Ezme is a classic Turkish sauce, condiment and appetizer that’s usually served on the side of kebabs with some fresh bread. It’s ready in 10 minutes and is so delicious thanks to tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
My love for Turkish cuisine is known and I’m happy to share all the recipes with you. From classic simit and cilbir to gozleme, sumac onions and red lentil soup, Turkish food, like many other Mediterranean dishes is packed with vegetables, nutrients and of course, a lot of flavor!
What is ezme?
Depending on the use, ezme is an appetizer, dip, salsa, sauce or salad. Ezme means “mashed” which served well here since all the ingredients are chopped very finely by hand or a food processor.
It’s made mainly with tomatoes and olive oil, which makes it a healthy addition to the table. Each region of Turkey has a different way of making it and some like it spicy, known as acılı ezme.
3 Tips to make the perfect ezme
- Use top quality tomatoes: The main ingredient used in this recipe is tomatoes. Make sure you’re using high quality tomatoes, just like you do for Gavurdagi (Turkish tomato walnut salad) especially if they’re not in season. I prefer to make this salsa in summer because that’s when tomatoes are in their prime.
- Chop finely: While using a food processor is much easier, it’s best to make this dish using a chef’s knife and chop the ingredients finely by hand.
- Let the flavors combine: If time permits, refrigerate it for 30 minutes before serving for the flavors to incorporate.
Tomatoes: As I mentioned before, tomatoes are the main part of this dish. You want to make sure that they’re firm, fresh and flavorful.
Onion and pepper: White or yellow onion would work for this recipe. You also need sweet green and red pepper such as red bell pepper and Anaheim or Italian pepper.
Spices: A combination of salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper and sumac would add a lot of flavor to this sauce. Sumac adds a touch of sourness that works well with the sweetness of the tomatoes. I also add just a little bit of tomato paste for more intense flavor and color.
Olive oil: As always, quality extra virgin olive oil is all you need.
Chop the tomatoes, onions and peppers very finely and mix them in a bowl. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped parsley to the vegetables and stir to combine.
Add in the tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper and sumac. Stir well and make sure all the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve as mezze, sauce or salad.
As I mentioned above, there are several ways to make this dish and the ingredients might slightly differ in each recipe. In order to make ezme more sour, you can add some pomegranate molasses or more lemon juice alongside olive oil.
Another variation is acılı ezme which translates to spicy ezme. This version uses spicy Aleppo pepper.
How to serve ezme
You can serve ezme as a dip or mezze with some pita, Turkish pide bread or lavash. This salad can also be served as a condiment alongside dishes such as kofta kebab or kebabs like shish tawook, grilled chicken or beef shish kabob.
Frequently asked questions
Several recipes encourage peeling the tomatoes, but I have tried this recipe with peeled and unpeeled tomatoes and the results are pretty much similar.
Yes, you can make this Turkish salsa up to 3 days in advance.
You can keep this salad in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Canned tomatoes won’t work for this recipe as they don’t have the same flavor and texture as fresh tomatoes.
No, ezme does not freeze well since it contains tomatoes. The flavor and texture would change and it’ll turn mealy.
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Turkish Ezme Recipe
- 3 large tomatoes firm and fresh
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 green bell pepper see notes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 tsp sumac
- Chop the tomatoes very finely and place them in a bowl. Chop the onions and peppers very finely as well and add them to the tomatoes.
- Add the minced garlic and finely chopped parsley to the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Add in the tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper and sumac to the chopped vegetables. Stir well and make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve as mezze, sauce or salad.
- Serve ezme as a mezze or dip with hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, labneh and pita chips. pita, Turkish pide bread or lavash. Ezme can also be served as a sauce or condiment with dishes such as kofta kebab or kebabs like shish tawook, grilled chicken or beef shish kabob.
- Canned tomatoes won't work for this recipe since their texture and flavor is different from fresh ones.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You cannot freeze ezme.