We love Halloumi’s squeaky texture, but some torn salted mozzarella would be just as good (just don’t try grilling it).
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
- ½ cup halved pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives
- 3 tablespoons salted, roasted pistachios
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise (or crosswise if using 1 large eggplant)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
- 1 8-ounce package Halloumi cheese
- 2 large Persian cucumbers or 1 small English hothouse cucumber
- 1 pound tomatoes, halved, cut into wedges if large
- Halloumi cheese can be found in Greek markets, natural foods and specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.
Prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate. Grill scallions and jalapeño, turning once, until lightly blistered and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes for scallions and 4 minutes for jalapeño. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
Slice open jalapeño and scrape out seeds (unless you like things very spicy); discard. Coarsely chop chile and scallions. Mix in a medium bowl with olives, pistachios, lemon juice, vinegar, and 5 Tbsp. oil; season dressing with salt and pepper.
Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Mix thyme, sesame seeds, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Lightly coat pitas and eggplants with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and rub with thyme mixture. Grill, turning occasionally and moving to a cooler part of grill if needed to avoid scorching, until pitas are golden and crisp and eggplants are browned and tender, 5 minutes for pitas, and 8–10 minutes for eggplants. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, grill Halloumi until charred and soft, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to platter with pitas and eggplants.
Tear pitas and Halloumi into chunky pieces, then cut eggplants into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and add cucumbers, tomatoes, and dressing. Give everything a good toss to bring it all together; season with salt. Top with mint leaves and dill sprigs.
Nutritional ContentCalories (kcal) 630Fat (g) 47Saturated Fat (g) 14Cholesterol (mg) 45Carbohydrates (g) 38Dietary Fiber (g) 9Total Sugars (g) 10Protein (g) 20Sodium (mg) 1060Reviews SectionDelicious and so easy! I grilled red onion instead of scallions and added it on it's own instead of part of the dressing and it turned out great!AnonymousChicago, IL 07/28/20
Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad
Crunchy zatar seasoned pita chips, sweet caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and crisp, lemon laced vegetables our Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad is a perfect light dinner that hints towards the warmer months ahead.
Yield: Serves 4 as a main
Roasted pita and vegetables:
- 4 small Pita bread rounds, cut into squares
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large red onion, cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup Zatar seasoning (2 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. thyme, 1 Tbs. oregano, 2 Tbs. sumac)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, cut or torn into small pieces
- 1/3 pound feta, cubed
- 1 large cucumber, cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
Lemon zest vinaigrette:
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- For the roasted pita and vegetables: Heat oven to 425.
- In a small bowl, mix together the zatar seasoning, garlic powder and salt. In a large bowl toss the tomatoes and onions with half of the olive oil, and half the zatar mixture until well coated. Spread the vegetables evenly on a sheet tray lined with parchment or a silicon baking mat.
- In the empty bowl, toss the pita strips with the remaining oil and zatar mixture until well coated and spread on a separate baking sheet.
- Slide both sheets into the oven. Roast the pita chips for 10 minutes, and the tomatoes and onions for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- For the lemon zest vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined.
- To assemble the salad: In a large serving bowl, toss the lettuce, feta, and cucumber with the lemon zest vinaigrette. Top the salad with the roasted tomatoes, red onions, pita chips, and fresh mint. Serve immediately.
- All the parts of this salad can be made ahead and assembled immediately prior to eating. The pita chips keep in a sealed container for 2 days. They are a great snack on their own.
I switched from eggplant fattoush , a salad from our sister city , Damascus (Syria), to an eggplant tostada . Instead of making pita croutons and frying them, I figured I would save time and effort and present the eggplant salad on a pita, grilled instead of fried. A sprinkle of halloumi (or other) cheese, not traditional, but needed to beef up this light meal.
The difference between the Syrian version and ours is that they use pomegranate molasses and we use sumac . Yummy either way.
INGREDIENTS: 2 servings
- 1 large eggplant, peeled, sliced and sprinkled with salt and left to drain in a sieve over a bowl.
