Indulge in the vibrant flavors of the Middle East with a captivating twist on the traditional mezze platter. Experience the perfect balance of flavors, colors, and textures as you share this unique culinary journey with friends and family. From zesty hummus infused with exotic spices to crispy falafel balls bursting with fragrant herbs, each bite will transport you to the bustling streets of the Middle East. So gather around, grab a plate, and get ready to savor the delectable delights of this modern twist on a beloved classic.
Traditional mezze ingredients
To create a Middle Eastern mezze platter with a modern twist, it’s important to start with high-quality traditional ingredients. These include:
- Hummus: The classic chickpea dip that is smooth, creamy, and packed with flavor.
- Baba ganoush: A smoky eggplant dip that adds depth and richness to any mezze platter.
- Muhammara: A spicy and tangy dip made from roasted red pepper, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.
Modern twist ingredients
Now, let’s add a modern twist to our mezze platter by incorporating some creative ingredients:
- Beetroot hummus: A vibrant and earthy twist on traditional hummus, made with roasted beets for a stunning pink color.
- Roasted eggplant dip with feta: Taking baba ganoush to the next level by adding salty feta cheese for an extra burst of flavor.
- Spicy avocado tzatziki: A fusion of Greek and Middle Eastern flavors, combining the creaminess of avocado with the heat of spicy tzatziki sauce.
Preparing the traditional mezze
To prepare the traditional mezze, start by making the classic dips:
- Hummus: In a food processor, blend cooked chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Baba ganoush: Char the skin of an eggplant over an open flame or under the broiler until blackened. Scoop out the flesh, and blend it with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sumac.
- Muhammara: Blend roasted red bell peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and spices until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Adding a modern twist
Now it’s time to add the modern twists to your mezze platter:
- Beetroot hummus: Roast beets in the oven until tender, then blend them with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. The vibrant pink color will make this dip a showstopper.
- Roasted eggplant dip with feta: After roasting the eggplant as you would for traditional baba ganoush, crumble in some feta cheese and mix well. This addition adds a tangy and salty kick.
- Spicy avocado tzatziki: Mash ripe avocados with Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, chopped cucumber, dill, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. This creamy and spicy dip is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Classic Mezze Dips
Hummus is the star of any Middle Eastern mezze platter. It’s made by blending cooked chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt until smooth and creamy. You can adjust the consistency by adding more olive oil or water as needed. Serve it with warm pita bread or crunchy fresh vegetables for a delightful dip.
Baba ganoush is a smoky and flavorful eggplant dip that adds a unique element to your mezze platter. Char the skin of the eggplant until blackened, then scoop out the softened flesh. Blend it with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac to enhance the flavors.
Muhammara is a spicy and tangy dip that originates from Syria. It’s made by blending roasted red bell peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and spices until smooth. The result is a vibrant red dip with a complex flavor profile. Serve it with pita bread or fresh vegetables for a zesty addition to your mezze platter.
Take your hummus to the next level by incorporating earthy and vibrant roasted beets. The process is similar to making traditional hummus, but with the addition of cooked beets. The result is a stunning pink dip that not only looks beautiful but also tastes delicious. Serve it alongside the classic hummus for a colorful and flavorful mezze platter.
Roasted eggplant dip with feta
Elevate your baba ganoush by adding crumbled feta cheese. The creamy and tangy feta complements the smoky roasted eggplant perfectly, creating a dip that is rich in flavor and texture. Serve it with warm pita bread or breadsticks for a twist on the traditional baba ganoush that your guests will love.
Spicy avocado tzatziki
Combine the creaminess of avocado with the heat of spicy tzatziki sauce to create a unique fusion dip. Mash ripe avocados with Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, chopped cucumber, dill, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. This creamy and spicy dip pairs well with grilled meats or can be enjoyed as a refreshing dip with pita chips or vegetable sticks.
Traditional Middle Eastern Salads
Tabbouleh is a fresh and vibrant salad made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s light, refreshing, and packed with Mediterranean flavors. The combination of herbs, vegetables, and grains makes tabbouleh a nutritious addition to your mezze platter.
Fattoush is a crispy Middle Eastern salad that combines lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and fresh herbs. It is typically topped with toasted pita bread for added crunch. The dressing is made with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sumac, which adds a tangy and citrusy flavor. Fattoush is a great choice if you’re looking for a salad that is light, satisfying, and full of texture.
Moutabal is a smoky and creamy eggplant dip similar to baba ganoush. The main difference is that moutabal includes the addition of tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. The result is a rich and flavorful dip that pairs well with warm pita bread. Moutabal can be a great alternative to traditional baba ganoush if you’re looking for a dip with a creamier consistency.
Innovative Salad Variations
For a modern twist on traditional tabbouleh, swap out the bulgur wheat for quinoa. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool. Mix it with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. This variation is not only gluten-free but also adds extra protein and nutrients to your mezze platter.
