Mezze – Vegetarian Dishes

Meat-based dishes are great as part of a mezze but veggie dishes can really lighten the richness and also help a little with any spiciness!These next dishes are simple and tasty, and don’t have to be eaten as part of a mezze, the hummus and baba ganoush could be eaten just with flatbread while watching a movie or for a quick lunch.

Moroccan Cauliflower Salad

Moroccan Cauliflower Salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 large Cauliflower, separated into florets and leaves reserved
2 tbsp Olive Oil, plus extra for frying
1 tbsp Ras el Hanout
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Garlic Clove, thinly sliced
1 Red chilli, finely chopped
60g Dried Cranberries
Flat-leaf Parsley a large bunch, roughly chopped
4 tbsp Raisins
6 Dates, pitted and chopped
Mint a small bunch, roughly chopped
30g Pine Nuts, toasted
50g Walnuts, roughly chopped
50g Pomegranate Seeds

For the dressing
2 tbsp Tahini
4 tbsp Natural Yogurt
½ tsp Turmeric
Mint a small bunch, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
½ Lemon, juiced

Method

  • Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.
  • Toss together the cauliflower florets and leaves, oil, ras el hanout and some seasoning.
  • Tip onto a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until starting to crisp.
  • Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the onion and garlic with a drizzle of oil until softened and turning golden.
  • Mix together the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, except the pine nuts, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Stir in the fried onion and garlic.
  • Mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Add the cauliflower to the salad and toss well. Serve on a platter drizzled with the tahini dressing, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, walnuts and a final scattering of mint.
Baba Ganoush

Ottolenghi’s Baba Ganoush

Ingredients

4 large Aubergines (1.5kg before cooking; 550g after burning and draining the flesh)
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
Grated zest of 1 Lemon and 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
75ml Olive Oil
2 tbsp chopped Parsley
2 tbsp chopped Mint
Seeds of ½ a large Pomegranate (80g net weight)
Salt and black pepper

Method

  • There are two ways to cook the aubergine, and it depends on how messy you are prepared to let your hob get!
    • Place the aubergines directly on two separate moderate flames on the stove and roast for 15-18 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn them around occasionally, until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft.
    • Alternatively, score the aubergine with a knife in a few places and place under a hot grill for about an hour. Turn them around every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst and break.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then peel the warm aubergines and use your hands to pull the soft flesh into long thin strips.
  • Drain in a colander for an hour at least, preferably longer to get rid of as much water as possible.
  • Place the aubergine in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
  • Stir and allow the aubergine to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.
  • When you are ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and taste for seasoning. Pile high on a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds and garnish with the remaining herbs.
Simple Hummous (under the Beef Kebabs!)

Simple Hummous

Ingredients

1 400 g tin of Chickpeas
1 small Garlic Clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp Tahini
1 lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  • Drain the chickpeas (you can reserve the liquid from the tin – the aquafava, to make vegan meringues if you fancy!) and empty the chickpeas into a food processor.
  • Add the garlic, tahini, a good squeeze of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of oil, season with salt and pepper.
  • Whizz up the mixture, stopping now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatual, blitz until smooth.
  • If the mixture is still too thick, add a little more lemon juice or if lemony enough a splash of water to loosen.
  • Taste the hummous and add any further lemon juice or seasoning if required.
  • Transfer to a bowl for serving with some warm flatbreads or crunchy veg sticks.