Vegan Turkish Lahmacun
This Lahmacun recipe is 100% vegan and tastes just like the real deal! While Lahmacun (pronounced Lah-ma-jun) may look like pizza, it is actually very different. Extra thin, round pieces of dough are topped with spiced soya mince and cooked in an oven until crisp. Traditionally it is filled with salad and eaten rolled up - it's the perfect on-the-go meal!
Lahmacun was another one of my favourite childhood meals, so I had to create a vegan version that would match the flavours that I remember so fondly. For this Lahmacun, I used the traditional combination of earthy spices, herbs and ground vegetables mixed with succulent pieces of soya mince. I wanted to create a recipe using ingredients that are readily available to everyone, so I opted for soya mince as it's sold in almost all supermarkets. You can purchase the soya mince in most South Asian, Turkish and whole foods supermarkets. Another great thing about soya mince is that it is usually sold in dried form, so it has a much longer shelf life than regular minced meat.
What is Lahmacun and Where is it From?
Lahmacun is a round shaped, thin piece of dough that is traditionally topped with minced meat, ground vegetables such as pepper, onions, garlic and tomatoes, and a combination of aromatic spices and herbs. Lahmacun is often served filled with salad and wedges of lemon. The name ‘Lahmacun’ has Arabic origins, and it translates as meat with dough. It’s a very popular dish in Turkey and various other countries that were formerly parts of the Ottoman Empire.
Can I Use Ready-Made Pizza Dough?
Absolutely not! As I mentioned already, Lahmacun is not a pizza, so if you’re going to try to make it using a pizza crust, it will not create the same taste or texture.
Vegan Lahmacun Ingredients?
For the dough:
A classic Lahmacun dough calls for yeast (I used instant dry yeast), strong white bread flour, a bit of salt, olive oil and warm water.
For the topping:
Dehydrated Soya Mince - soya mince is high in protein and has a meaty texture, so it’s one of my favourite vegan minced meat replacements.
Potato - the soya mince can be a little crumbly, even after it’s been rehydrated, so the boiled potato helps to bind the mince together to form a spreadable paste.
Red and Green Pepper - the peppers add a subtle sweet and earthy flavour to the Lahmacun topping.
Parsley - the fresh parsley adds a delicious, fresh herby taste to the topping.
Tomato - I’ve used Roma tomatoes, but any ripe tomato will do.
Garlic & Onion - you’ll find that most savoury Turkish recipes call for onion and garlic. These two ingredients add a delicious depth of flavour to almost any dish!
Tomato and Red Pepper Paste - I’ve used a combination of tomato and sweet red pepper paste to keep the recipe as authentic as possible, but if you’re unable to find both, you can just use one of them.
Sweet Paprika, Cumin, Aleppo Chilli Flakes, Black Pepper - the combination of these spices gives the Lahmacun topping an extra kick and helps to flavour the soya mince.
How To Make Lahmacun
This vegan Lahmacun recipe might look a little intimidating because of the long list of ingredients, but trust me, it’s really quite easy to put together.
For the Dough:
Place the warm water, instant dry yeast and sugar into a large measuring jug, give it a whisk and let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble up. Add the flour, oil and salt to a large bowl and pour in the water and yeast mixture.
Start mixing the dough with your hand until it comes together. Lightly dust a clean counter with flour and transfer the dough onto the surface. Knead by hand to form a smooth and elastic dough, for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is not sticking to your hands. Transfer the dough to clean bowl, cover the top with cling film and set aside while you prepare the topping.
For the Topping:
Place the dried soya mince into a large bowl and add about 480ml hot water (2 cups) and leave it to soak for about 5 minutes. Once the soya mince has softened, drain it with a fine sieve and press the soya mince down with your hand to drain out as much of the excess liquid as possible.
Blitz the boiled potato, onion, pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and parsley in your food processor until they become a fine puree.
Place the vegetable puree in a large bowl along with the rehydrated soya mince, tomato and pepper paste, olive oil, paprika, Allepo pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix well until a soft paste has formed. Cover the soya mince mixture and let the flavours infuse together for about 15 minutes.
Putting the Lahmacun Together:
Preheat your oven to 240°C (464°F, gas mark 9), knock back the dough and divide it into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and cover them with a damp tea towel. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and roll out one piece of dough at a time. Roll the dough to create a 8-9 inch circle, and try to get the dough as thin as you can get it without it tearing.
Spread 2 tbsp of the filling over the rolled-out dough, spreading the filling out to cover the surface of the dough, and press down lightly so the filling adheres to the dough.
Place the Lahmacun on a pizza tray or large lined oven tray and bake for 7-8 minutes, until the edges of the dough start to crisp up. While one Lanmacun is baking, you can start to assemble the next one. Repeat the same process until all the dough and filling is used up. Serve the Lahmacun with fresh salad and a squeeze of lemon juice.
How to Serve Lahmacun:
Lahmacun is best served fresh out of the oven, when the edges are crispy but it’s still flexible enough to roll. To serve Lahmacun wraps, squeeze some lemon juice on top, fill with Turkish style salad and roll like a burrito.
How to Store Lahmacun:
Leftover Lahmacum can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. Cover the top with cling film, and when you’re ready to serve, place it in a preheated oven to warm up for about 5-7 minutes.