Grilled halloumi fattoush
Grilled halloumi is a delicious addition to any salad, and it works particularly well in fattoush. Simply grill or pan-fry slices of halloumi cheese until golden brown and crispy. Toss it with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, fresh herbs, and toasted pita bread. The salty and slightly tangy halloumi adds a punch of flavor and a unique texture to your mezze platter.
For a lighter twist on traditional moutabal, try using roasted cauliflower instead of eggplant. Roast cauliflower florets until golden brown and tender, then blend them with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth. The result is a creamy and flavorful dip that is lower in calories and carbohydrates. Serve it with warm pita bread or vegetable sticks for dipping.
Lamb kebabs are a classic Middle Eastern dish that is full of flavor. Marinate cubes or minced lamb with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and salt. Skewer the marinated meat and grill or bake until cooked to your desired doneness. Serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce for a satisfying and protein-packed kebab experience.
Chicken kebabs are a lighter alternative to lamb kebabs, and they are equally delicious. Marinate chicken breast or thigh pieces with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt. Skewer the marinated chicken and grill or bake until cooked through. The result is tender and juicy chicken kebabs that can be enjoyed with a side of hummus and grilled vegetables.
For a vegetarian or vegan option, vegetable kebabs are a great choice. Choose a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Skewer them and grill or bake until tender. Serve with your favorite dips or sauces for a flavorful and colorful addition to your mezze platter.
Modern Kebab Twists
Turmeric-spiced lamb kebabs
Add a twist to classic lamb kebabs by incorporating turmeric into the marinade. Turmeric not only adds a vibrant yellow color but also enhances the flavor and provides numerous health benefits. Marinate the lamb with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, and salt. Grill or bake until cooked to perfection. The result is tender, juicy, and flavorful kebabs that are sure to impress.
Lemon herb chicken skewers
Fresh herbs and lemon add a bright and citrusy twist to chicken kebabs. Marinate the chicken with olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and thyme, salt, and pepper. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and grill or bake until cooked through. The combination of lemon and herbs creates a refreshing and aromatic flavor that pairs well with the chicken.
Mango chili tofu kebabs
For a vegetarian or vegan twist on kebabs, try using tofu as the main ingredient. Marinate tofu cubes with olive oil, lemon juice, mango puree, chili powder, garlic, and salt. Let the tofu absorb the flavors for at least 30 minutes before grilling or baking until crispy and golden. The mango chili marinade adds a sweet and spicy kick to the tofu, making it a tasty and satisfying option for your mezze platter.
Traditional Bread and Dippers
Pita bread is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and is perfect for scooping up dips or wrapping around kebabs. You can either buy premade pita bread or make your own by combining flour, water, yeast, olive oil, salt, and a pinch of sugar. Knead the dough, let it rise, then bake it in a hot oven until puffed and golden. Serve warm pita bread with your favorite dips or use it as a base for your kebab wraps.
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern street food made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. Shape the mixture into small balls or patties and deep-fry or bake until crispy and golden brown. The result is a crunchy exterior and a soft and flavorful interior. Serve falafel alongside your dips or use it to build your own delicious pita sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and tahini sauce.
Olives and pickles
Completing a traditional mezze platter are olives and pickles, which add a salty and tangy element. Choose a variety of olives such as green, kalamata, or stuffed olives for a range of flavors. Additionally, pickled vegetables like cucumbers, turnips, and radishes are a common feature in Middle Eastern cuisine. These tangy and crunchy bites provide a refreshing contrast and complement the richer flavors of the dips and kebabs.
Contemporary Bread and Dippers
Give your bread selection a modern twist by making za’atar flatbread. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. Combine the za’atar spice mix with flour, water, olive oil, and yeast to make the flatbread dough. Roll it out and cook it on a hot griddle or bake it in the oven until crispy and golden. The addition of za’atar adds an aromatic and flavorful element to your mezze platter.
Cheese-filled baklava bites
Put a unique spin on traditional baklava by creating bite-sized versions filled with a savory cheese filling. Layer phyllo pastry with a mixture of your favorite cheeses, such as feta and ricotta, along with herbs and spices. Bake until golden and crispy, then drizzle with honey or sprinkle with powdered sugar. These cheesy baklava bites are a perfect blend of sweet and savory and will add a delightful surprise to your mezze platter.
Pickled veggies with a twist
Elevate your pickled vegetable selection by experimenting with unique flavors and ingredients. Add spices like turmeric, ginger, or cinnamon to your pickling liquid for added depth. You can also try pickling unconventional vegetables like carrots, green beans, or cauliflower. The result will be vibrant and tangy pickles that bring a modern twist to your mezze platter. Serve them alongside your other dippers for a burst of flavor.
By incorporating these traditional and modern twist ingredients, preparing classic mezze dips, creative dips, traditional Middle Eastern salads, innovative salad variations, delicious kebabs, modern kebab twists, traditional bread and dippers, and contemporary bread and dippers, you can create a Middle Eastern mezze platter that combines the best of both worlds. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply looking to try something new, sharing this mezze platter with a modern twist is sure to impress your friends and family. Enjoy exploring the vibrant flavors and textures that make this cuisine so beloved.