Heart shaped Lahmacun

A Valentine’s Day recipe from Turkey

Lahmacun, pronounced “Lah-Ma-June,” is a Turkish dish that is one of my favorite dishes I grew up eating. It’s considered “Turkish Pizza” because it is created like a pizza. It consists of flattened dough with a meat base that is baked. It’s bursting with flavor and the different seasonings transport all the way to the beautiful country of Turkey.

There are three components of this recipe: the dough, meat and garnish.

Dough ingredients:
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar

Meat ingredients:
¾ pounds of ground beef, preferably 70 percent lean
½ tablespoon of black pepper
½ tablespoon of salt
A dash of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 yellow onion, grated
2 cloves of grated garlic
1 cup of Italian parsley
2 red tomatoes, grated
1 green Pepper
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon of red pepper paste
1 tablespoon of tomato paste


Garnish ingredients:
Chopped White onion with sumac seasoning (Sumac is optional)
Lemon Wedges
Chopped Italian Parsley.
Tomatoes (optional)

1. To begin making the dough, mix the flour along with the olive oil, salt and sugar. Add the warm water and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

2. While the dough is resting, it is time to make the meat. Add the ground beef into a large bowl along with the black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, grated yellow onion, tomato and pepper paste. With clean hands, use your hands to mix it so the ingredients combine and the flavor soaks in. Using your hands will take less time than a large mixer. Next, use a food processor to chop the parsley, red and green peppers, tomatoes and onions. Add them to the bowl and combine with the meat, continuing to use your hands.

3. As the meat is being mixed, the dough will be ready to be molded. First, divide the ball of dough into roughly 12 large egg shapes. Sprinkle some flour on them so you can roll the dough out smoothly. Roll your dough into flat circles. To make them more appropriate for Valentine’s Day, use a knife to cut the dough into a heart shape!

4. Next, cover the dough in a thin layer of meat. Place the Lahmacun onto a flat baking pan.. You will cook it until the meat is fully cooked, about 5 minutes, turning it around occasionally. When it is all done, you can sprinkle the lemon juice on top, along with onions, tomatoes, and parsley!

It’s very delicious and it can win the heart of a significant other or friend! When one gives it to their lover in Turkey, they say “Afiyet Olsun, Seni çok seviyorum.” which means “Enjoy your meal. I love you so much!”