- a handful of parsley, chopped or a few basil leaves, torn
- 1 small green pepper
- 2 or 3 green onions
- 1 large organic tomato, seeded and cut in dice
- 2/3 cup grated Halloumi cheese (or any other grilling cheese)
- 1 ( at least day-old) pita bread, split open
- DRESSING:2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, salt, pepper
- Can be done earlier that day: rinse and dry the eggplant slices cut in dice. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and fry the eggplant for 10 minutes or so until they are golden all over.
- Drain on paper towels and set aside. Split the pita open and brush it with a cloud of olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Toast for about 7 minutes until crispy but not brown.
- Sprinkle the eggplants on top, then the onion, tomatoes, green pepper and cheese.
- Broil (or toast some more) for about 3 minutes, watching it to make sure it does not burn. Pull it out of the oven, sprinkle with basil or parsley, the dressing and serve immediately.
NOTE: if you don’t have any pomegranate molasses, use sumac instead and more lemon.
Lebanese Main Courses
Okra stew, sometimes called yakhnit bamyeh, isn’t as vegetarian as it sounds. It usually contains beef. What it is is a quick, nutritionally dense winter favourite that can be cooked all in one pot. Comfort food at its finest.
Lebanese Freekeh with Chicken
Freekeh is a grain made from green durum wheat that’s both a common rice substitute and incredibly fun to say. It’s at its best when topped with succulent fried or grilled chicken and garnished with chopped parsley and toasted nuts.
Kafta is somewhere between a sausage and a meatball, combining beef, onions, parsley, and spices, rolled into shape and grilled on the barbecue.
The classic Lebanese stuffed eggplant uses a mixture of rice and meat sandwiched between halved eggplants. The eggplants are then boiled in a mouthwatering tomato broth.
Grilled Fatoush is a joke, right? Wrong, Skippy – it was part of the strange, but very satisfying dish we had on Monday. We do cook strange things from time to time, and I’ve been reluctant to share them with you. But just last night we had a fine dinner of grilled cabbage with Naira sauce and . . . but there we go again.
The title of this blog also refers to a strangely compelling, though disturbing television program that Beez and I watched over the last month or so. (The second season was even more disturbing, so we’ve backed away. Our general theory about monsters is that if we can’t see them, they don’t exist. Pulling the covers over your head is an effective defense.)
The kind of dish that we’re going to tell you about this week, and probably next, is the kind of thing you notice in the New York Times Magazine or in an enticing picture in bon appétit or the weekend Wall Street Journal and, well, it’s just the two of you, and if the dish goes south, you can always cook some eggs and bacon. So why not?
I was attracted to Grilled Fatoush with Halloumi and Eggplant because I happened to have some Halloumi in the cheese drawer. Halloumi is a salty, chewy, Greek Cheese that can be grilled. It will not fall through the grill since it doesn’t melt, it just chars and warms and softens nicely. Einstein, in his final years, was working on an explanation of how cheese can exist in such a state. (His initial findings were that this would have been possible for lactose-based products in the first few milliseconds after the Big Bang, but not thereafter. His inability to solve the problem made his final years uncomfortable. He was often heard to mutter, as he wandered around the campus at Princeton, “My beautiful theory – sunk by a low-class cheese.”)
Also, we crave eggplant and we like fatoush – a Middle-Eastern mixture of onions, peppers, tomatoes and vinegar that is absolute dynamite as a topping for avocado toast (dust it with a little cayenne for a bit more spice). So when I saw this recipe, months ago, in bon appétit, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I’d be cooking this for my honey. A rainy, cold, late Spring, postponed the deal – but last week we discovered this new and unusual vegetarian dish worthy of any meatless day on your calendar.
(Beez did allow that the grilled snapper escabeche on Friday was,
“the best fish I’ve eaten this year.” Maybe we’ll tell you about it some day.)
