Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fiesta Quinoa Salad with Zesty Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

photo via @BEBinthekitch

In honor of world vegetarian day yesterday we created this filling salad packed with vitamin A & C, iron, potassium, fiber and protein. It can serve as a meal or as a filling side dish with lighter fare. The lime-cilantro vinaigrette really gives this salad a refreshing, tangy flavor that will please even the most jaded palates.   

Fiesta Quinoa Salad with Zesty Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette 

Serves 6 people:

1 cup Quinoa uncooked (3.5 cups cooked)
1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed*
2/3 cup Sliced Black Olives
1 Sweet Potato, diced into cubes
½ Red Onion, sliced & diced

½ cup Extra Virgin First Cold Press Olive Oil
1 lemon juiced
2 limes juiced
¼ cup chopped cilantro/coriander
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Step 1: First cook the quinoa, 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of filtered water. Before cooking the quinoa, make sure to rinse the seeds a few times to increase their nutritional content and to rinse away the bitter taste that can result if cooked straight as is from package. Then fluff quinoa and leave to cool for about 1-2 hours.

Step 2: As your quinoa is cooking scrub down a sweet potato to get off all of the debris and make it fit for eating with the skin so that you can really take advantage of the high-fiber potential of sweet potatoes. After carefully cleaning cut the sweet potato into cubes and bake at 200 degrees celsius for about 25-30 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Step 3: Mix quinoa, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, red onion, black olives all together in a bowl. Fluff with a fork so as not to mush all ingredients together.

Step 4: Prepare dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, cilantro, cumin powder and red pepper flakes.

Step 5: Pour dressing over quinoa salad; let rest for a bit before serving for best results.

* Black Beans would be even better but as I didn’t have time to cook beans I used canned Kidney Beans, which are easily available in Turkey.

Recipe by Belkis Boyacigiller

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Immune System Boosting Hot'n Sour Soup

The other day I was looking in the fridge, trying to figure out what to make when my eyes spied two packs of Shiitake mushrooms. Seeing as how the weather is cooling down here in Istanbul, I decided to make use of the mushrooms to create a warm and soothing soup. Growing up our father used to make an Asian hot & spicy soup, I tried to call him to get his recipe but as I couldn’t reach him I researched online and ended up just throwing together ingredients I had on hand to create a super-immune boosting soup that was a riff on my dad's. I used a list of top anti-cancer ingredients from the appendix in the book Anti-Cancer as inspiration, so that’s how I can say this is a super-immunity soup. Hope you enjoy!

Recipe: Serves 4

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 handfuls sliced green onions
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 box silken tofu, sliced into cubes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 cups of water/vegetable stock depending on how much water you already put into the pot, if you already have about 1 cup, then just add 3 more.
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Top with 1 handful of sliced green onions

Optional: For a more crunchy texture in your soup (Bamboo shoots or bean sprouts, added last minute for extra crunch), firm tofu, rice noodles…these could all replace the silken tofu or could be used in addition to for a very thick soup.

  • Put ingredients 1-3 into a pot with enough water to cover the ingredients and sauté until translucent but not brown.
  • Add in the shiitake mushrooms, the turmeric, cayenne pepper and sauté the ingredients, the mushrooms should release water so don’t worry about adding in any extra water at this point. The spices should release their aromas as the mushrooms cook.
  • Add in 1 tbsp rice vinegar, juice of 1 lemon and 3-4 cups of water or vegetable stock.

  • Boil for about 15 minutes then simmer for 10.

  • Serve with ground black pepper and a handful of sliced green onions. 

 This soup becomes better the day after, so save some for later!

**Guest Post by Belkis Boyacigiller

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegan Guide to Istanbul: Part I

Editor’s Note: My sister Belkis is writing her first guest post for Cookbooks and Cake.

