Middle Eastern Mezze

The mezze-style spread—small plates, dips, and salads are meant to be shared as an appetizer course or light meal—are common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Kabab Koobideh (Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebab)

Food author Ramin Ganeshram first tasted these kebabs in 1978 when she visited Iran with her mother; this is our adaptation. When the kebabs are served with steamed basmati rice, called chelo, they’re known as chelo kebab. Click here for the recipe. 

Jujeh Kabab (Spiced Chicken and Tomato Kebabs)

A marinade of orange, cumin, and saffron flavors these juicy chicken kebabs. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Anissa Helou‘s story ‘The Land of Bread and Spice‘. Click here for the recipe. 

Torshi-e Piaz (Red Onion and Herb Pickles)

These tarragon-flavored pickles pair well with Iranian meatballs and other meat dishes. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Anissa Helou’s story ‘The Land of Bread and Spice’. Click here for the recipe. 

Mast-o Khiar (Yogurt and Cucumber Dip)

Topped with rose petals and golden raisins, this simple dip is an elegant condiment. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Anissa Helou’s story The Land of Bread and Spice. Click here for the recipe. 

Kufteh (Herb Meatballs in Tomato-Plum Sauce)

These tender meatballs are simmered in a sweet-tart tomato and dried plum sauce. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Anissa Helou’s story The Land of Bread and Spice. Click here for the recipe. 

Pita Bread

Chef Jim Bostacos of Molyvos restaurant in Manhattan showed us his simple, straightforward technique for fluffy, fresh pita, perfect for eating with your favorite dip or hummus. For step-by-step photos and instructions, click here.

Kibbeh (Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes)

These spiced croquettes are a classic Middle Eastern snack. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Katie Robbins’s story ‘Season of Rejoicing’. Click here for the recipe. 

Baba Ghannouj (Mashed Eggplant Spread)

The classic Middle Eastern eggplant spread, redolent with garlic and smoky charred eggplant, is made even creamier with the addition of mayonnaise. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Katie Robbins’s story ‘Season of Rejoicing’. Click here for the recipe. 

Kookoo (Persian Potato Pancakes)

Kookoo are wonderful as a side dish but can stand on their own as a tasty snack, dipped in a cucumber yogurt sauce. Click here for the recipe. 

Cipollini Onion Hummus

Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to hummus, deepening its earthy flavors. Click here for the recipe. 

Kafta (Lebanese Beef Kebabs)

This kafta recipe is adapted from Annia Ciezadlo’s Day of Honey (Simon & Schuster, 2011). This recipe first appeared in our May 2011 issue, with the article The World of Satay. Click here for the recipe. 

Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)

Author Carolyn Forché gave us the recipe for this Lebanese lentil salad. Serve it with roasted lamb or grilled sausages. Click here for the recipe. 

Lahmacun (Flat Bread with Lamb and Tomatoes)

Bake these Turkish spiced lamb and tomato flat breads on a heated pizza stone in the oven so that the crust and topping cook evenly. Click here for the recipe.

Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce

Redolent of oregano and cinnamon, these pork kebabs owe their tenderness to a red wine marinade that helps break down even the toughest cuts of meat, like pork shoulder, which is most commonly slow-cooked in the oven or on the stove top.

The recipe for these versatile kebabs, which can be either broiled or grilled, appeared in “Bold Flavors, Ancient Roots,” a feature about Cyprus written by William Woys Weaver for our May 2008 issue.

Shirazi Salad

Iranian-born home cook Noura Samimi (see Learning Persian) serves this refreshing Persian side salad with kuku kadoo (see Kuku Kadoo) and rice at her home in Manhattan Beach, California. Click here for the recipe. 

Tomato Salad with Herbs and Pomegranate

This dish is a perfect garnish for falafel and is also delicious on its own. Click here for the recipe. 

Turnips with Yogurt and Tomatoes

This recipe is adapted from World Vegetarian by SAVEUR consulting editor Madhur Jaffrey (Clarkson Potter, 1999). Jaffrey finds that marinating turnips in salted yogurt draws out their excess moisture. Click here for the recipe. 

Bulgur Wheat and Ground Beef Pie

Kibbeh, a masterpiece of Middle Eastern cooking with many variations, can be baked, poached, steamed, or fried. This is a distinctly Syrian Jewish version. Click here for the recipe. 

Muhammara (Hot and Sweet Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts and Pomegranates)

Muhammara is a popular Middle Eastern dip made from peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. Delicious served with pita or crudités, this recipe comes from Paula Wolfert’s cookbook ‘The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean’ (HarperCollins).

For best results, make this recipe at least one day in advance. 

Courtesy: Saveur

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6 thoughts on “Middle Eastern Mezze

  1. This looks delicious. I visited Turkey once as an Exchange Student and I have to say I really enjoyed the food there. Although the culture is different, I kind of liked seeing something new. You are right a lot of the dishes in this list are considered appetizers.

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