Friday, February 14, 2014

Baked Spinach Rolls

Baked Spinach Rolls - Ispanaklı Kol Böreği
Borek is  typically a baked or fried pastry with cheese, minced meat or vegetable fillings. It is made with a thin flaky dough known as fillo (phyllo) or, better yet, made with home made dough. Typically one uses olive oil or butter, eggs and milk to enrich the flavor. Borek was a popular dish of Ottoman cuisine. One can see it in all countries that used to be a part of the former Ottoman Empire or the countries who came in contact with the Turkic people.

I wanted to make a vegan version that also tasted good and came up with the following recipe. This one has a spinach, onions and tomatoes filling, however, you can use other fillings. If you decide to use cheese filling make sure to add some chopped fresh herbs like dill or parsley to bring out the flavor.

  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 10 sheets of fillo (phyllo) dough
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 table spoon black caraway seeds for garnish

You will need:
  • a 10 inch pie dish
  • a 3/8 to 1/3 in thick dowel stick 18 inches or longer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sauté onions in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté together for another 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and sauté for 1 more minute, set aside.

On a clean flat surface, lay 2 sheets of fillo dough, long side closer to you. Drizzle or brush avocado oil on the top layer of the two fillo sheets. Spread one fifth of the spinach filling over the half of the fillo sheets. Place the dowel close to the edge on the long side of the fillo dough.Starting on the edge with the dowel, gently start to wrap the fillo dough over the dowel. Make it a loosely wrapped roll. If it is tight, it will be hard to do the next step. When the two sheets are rolled around the dowel, gently push the two ends of the roll towards the center, gathering the dough, giving it a wrinkled look.  Holding one end of the dowel stick with one hand, slowly slide the roll into the pie dish. Lay the roll along the outer edge of the dish. 

Repeat this 4 more times, placing rolled in the pie dish spiraling inwards until you use all the fillo dough and the pie dish is full. Brush the rest of the avocado oil on top of the rolls. Sprinkle black caraway seeds on top.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it is golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. 

Cut into wedges like you would cut a pie. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Bon Appetit! Afiyet Olsun!

Fresh Baby Spinach

Sauté Onions in Olive Oil

Onions and tomatoes Sautéed
Vegetables Sautéed

Brush oil on fillo dough

Spread filling over half of the dough

Place dowel stick on the long edge where the filling is.
Start loosley rolling the dough

Dough completely rolled over the dowel

Gather the dough from both ends toward the center

Place rolls into the pie dish in a spiral

Brush remaining oil on the rolls

Sprinkle caraway seeds on top

Baked Spinach Rolls ready to be served

Monday, February 3, 2014

Barley Salad with Pomegranates

Barley Salad with Pomegranate Seeds
I make a quinoa salad similar to this. I was having my friends for lunch and I planned to cook quina pilaf to serve with stew. So, I did not want to have a quinoa salad and decided to use barley instead.  It came out just as delicious. Pomegranate seeds add a fresh sweet taste to this tangy salad. Enjoy!

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, julienne cut
  • Zest of one medium orange
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 3 table spoon olive oil (you can also use any good oil like avocado or grape seed oil)
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1-2 table spoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Soak barley in cold water at least for 2 hours or overnight. It soaks a lot of water, use a large bowl and plenty of water. In a large pot, boil 5 cups of water. Drain barley, add it to the boiling water and let it simmer until it is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, let it cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix barley with all of the ingredients except pomegranate seeds and avocado. Toss well, then add pomegranate seeds and diced avocado. Gently stir and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve chilled.

Bon Appetit! Afiyet Olsun!

Dry barley

Barley soaked in water
Pomegranate seeds

Orange zest

Coarsely chopped walnuts

Barley Salad with Pomegranate Seeds