For those of you who don't already know, my sister Esen and I have started keeping a daily log of our cooking and dining experiences on Instagram under the username @BEBinthekitch. Our goal is to motivate others through our plant powered adventures in the kitchen and around the world. One of the things we find ourselves doing before any trip abroad is scouring the web for a comprehensive list of restaurants, cafes and shops serving vegan-fare. We have decided to do our part to fortify the Vegan eco-system with useful information by assembling our own Vegan Guide to Istanbul. It can be difficult to find the products we need by any name in Turkey, and so we hope we will be able to help foreign and native Istanbullites navigate the food aisles a bit better by sharing our tips in this guide. And please do share your own suggestions if you have any, as this is a work in progress. **Find our address book at the end of the post.

A glimpse at BEBinthekitch

    Agave Syrup: Agave Syrup is now sold at Macrocenters, gourmet food stores and online at sites like or under the name Agave Surubu.
    Beans: We love beans here in Turkey and so you should have no trouble finding navy beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans in cans. What you can’t find canned, you can find dried online and in stores. This is one area in which organic is just as easy to find as conventionally grown. Search Cityfarm, Raya, and Sade if you are looking for organic dried goods in Turkey.
    Carob: Carob is sold under the name Keciboynuzu and is very easy to find at Kuruyemis (Dried Foods) stores around the city. You can grind the pods into a powder for use in drinks and dishes. 

    Chocolate: Available at Vegan Dukkan in the form of chocolate bars and chocolate chips under the brand Plamil. 
   Chocolate Pudding: Alpro Soya's chocolate pudding has 1.8% chocolate in it so it is definitely not vegan, but for vegetarians it is an option available at Macrocenters and Vegan Dukkan. 

    Coconut Milk: Easily found at Macrocenters, gourmet “bakkals” (general stores in posh neighborhoods like Nisantasi, Bebek, Cihangir), and mass supermarket chain Migros as well as online if saturated fat isn’t a problem for you, then Coconut Milk is a truly luxurious staple in any vegan kitchen for curries, puddings, shakes, cakes, and more.

    Coconut Oil: This superfood and wonder oil is available at many of the shops listed at the end of this post as well as here
    Coconut Water: Recently Coconut Water, under the brand Foco, has entered the market here in Istanbul and we have been finding it at Santral Sarkuteri here in Bebek, Nisantasi Sutte and our friends say they have purchased it from Istinye Park in the food section on the bottom floor.
    Cream Cheese: You can find a tofu spread similar labeled Tofu Cream Cheese at Vegan Dukkan online, but we haven't tried it yet--so the jury's still out whether or not it is good!
    Flax Oil/Powder/Seeds: Available at specialty stores like Ecolife, Organik Dukkan Bebek, Cityfarm and also at chainstore Migros under the name Keten Tohum Yagi, for oil, or just Keten Tohumu
    Helva: Sinfully sweet and rich with tahini, Helva is one of our national treats that you can pick up at almost any general store (bakkal). One of our favorite brands for helva is Koska
    Hummus: You can find vegan ready made Hummus in cans at Santral Sarkuteri, Vegan Dukkan from Baktat or fresh vegan hummus at our neighborhood favorite takeaway food shop Kantin (Bebek & Nisantasi) in their refrigerated section. Many kebab restaurants also offer hummus, just make sure they don’t add warm pastrami on top!
    Maple Syrup: Sold at around 20 dollars a bottle, 100% Maple Syrup is Akcaagac Surubu and found online and from bakkals/specialty stores such as Santral.
    Meat Substitutes: We have yet to find a supplier of tempeh, seitan, veggie sausage, etc. in Turkey, but in the past year kofte and schnitzel patties have entered the market under the brand Veggy. You can find these packaged meat substitutes in the section with smoked fish and sausage at Macrocenters as well as at Vegan Dukkan in Cihangir.   
    Miso: Available at the aforementioned specialty stores such as Santral on occasion.

