Mezze? What’s that, you ask?
Mezze is a selection of small dishes eaten in the Mediterranean or Middle East for breakfast or lunch, usually. It can include so many varieties of foods: hummus, babagannoush (eggplant and yogurt), pickled veggies, yogurt (labne), and so on…
Recently we made an assorted number of these side dishes to accompany some fattoush salad, rice, and oven-baked meats. In our family, Rania is the hummus expert, and I make the babagannoush.
Hummus is traditionally made with a blend of chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic, and lemon juice– the simplest ingredients taste the best sometimes!
Babagannoush is a similar dip, made with roasted eggplant, yogurt, and some spices.
Both can be eaten with pita bread, veggies like carrots or cucumbers, or used as a spread for a healthy alternative to dressing or mayo.
Read on for the amazing recipes- super simple and super delicious, including Rania’s well known hummus! 🙂
Fattoush Salad (Lebanese Style)
Serve 2-4 people
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large tomato, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly slice
2 Persian cucumbers or 1 small English cucumber, cut in half and chopped
1 pita bread, cut into squares
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Sumac (this can be found in the spice section of the grocery store)
Combine all vegetables. Marinate in dressing for 3-4 hours. Bake pita squares drizzled in olive oil until crispy at 350 degrees. Sprinkle on top of salad when ready to serve.
Babagannoush (Eggplant and Yogurt Dip)
1-2 eggplants (globe eggplants, 2 pounds)
1/2 cup yogurt, full fat
1 clove garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Chopped parsley for garnish
Wash and poke the eggplants with a fork all around. Bake on a foil-lined tray in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the eggplants are soft. Cool the eggplant and peel the skin away. In a food processor or blender, blend the eggplant, yogurt, garlic, and spices. Taste to adjust spices or consistency (should not be thick or runny). When serving, garnish with fresh olive oil and parsley. Serve with pita bread or veggies.
Hummus (Chickpea Dip)
1 15oz can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
1 large clove garlic, sliced
1/4 cup Tahini (Sesame Paste, available at health food stores and specialty stores)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp salt
1) Drain the garbanzo beans, reserve the liquid
2) Process everything with a food processor, blender, ninja, magic bullet, even mortaer and pestle, or anything else you can think of until smooth. Slowly add the reserved liquid until the hummus reaches the desired consistency.
3) Taste the hummus and add more of any ingredient as needed.*
4) To serve, spread hummus in a dish, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle on paprika. Serve with veggies or pita bread.
* Tasting and adjusting the hummus as needed:
If it is too runny, add more garbanzo beans
If you can’t taste the garlic, add garlic power (fresh garlic will not blend well afterwards)
If you taste too much garlic, add lemon juice
If you taste too much salt, add more tahini and garbanzo beans
The beauty in these recipes is that they are adjustable–change the consistency or flavor based on what you like! Enjoy 🙂
Rubina and Rania