Many international cuisines lend themselves quite naturally to meatless meals -- Middle Eastern cuisine is one of them. Most countries in the Middle East have a concept of mezze, dishes that are served family style at the table, to be shared from communal plates by dipping into them with bread. While mezzeare often followed up by a meat dish, for a Meatless Monday meal, a mezzeor two is often more than enough to satisfy! That's why we've rounded up four delicious Middle Eastern recipes for your Meatless Monday table.
You'll find iterations of many of these dishes throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, often prepared slightly differently based on what's available. You might want to do the same, mixing and matching local ingredients with these flavorful recipes to create a mezzeplatter worthy of quite a few oohs and ahhs!
Falafel is made throughout the Middle East with either chickpeas or fava beans; the original was made with fava beans, but as chickpeas tend to be more widely available and not quite as costly, this recipe is perfect for Meatless Monday. Falafel is usually served with pita and a variety of garnishes like hummus, pickled cabbage and fried eggplant. Pick and choose how you'd like to serve yours. And feel free to make extras, as the leftovers reheat quite well in the oven and are perfect for weekday lunches!
Photos by Ally-Jane Grossan
Speaking of accompaniments to falafel, hummus is a classic served throughout the region. This purée is usually made with chickpeas; in order to make a great hummus, you're meant to fastidiously peel each one! Our white bean version is far less persnickety and integrates some Italian flavors like oregano and pine nuts. Roasted garlic adds a richness and longevity of flavor that's just sublime.
This bright salad is the perfect way to add freshness to your winter meals. Classic Lebanese tabbouleh is more herb than bulgur, contrary to what you'll find in a lot of restaurants. This version is best prepared just before you eat it, but luckily, it's easy to throw together thanks to the tips provided by the author.
Images: Jennifer Meier
Fattoush is a bread salad that you'll find in many different countries, with many different forms. It's made with toasted pita bread and a variety of raw vegetables. This version has a tahini and lemon dressing that's sure to add freshness to the meal.
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top image: Morbuto