Almost Turkish Recipes

Antalya Bean Salad (Antalya Usulü Piyaz)

Piyaz is what we call bean salads in Turkey, but the term is actually Persian and means "onion." Piyaz is usually prepared with cannellini beans and kneaded onion; dressed with olive oil and vinegar; spiced up with pepper flakes; and decorated with tomatoes, parsley, and hard-boiled eggs. Depending on the region, piyaz might have green onions or sumac. However, in Antalya, a beautiful city with magnificent beaches and  rich history on the Mediterranean coast, piyaz is made differently than the rest of Turkey. The difference is tahini and garlic, which had put me off at my first try because it was so different and incredibly rich than the piyazs I was used to. In Tekirdag, my hometown, and in Antalya piyaz is usually served with grilled meatballs. 

I've had different versions of Antalya bean salad in years. Sometimes the difference is how it's served; with or without onions, sometimes it's the beans; sometimes the beans are served warm and sometimes at room temperature; and sometimes it's the sauce; some add smashed or pureed beans to the sauce, some add a little bit of sugar to level the tahini, and some add cumin, which I liked a lot. This is how I make my Antalya bean salad at home to go with grilled meatballs.  

2 cups of cooked cannellini beans (save the cooking water)
1 small onion, cut finely in julienne or half-moons (in Antalya, they serve the onion diced, but I prefer julienne)
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 or two hard boiled eggs, sliced or grated (I don't like eating cold eggs, so I skip this one)
1 tomato, peeled if you feel like it and diced

the sauce
1/2 cup tahini
4 tbsp vinegar, red wine or apple
Juice of half a lemon 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin, if you want to try it with cumin 

-Soak the beans overnight. Bring them to a boil and then on medium heat cook them until soft but never mushy, they should be holding themselves fine. Save the cooking water. OR, ofcourse, use canned beans.
-In a bowl mix first tahini and vinegar to a smooth consistency. It will get clumpy; it's fine, it will loosen up. Just keep stirring. 
-Add minced garlic, salt, and garlic. If the sauce is thick, this is where we will add the cooking water from beans, a couple of tablespoons at a time, slowly. Use a whisk to get rid of clumps. Add water until you have a smooth tahini sauce, but not very runny. The tahini sauce shouldn't be too runny or thick. Since different tahini brands have different density, I cannot tell you exactly how many tablespoons of water you need. Finally add lemon juice and half of the olive oil and whisk again. 
-First place the beans on a plate (I like the warm bean version so I keep the beans in the pot until I serve them to keep them warm). In Turkey piyaz is usually served on oval, slightly deep serving platters so you have enough sauce to dip your crusty bread in.
-Slice the onion thinly julienne style and knead with 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Rinse and squeeze the excess water and place on the bean. 
-Add diced tomatoes on top.
-This is where that boiled egg will come. You can add the egg chopped or grated on top. 
-Pour the tahini dressing over everything on the plate evenly.
-Sprinkle finely chopped parsley on top of everything.
-Finally, dress with the rest of the olive oil and serve with a lemon slice or half a lemon on the side, because there's no such thing as piyaz being "too sour."  Piyaz is usually tossed at the table and you have to, have to soak that juice with bread! 


  1. I think it sounds fabulous. I like Tahini quite a lot, but I do agree it can be too strong in some combinations. With these beans it sounds perfect to me. With a bit of red pepper flakes too! I must make this sometime, saving the recipe now.

  2. I love the idea of tahini and beans -- the beans alone can be quite bland, and the tahini quite strong. I will definitely put this on my list to try. (It's also a great use of pantry items!)

  3. Again a must try for me!! thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Anonymous5:55 AM

    Hello Burcu, I liked both the recipe and the new layout of your blog. Good work, congratulations! It has been a long while without cooking any bean salad, I really missed it:-)

  5. I love this new layout, so clean and sleek :D
    another wonderful salad!

  6. I love beans in all shapes and sizes!
    The bean salad sounds particularly good - especially with the tahini which I really like.
    I did the same thing when we moved to Andorra - tried all the beans trying to find ones I was familiar with!

  7. Thanks you all for your nice comments on the recipe and the layout.

    Katie, are there any Andorran recipes on your blog that we can explore?

  8. Oh!! That looks heavenly! I swear, every one of your recipes are fabulous!!!!

  9. this sounds so nutritious.. what a twist to the egg salad.

  10. Anonymous1:53 PM

    just thought you should know that someone is using your images and recipe on this page.

  11. Anonymous2:04 PM

    this is one of the best piyaz recipes ever! try blending in about two spoonfuls of mashed beans into the sauce (this is considered to be the 'secret' ingredient of the antalya cooks).

  12. I'll definitely try the secret ingredient next time. Thanks!

  13. Anonymous4:21 PM

    It looks really delicious. I will try it now. Forever Antalya :))

  14. When I watched my "host mom" in Antalya make this, she used a little oil in the dressing. Do you recommend this? I tried to replicate her "recipe" it tasted terrible, so I'm happy to have a real recipe with measurements - maybe that will help! Either that, or time and experience. Anyway, thanks so much and I love your blog.

  15. We have prepared it today and so much loved. A perfect recipe. Suggested to everyone who cares about taste.

  16. Anonymous5:09 AM

    This dish is amazing. I can't recommend it highly enough. Refreshing and yet filling.