Dried fruits and nuts at Guven Kuruyemis.
    Non-Dairy Milks: In Turkey most non-dairy milks you will find will be under the Alpro brand. Regular Alpro Soy Milk--Soya Sutu-- is readily available in markets across Turkey; we have found it in cities outside of Istanbul such as Marmaris, Izmir, Bodrum, and Cesme. Other non-soy non-dairy milks, such as Hazelnut, Almond, Rice and Oat varieties, can be found in Istanbul under the Alpro brand at Macrocenters and specialty stores such as Santral, Sutte, Cityfarm, Ecolife, etc. Given the added oil and sugars in Alpro, we recommend making your own nut milks if you have the time. If in a jam, stop in at a Starbucks or Caffe Nero for a cup to get you by.
    Nori Wrappers: At grocery stores such as Macrocenters and Migros and specialty stores such as Santral Sarkuteri in Bebek. Seaweed is Yosun in Turkish. 
    Nuts/Dried Fruits: Look for shops with awnings advertising Kuruyemis (literally translates to Dried Foods) and inside you’ll find everything from raw almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, chickpeas as well as dried apricots, figs, dates, raisins and more. At the truly gourmet shops you will also find raw cashews, cranberries, pecans, etc. Nisantasi Guven one of our favorite purveyors of dried fruits and nuts here in Istanbul as are Ilgi on the Asian side in Erenkoy, Bebek Kuruyemis, and Malatya Pazari in Taksim. 

Quinoa salad (hold the cheese), at House Cafe
    Quinoa: This superfood is all over Istanbul these days, popping up on menus at House Café, Lucca, Le Pain Quotidien, All Sports and elsewhere. Turks refer to this as Kinoa and you can find it at gourmet markets such as Sutte, Santral, Macrocenter and Safran as well as online via or where you can find black and red varieties as well.

   Ravioli/Manti: Stuffed with lentils, TVP, or spinach, this packaged pasta is sold at one of our favorite shops formerly Ecolife currently Vegan Dukkan.  

   Spirulina: Hawaiian Spirulina powder and tablets can be found at Vegan Dukkan, Saf as well as at websites such as ( in Turkish)
    Soy Creamer: Available at Macrocenters in the dairy aisle, not the refrigerated section.
    Sriracha: Unfortunately we have not been able to find the master of spice, Huy Fong Foods’ brand of Sriracha in Turkey, but there are others such as Suree available at Macrocenter, Migros, and specialty stores such as Gourmet Garage and the aforementioned.
    Tofu: In Turkey there are two brands of Tofu readily available on the market. For a silken tofu there is the Clearspring brand made with non-GMO soy beans and for firm tofu there is the Everfresh brand, which is a bit more difficult to find, but currently available at Santral Sarkuteri in Bebek as well as some organic food stores such as Organik Dukkan Bebek and Vegan Dukkan where you can also find a version with Oregano. In Turkey they refer to Tofu as "Tofu Peyniri"and it is typically stored next to cheese in the refrigerated dairy aisle of markets.
    TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein): Available in supermarkets as Soya Kiymasi, this is an option for preparing vegan karniyarik or lahmacun, but unfortunately it is not necessarily made from non-gmo soy beans so buyer beware. 
    Vegetarian Refried Beans: Available at Macrocenters.
    Wheatgrass:  You can place orders for crates of fresh wheatgrass for your morning juicing needs or for a mid-afternoon pick me up via that's convenient indeed.

Stay tuned for our guide to eating out in Istanbul!

Address Book for this Post: 

Cityfarm: A supermarket chain with locations in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir check out their website (great English language version) for more info: 
Ecolife Vegan Dukkan: Their new and updated site is amazing! Especially for meat substitutes you can't find anywhere else in Istanbul. For orders over 150tl they also have free delivery. Check it out:
Gourmet Garage:
Macrocenter: Currently the most luxurious supermarket chain in Turkey, this is not a health foods store though they do often carry many of the products mentioned above.
Migros: The largest supermarket chain in Turkey (also the parent company of Macrocenter) where you can find some of the very basic items listed above such as non-dairy milks and flaxseed.
Organic Dukkan Bebek: Everything from household cleaning supplies to dried legumes and personal toiletries are available at this shop 
Safran Organic: This is similar to the listing above, just in Nisantasi
Santral Sarkuteri: Definitely not a health food store, but certainly a specialty foods store.
Sutte: Locations in Nisantasi and on the asian side at 

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