Cooking & Spirituality: Turkish pizza

By Lucia Ferrara

We met Aysel Mercan and her family in April at the 6th Annual Iftar Dinner hosted at Precious Blood Renewal Center with the Dialogue Institute of Kansas City. (Iftar is the meal that breaks the daylong fasts Muslims practice during their holy month of Ramadan.)

Lahmacun, flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables, is a popular food throughout the western Mediterranean region and is called a Turkish pizza in Turkey. Aysel says it is her family’s favorite dinner. It is easy to prepare and easy to make ahead. Aysel says when she makes it, she usually doubles or triples the recipe below so she can make and freeze some pizzas for future meals.

Aysel invited the Cooking & Spirituality crew to her home to learn how to make and to taste Turkish pizza. We were not disappointed.

Turkish pizza (Lahmacun)

  • 1 package uncooked tortillas
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Italian parsley (fresh or dried), chopped

Puree the onions in a food processor and then transfer to a strainer to allow excess moisture to drip out. Puree the remaining vegetables in the food processor. Add the vegetable puree and onion puree to the ground meat and mix thoroughly.

To the meat and vegetable mixture, add

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1tbsp mild pepper paste
  • 1/2 tbsp hot pepper paste (if you like it spicy you can add more)
  • 1-2 tsp salt

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Allow the mixture to drain in a strainer for about 10 minutes.

Put 1-2 tbsp of the uncooked mixture on uncooked tortillas and spread evenly. Put it in the oven (415 F) for 8-12 min. I cook 4 at a time. When the edges of the tortillas turn golden, remove them from oven.

Top with fresh Italian parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Serve and enjoy.

This recipe makes between 12 and 15 pizzas.

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[Lucia Ferrara, the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions using the form below or by sending an email to]

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Aysel says when she makes Turkish Pizza, she usually doubles or triples the recipe so she can make and freeze some pizzas for future meals.


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