I love this menemen recipe!! Menemen is a Turkish egg dish that combines sweet frying peppers, tomatoes and, of course, eggs. My fiance Mehmet is Turkish and menemen is actually the first thing he ever made for me. This recipe is pretty simple and straightforward in terms of ingredients, so it is important to find quality ingredients like organic, pasture-raised, humane-certified eggs; ripe, juicy organic tomatoes; and organic, sweet frying peppers.
The exact Turkish sweet peppers (çarliston pepper) can be tricky to find in the US, so we used Italian sweet peppers (Cubanelle), which he said are practically the same. When we can’t find those (often the case), we use bell peppers or poblano peppers, which he said are an okay substitute. Bell pepper tastes fine to me but I definitely notice a better texture and flavor when we use the Italian sweet peppers.
The onion debate
Mehmet said that some families use onions in this dish and others don’t. It’s actually a hotly debated topic, which sparked a Twitter poll where thousands of voters were practically 50/50 about whether or not to use onion in menemen. Mehmet prefers without onion — he says it gives it a fresh, light finish that is more suitable for breakfast. So, this menemen recipe leaves onion out. However, it’s totally acceptable to sauté an onion into this dish at same time as the peppers for a more savory finish.
Menemen Recipe: Turkish Eggs with Tomato and Sweet Pepper
Menemen is a breakfast that will give you the energy and strength you need to start your day. The pasture-raised eggs, tomatoes and sweet peppers work in perfect harmony in this simple, one-pan meal.
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time: 35 minutes
- Servings: 4
- 3 Italian sweet peppers (Cubanelle), diced; or you can substitute green bell pepper or poblano here as well
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups diced tomatoes with juices, we used 3 beefsteak tomatoes1
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)2
- 6 pasture-raised eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Chopped green onion to garnish (optional)
- Preheat a medium pan on medium-high heat.
- Add diced pepper (without oil at first for a slightly roasted taste). Roast for 5 minutes.
- Add olive oil and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes until tender.
- Add the butter, salt, pepper, and tomato with their juices and saute until soft and hot, about 10 minutes.3
- Now, crack eggs over the tomato and let them simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Then, use a spoon to break the yolks and very lightly scramble them. You do not want to fully incorporate them as you normally would when you scramble eggs, only swirl them around a bit.
- Cook until just barely set, about 4 minutes. You can move the egg whites around a bit to help them cook. If you prefer yolks more set, you can move those around too and even extend cooking time.4
- Garnish with green onion if you wish and serve in the pan5
- 1You can used canned chopped tomatoes as well.
- 2Since we are veggan (vegan + eggs), we do NOT use dairy products of any kind. For this reason, we do not use real butter (contains milk). Earth balance is very easy to find in just about any major grocery store in the US.
- 3You can cut these times by half if you’re in a crunch, but often with cooking patience pays off in having deeper flavor and juicier consistency.
- 4An old trick for eggs in any dish is “if the eggs look done in the pan they are overcooked.” This always stayed with me, and it’s so true.
- 5Traditionally this dish is eaten directly out of the pan or spooned onto each plate directly from the pan at the table. It’s a sort of communal dish, perfect with Turkish bagels to sop up some of the extra juices.