GRILLED FATTOUSH WITH HALLOUMI AND EGGPLANT
Timing: 40 – 50 Minutes
For the Dressing:
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil (plus more to oil the grill grates)
½ cup pitted Castelveltrano olives (other green olives will work, but Castelveltrano are superb)
3 Tablespoons salted, roasted pistachios
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (1 ½ lemons)
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pieces of Pita Bread (6”)
2 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise (if you’re using 1 large eggplant cut it crosswise, as well)
Small English Cucumber (‘small’ is pretty big – these are those long, thin cucumbers you find wrapped in plastic no need to peel these)
8 ounce package of Halloumi cheese (Both Giant Eagle and Whole Foods carry this cheese)
1 pound of tomatoes, halved and cut into wedges
½ cup torn mint leaves
¼ cup dill sprigs
Prep: You can make the dressing one day ahead. Refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.
Measure out ingredients, prepare jalapeños, prepare a grill for medium heat – clean and oil the grate.
Cook and Assemble:
Grill the scallions and jalapeño – 2 minutes for scallions, 4 for jalapeño. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Then halve the jalapeño, scrape out the seeds, and coarsely chop the pepper and the scallions. Mix these in a medium bowl with olives, pistachios, lemon juice, vinegar, and 5 Tbsp. of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the thyme, sesame seeds, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Coat the pitas and eggplants lightly with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then season with salt and rub with the thyme mixture.
Grill the pita and eggplant, turning occasionally and moving to avoid scorching, until pitas are golden and eggplants are browned and tender. 4-5 minutes for pitas, about 10 minutes for eggplants (could be as few as 8 or over 10 – make sure a knife can pierce the eggplants with a little resistance – you want them tender, not mushy). Transfer the pita and eggplant to a platter.
Now grill the Halloumi until charred and soft – say 2 minutes or a little more per side.
Tear the Halloumi and Pita into chunky pieces.
Then cut the eggplants into bite-size pieces.
Put the pitas, Halloumi and eggplant into a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, and dressing. Give a good toss and season with salt.
The Levantine Culinary Contexts of Mutabbal: Two Ways to Serve This Scrumptious Eggplant Dip
Mutabbal is a staple dish in the Lebanese cuisine, usually served as part of “Mezza,” which is an elaborate assortment of appetizers that can be laid out on the table as a stand-alone feast.
However, traditionally, Mezza was typically introduced as a prelude to a meatier Lebanese barbecue meal of delicious dishes like lamb chops, cubed meat skewers and mix grill. This being the more common approach to serving Mezza – which also includes dishes like “Fattoush” (salad with fried pita bread), “Sujuk” (sausage), grilled “Halloumi” cheese, pickles, “Muhammara” (a hot pepper spread originating in Aleppo, Syria), and other scrumptious starters.
In Syria, Mutabbal is more commonly served as a side dish. A home-cook of Syrian origin recently told me that she believed Mutabbal originated in Damascus, Syria. In the olden days, Damascus was less polluted and engulfed by a ring of vegetation just 10 km away from it, called Ghouta. Before urbanisation ruined this once-green countryside of Damascus, it was a lush heaven of orchard trees and fields with vegetables and crops of every kind. Aubergines or eggplants were planted heavily in Ghouta along the Barada River and supplied Damascus with enough aubergines to make it a staple Damascene dish.
As such, Mutabbal can also be singled out of the Mezza feast and served as a side dish next to certain foods that go well with it, like baked “Kibbeh” (a tray of two layers of mashed meat and bulgur, with a middle layer of fried minced meat cooked with onions and spices). In this case, the smokiness and tanginess of Mutabbal are a suitable accompaniment to “Kibbeh,” and a flavoursome enhancer of this authentic Syrian-Lebanese dish.
