Mezze: 4 Middle Eastern Appetizers

Middle Eastern Dips / Mezze

Mixed platter of dips (clockwise, starting at the top): Cacik, Tabbouleh, Baba Ganoush, Mirza Ghasemi, Hummus

I’ve been inspired to make a variety of Middle Eastern dips. This mezze plate is a smattering that represents my travel to London, Michigan, and a local Persian restaurant around the corner.

I started off by making a Lebanese-style garlic paste. It ended up being more liquidy than fluffy and mayo-like. So I used a dab here and there in each of the dips. This had 8 oz of garlic pulverized in the food processor, so a little bit goes a long way…

Lebanese-style garlic dip

Lebanese Garlic Paste

½# of garlic, peeled

1 T lemon juice

¼ C olive oil

Kosher salt

As another base for the baba ganoush and hummus, I made tahini. I don’t have exact measurements because I just poured what seemed to be like a cup of sesame seeds into the food processor and pulverized it. I made two iterations of tahini, one with toasted sesame seeds and one without. The one with toasted sesames turned out more flavorful and nuttier, as you would imagine. Once it gets creamy in the food processor, add oil, but not before then, otherwise you’ll end up with chunky tahini — and no one likes chunky tahini! 😛

Here’s my hummus and baba ganoush recipes:

Hummus

 

1 can garbanzo beans (I cheat)

¼ C Tahini 

¼ C lemon juice

¼ C garlic paste (I like it garlicky)

½ C olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Kosher salt

  1. Process all ingredients in food processor until creamy

Baba Ganoush

1 eggplant, broiled

1 T garlic paste

1 T lemon juice

2 T tahini

Pinch of Kosher salt

Cilantro and/or Parsley for garnish

  1. Process all ingredients in food processor until creamy

The baba ganoush ended up being super creamy and fluffy, but rather weak in eggplant flavor. So I think next time I’ll add more eggplant or char the eggplant more in the broiler.

When we visit our local restaurant Anar around the corner, we always order Mirza Ghasemi as an appetizer. It is an eggplant and tomato dip served with Lavash. I find this dip yummier than baba ganoush because of the the acidity and brightness that the tomato brings. Only when I researched recipes for this dish, did I find out they crack and egg at the end of the cooking process. I imagine this is to create another textural creaminess to the overall dish.

Mirza Ghasemi

Mirza Ghasemi

1 eggplant

3 roma tomatoes

1 T garlic paste

1 T turmeric

1 T tomato paste

¾ onion, minced (optional)

s&p

1 egg

  1. Broil ingredients and puree half in a food processor. 
  2. Optionally, add in sauteed minced onion (not traditional, but adds more flavor).
  3. Saute all ingredients over medium high heat until well combined. 
  4. Scramble egg and pour over eggplant mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes until well combined. Serve warm with flatbread or pita bread.

In Rochester Hills, Michigan, we discovered this awesome place called Shish Palace. Their tabbouleh tastes fresh and is super addictive. Paired with their garlic dip, it is heavenly! I haven’t come across any other place that makes those better. Here was my feeble attempt at tabbouleh:

Tabbouleh

1 roma tomato, small dice

1 bunch of mint

2 bunches of parsley

¼ C lemon juice

¼ C olive oil

¼ C cooked bulgur wheat

Kosher salt

Black pepper

The salad turned out very herbaceous – yay! Though, it’s not exactly like the restaurant’s — so the next time I go back I need to analyze more and figure out which modifications to make! 😛

The last dip I made was not inspired by anything but rather just looking through photos of mezze dishes, what could I add in for some variety? Cacik. We are usually stocked with a tub of Greek yogurt in the fridge for granola, yogurt parfait breakfasts, so taking a chunk of Greek yogurt to make this dip was no problem!  This was the quickest to whip together and doesn’t require a ton of effort:

Cacik

¼- ½ C Greek Yogurt

¼ cucumber, small dice

1 bunch of mint leaves, chiffonade

1 T garlic paste

1 T lemon juice

2 T olive oil

Kosher salt

  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. Yes, that’s it! 🙂

Overall, my baba ganoush recipe needs some work, followed by the tabbouleh, but all else are pretty strong in flavor and the cacik adds a nice refreshing element. I intend to test these dips out on my family on a game night — we’ve been looking for healthy snacks lately and I think this fits the bill! 😉

 

 

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