfoodlover #veganesessen #veganwerdenwaslosdigga #veganmeal #veganessen #veganeating #comidavegana #veganshares #veganforever #veganideas #veganeasy #veganliving #igvegan #vidavegana #veganmeals #veganbalkan #balkanfood #travelthroughfood

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İmambayıldı

The literal translation of this dish is “the Imam fainted.” And the story goes that the wife of an imam made this dish and he fainted because of how delicious it was. This is another classic I grew up with and can have here in Greece as well, and it’s vegan by default. So how could I not include it in this list of vegan eid recipes? The key to this is to increase the flavor by using a lot of onion and garlic. After eating this you will understand why the imam fainted.

  • 4 eggplants
  • 6 grated tomatoes
  • 5 chopped onions
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 grated celery stalk
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water
  • 125ml olive oil
  1. Remove the tops of the eggplants and slice them in half.
  2. Scoop out about half of the insides of the eggplants.
  3. Heat the oil and sauté the onions until they have a golden color.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for 5 minutes.
  5. Then stuff the eggplants with this mixture. (If this doesn’t fill them to the top, add some of the eggplant you removed.)
  6. Bake at 200°C for 35 minutes.

Lokum

Lokum is one of the traditional bayram sweets in Balkan Muslim communities so I had to include it in this list of vegan eid recipes. Lokum comes in different colors and flavors, but this is my favorite. It is a time-consuming sweet, but after eating a piece you will understand why it’s also known as Turkish Delight.

  • 600g sugar
  • 660ml water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 110g cornstarch
  • 250g chopped pistachios
  • 40g powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons rose water
  • red food coloring
  1. Grease a deep baking tray and line with cling foil.
  2. Add the sugar, 160ml water, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Let the syrup cool down.
  4. Mix 90g of cornstarch with remaining lemon juice and water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the syrup, stirring several times. Bring to a boil again.
  6. Simer on low heat for 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
  7. Add rose water, food coloring, and pistachios.
  8. Add this mixture to the baking tray and spread evenly.
  9. Let it set for a whole day.
  10. Mix powdered sugar and remaining cornstarch and place the jelly on top.
  11. Cover with more of the powdered sugar and cornstarch mix.
  12. Take a knife and cover it with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mix and then cut the lokum in cubes.
  13. Turn each cube in the powdered sugar and cornstarch mix.

Лютеница (Lyutenica)

I could have added the more internationally famous ajvar (pronounced ayvar, please!), but lyutenica is the slightly spicier (and basically tastier because we add tomatoes) version that I grew up with. It’s great as a spread or a sauce and can accompany some of the other vegan eid recipes in this list.

  • 1kg red peppers (the pointed ones are best, but you can use bell peppers as well)
  • 150g tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 chili peppers
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  1. Roast the peppers in the oven until the skin turns black.
  2. Peel and de-seed the peppers, then mash them.
  3. Grind the tomatoes and mix with the peppers.
  4. Let the peppers and tomatoes simmer in the oil for 10 minutes.
  5. Add sugar and salt and continue to simmer.
  6. Grind the chili peppers and add them to the mixture while it thickens up.
  7. Continue to simmer until the lyutenica is thick enough.

Sarma

Sarma (stuffed leaves) is a type of dolma (stuffed vegetables). There can be some confusion over what is what, but basically dolma is the main category and can include stuffed peppers or stuffed eggplants. Sarma is one of the subcategories and includes any stuffed leaves, such as cabbage or grape. This is a recipe for stuffed grape leaves (лозови сарми in Bulgarian, yaprak sarması in Turkish) which I think shouldn’t be left out when listing vegan eid recipes.

  • 20 grape leaves (the best ones are the ones that come in brine in a glass, they will be softer)
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500g white rice
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 700ml water
  1. Put the leaves in cold water for a while.
  2. Sauté the onions in the oil.
  3. Add rice, oregano, paprika, and water and bring to a boil.
  4. Cook until the rice has absorbed all the water.
  5. Then fill the grape leaves with the rice and pack them. Make sure they’re not packed too tightly as you will continue to cook them and the rice will gain more volume.
  6. Add all the stuffed grape leaves to a large pan and cover them with water.
  7. Cook them for another 45 minutes.

These are amazing with yoghurt. I’d choose a neutral one like almond or lupine. Coconut would definitely be too sweet.

Шопска Салата (Shopska Salad)

Shopska salata is Bulgaria’s national dish and can easily be veganized. And with all the rich vegan eid recipes it’s good to have a salad as well to balance things out a bit.

  • 4 tomatoes, in big chunks
  • 2 chopped English cucumbers
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 250g chopped vegan white cheese (I haven’t found vegan sirene yet so feta will have to do)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • salt
  • parsley
  1. Mix all the vegetables.
  2. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, and salt.
  3. Combine salad and dressing and add a bit of parsley.
  4. Top with vegan white cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers belong to the dolma category. They’re probably the one food that reminds me most of my childhood. Not all varieties are vegan, but many are so this is an ideal addition to this list of vegan eid recipes from the Balkans.

  • 1kg green bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 grated tomatoes
  • 300g rice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon date syrup
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water
  1. Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil.
  2. After a few minutes, add the grated tomatoes and continue to sauté for several minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the washed rice and sauté for several more minutes.
  4. Add seasonings, pine nuts, and syrup, and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Cut off the tops of each bell pepper and de-seed and wash the peppers.
  6. Fill the peppers with rice, but don’t fill them all the way to the top because the rice will gain more volume.
  7. Place the peppers upright in a pot next to each other.
  8. Drizzle peppers with olive oil.
  9. Add salted water to the pot making sure no water enters the peppers themselves.
  10. Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat, then lower heat and cook for 40 minutes.

There you go. That’s ten vegan eid recipes for a Balkan feast. Let me know which one of these dishes you like the most.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Demi
    May 16, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Absolutely love Baklava, glad to see it has made an appearance! I have never made it myself though, I should give it a try! Great post, never heard of İmambayıldı but it sounds delicious too!

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      May 16, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      Yes, do try it out! That way you can have it whenever you want! Let me know how it turned out!

  • Reply
    Timea
    May 25, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Baklava and Borek are very delicious. I’m sure the others are too, but those 2 I’ve tried. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      May 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      I hope you get a chance to try some of the others as well! Let me know if you decide to make one of these recipes.

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