Like many other dishes in the Levant, Mutabbal has made its way to other neighbouring cuisines, including the Jordanian and Palestinian ones. The food landscape in the Middle East is very much a shared terrain with strong influences coming together from the Turkish, Armenian, and Lebanese-Syrian cuisines. But each country, and even every small town and village, seems to have its own interpretation of any of these dishes. The Palestinian cuisine for instance is a hybrid between the Lebanese and, to an extent, the Egyptian cuisines and often offers its own trademark twist to known Levantine dishes.
Culturally-speaking, Syria and Lebanon share a lot of similarities between the them in food, handcrafts and even traditions and customs. In fact, one of the fabrics heavily used in Lebanon to make traditional-looking cushions, purses, and crafts – called “Sayeh” – originates in Aleppo in northern Syria. Historically, the city of Aleppo has played an important role in enhancing Levantine culture with its rich handcraft and culinary heritage, leaving a major mark over countries like Lebanon and Turkey.
What the Mediterranean Diet Is All About
The Mediterranean diet draws upon the culinary practices of southern Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Middle East, all areas where food is prepared to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and herbs make up the foundation of this diet’s “pyramid,” and every meal is centered around them. Fish is eaten at least twice a week, while poultry, eggs, and dairy are eaten less often, perhaps just a few days a week. Meats and sweets, meanwhile, are served in moderation.
Healthy fats, like olive oil, should be used in place of others, like butter and vegetable oil. And red wine can even be enjoyed in moderate amounts.
Need some examples? We’ve compiled some of the best, authentic recipes for Mediterranean-style eating. Bon appétit!
16 Vegetarian Lebanese Recipes
Bring a taste of the Middle East to your home with these amazing Lebanese recipes! Lebanese cuisine is an absolute gift to vegetarians, full of fresh vegetables, pastries, grains and cheeses prepared just so. These authentic recipes will allow you to create those amazing flavors at home.
Lebanese restaurants are one thing I have sorely missed during 2020. I find that Middle Eastern cuisine is always a million times tastier at a restaurant being cooked by chefs who really know their stuff. But now we’re all cooking at home so much more, it’s the perfect time to try to master some tasty Lebanese dishes ourselves.
This collection of recipes was curated from blogs across the web, and in an attempt to keep things as authentically Lebanese as possible, I sought out the recipes of bloggers with strong connections to Lebanon. Either they live there or in a nearby country, or have parents or other relatives whose recipes they’ve learned from.
While I am generally a huge fan of fusion cuisine, this is all about those tried and true recipes I go back to time and time again at my favorite Lebanese eateries, as well as some new discoveries in Lebanese cuisine that I’m excited to try.
Blackened Eggplant w/ Curried Chickpeas and Stuff
Hey friends, I’ve missed you. I hope life is treating you very well.
I come bearing eggplant, in its finest glory.
Roasted until blistery, velvety and practically a dip unto itself, with a confetti of showy toppings.
You don’t even need to agree with eggplant as a vegetable to enjoy this dish. It’s just a wonderful excuse to make a garlic soaked tahini sauce, and chickpeas charred with golden spices.
This dish will always remind me of the day that surrounded it, and the people who ate it.
I was having a particularly bad stretch of time inside my head, it was the day after Anthony Bourdain died. My plan for the evening was to drink a glass of pinot grigio and sulk over Netflix.
Almost knowingly, my good friend called out of the blue and asked if I wanted to come over and share some barbecue. My instinct was to decline, I was “busy” after all.
But instead, I brushed my teeth and packed up the eggplant I had anxiously cooked minutes before.
We laughed. Drizzled extra tahini. Drank pinot grigio on plastic chairs in the grass. Forgot about the stories our brains were telling us.
Hoping you get a chance to make someone happy with this charred eggplant and all the trimmings.
Grilled Fattoush with Halloumi and Eggplant - Recipes
I love how this looks like it can keep you full for days! To me, there's nothing better than a hearty meal for a vegetarian. This burger will definitely do the trick. :)
Haha, yes it certainly is one of those meals! Great for treat at the weekend.
Just perfect when you fancy a burger. Yum!
Thanks. it makes a nice change from a traditional veggie burger.
Cant wait to try this one!
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