Game day recipes – Easy Lebanese spread
I was looking for something different and fun to prepare for a group of friends that are coming over to watch the game together. So, I decided to make a mezze or meze (a selection of small plates, usually served in Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and lots of other countries).
For this mezze, I served: Fried kibbeh, Raw Kibbe or Kibbeh Nayyeh, spiced olives, my tabbouleh, fattoush salad, cabbage rolls or Malfouf, Lebanese Grape Leaf Rolls, simple hummus, Baba ghanoush and fresh pita bread chips.
Typically, Lebanese restaurant meals begin with a wide array of mezze – small savory dishes, such as dips, salads, and pastries. The mezze is typically followed by a selection of grilled meat or fish.
First, spiced olives, choose your favorite olives and then marinate them in smashed garlic, a dash of cumin and smoked paprika, a splash of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Trust me, you won’t regret this.
Make your own pita chips, by cutting fresh pita bread in half, length wide and then in small wedges, sprinkle with salt and a splash of olive oil, toast in your oven until golden. (you could enhance the flavor by adding chopped fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, coriander).
I bought at a Lebanese restaurant called “La Libanesa” my fried Kibbeh, but in case you are wondering these are minced beef or lamb with cracked bulgur wheat, filled with herbs and spices, here is a recipe form Olivia’s Cuisine.
Another thing I bought already made is this dish is called Lebanese Raw Kibbe – Kibbeh Nayyeh it is a raw beef with bulgur and herbs and spices, here is a recipe from Mama’s Lebanese kitchen.
Here is my husband favorite Lebanese salad, I think without a doubt. It’s called Fattoush is a bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables, such as radishes and tomatoes. The vegetables are cut into relatively large pieces compared to tabbouleh which requires ingredients to be finely chopped. Sumac (Lebanese spice) is usually used to give fattoush its sour taste.
Note: Sumac is a tart, citrusy spice, is used widely in Lebanese cuisine. It is used as a major souring agent, is rubbed on to kebabs before grilling and may be used in this way with fish or chicken or as topping in salads, is available at specialty foods stores and Middle Eastern markets.
- 4 teaspoons ground sumac, soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
- 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons (or more) white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pita breads, halved, toasted until golden brown, broken into bite-size pieces
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 purple onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Baby romaine lettuces, or 1 small head romaine lettuce, trimmed
- 2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- Ground sumac (optional)
- For dressing:
- Combine sumac with soaking liquid, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, salt, 2 teaspoons vinegar, and dried mint in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly, until well blended.
- For salad:
- Place pita pieces in a medium bowl; pour oil over and toss to coat. Season pita to taste with salt.
- Mix tomatoes, cucumber, onions, salad, herbs in a large bowl. Add ¾ of dressing; toss to coat, add more dressing if needed. Season with salt. Add pita; toss once. Sprinkle sumac.
Hummus is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini (Sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. The basic and simplest hummus recipe is very easy to make :
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 2/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- In a food processor or a blender, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and salt to taste, mix until smooth and creamy.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
- Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.
Here is the recipe for my Tabbouleh I made a while ago, you can always add more chopped mint, coriander and parsley leaves. Here is my recipe for the Baba ghanoush:
- 3 small or 1 large eggplant
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, the juice
- 2 tablespoon Tahini paste
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- olive oil (for roasting)
- Preheat oven to high broil in the oven.
- Slice your eggplant in half and place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 5-10 minutes, until the eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan, spoon out the flesh and place into a food processor. It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easy.
- Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, a pinch of salt and mix until creamy. Add parsley last and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
The malfouf or rice and meat filled cabbage rolls are delicious here are two different recipes that I love, the first from Suzy over The Mediterranean dish and the other one from Maureen over Rose water and Orange blossoms. And the Lebanese Grape Leaf Rolls a beautiful recipe from Maureen over Rose water and Orange blossoms.