Mezze recipes: This is how you bring the Levante cuisine home ",

You want to feast like in the Orient? Then you should definitely try our simple mezze recipes - preferably in a convivial group!

Snacking is one of the big food trends of the year. No wonder that mezze recipes are now really booming. The small oriental starters are, so to speak, Arabic antipasti, which, like tapas, are traditionally served in many small bowls.

The selection ranges from spicy pastes and salads to meat skewers and fried dumplings. At best, the mezze buffet consists of hot and cold dishes.

The advantage over a fixed main course: The sociability, because mezze is usually shared with friends. Everyone can try everything. Since the savory little things are also wonderfully light, everyone will be full, but not feel as burdened as after a conventional menu.

What is the Levante cuisine?

Mezze recipes are trendy simply because they are part of the trendy Levante cuisine. Spicy oriental dishes have been on the rise in this country since 2018. But what is it actually, the Levante cuisine?
Unlike the Italian cuisine units the Levante kitchen not only mezze and dishes of a single country like Italy. It is shaped by food influences from the entire Middle East.
Levante recipes have their origin in:

  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Jordan

To remember: "Levante" comes from the Latin "Levare ", which is so much as "raising ", "raising " - an allusion to the so-called Morgenland, as we liked the Orient used to mention.
Shakshuka is EInes of the most famous Levant recipes. Instructions in the video - pimped with Köfte:

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Video by Fiona Rohde

How does the Levantic kitchen taste?

As expected, the Levante kitchen is a true taste explosion. Already in the little mezze weigh a lot of delicious spices and fresh herbs. Food from the Levantic kitchen are equally varied as healthy. Thanks to lots of colorful vegetables, most mezze recipes are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Mezze recipes - these condiments are popular:

  • Chilli (powder)
  • Cumin (cumin)
  • garlic
  • parsley
  • mint
  • coriander
  • Sumac
  • Za 'aatar
  • Bahart

These ingredients should not be missing in the Levante cuisine:

  • Sesame (tahini)
  • Harissa
  • yogurt
  • Chickpeas (hummus and falafel)
  • Pine nuts
  • Olives
  • Eggplant, cucumber and zucchini
  • Tomatoes and peppers
  • pomegranate

Flatbread is often served as a side dish with mezze, from which anyone can tear off a piece. Main dishes can be lentils, bulgur, rice or couscous.
You can find a culinary journey through Dubai here.

Make mezze yourself: authentic recipes

Your mouth is already watering? Then we don't want to waste any time and get started straight away with our mezze recipes to try out. All of the following ideas come from the thoroughly recommended cookbook "Malakeh: Recipes for longing from my Syrian homeland " by ZS-Verlag.
> You can order the whole cookbook here on Amazon.

In it, author Malakeh Jazmati brings us closer to the love of authentic Levante cuisine - from small mezze and starters to main dishes to the sweetest desserts. We have chosen four simple mezze recipes that you can make in just 20 minutes.

1. Mezze Recipe: Motabbal (Eggplant Puree)

What would a mezze buffet be without at least one hearty spread. Instead of hummus or other classic ones Dips we have chosen Motabbal here. The aubergine cream tastes just as great with flatbread as it does with raw vegetables.

You need these ingredients:
For 6–8 people

  • 2 kg eggplants
  • 4–5 cloves of garlic
  • 250 g Greek yogurt
  • 75 g tahini (sesame paste, here on Amazon)
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • 50 ml of olive oil
  • 50 g walnut kernels
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika powder

This is how the preparation works:
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and bake the aubergines in it on a baking sheet on the middle rack for about 30 minutes. As soon as you can pierce them smoothly with a toothpick, they are done. Take out of the oven, let cool down briefly, peel off the skin and remove the stem end. Drain the pulp in a colander.
2. Peel the garlic and cut into fine cubes. Puree the drained aubergines with a hand blender and mix with yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Season the puree with salt and arrange in a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil.
3. Chop the walnuts. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Tips to open pomegranate can be found here. Drain the kernels in a sieve and allow to drain.
4th. Sprinkle the aubergine puree with the paprika powder and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Serve with flatbread.

2. Mezze Recipe: Foul Mdamas (Bean Salad)

Foul Mdamas or Ful Medames should not be missing from any mezze buffet. The simple bean salad is considered the Egyptian national dish and is also eaten for breakfast.

You need these ingredients:
For 4 people

  • 200 g tomatoes
  • 50 g green onions
  • 20 g mint
  • 100 g parsley
  • 5–6 cloves of garlic
  • 600 g broad beans (canned)
  • salt
  • approx. 1 tbsp ground cumin (cumin)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika powder
  • 50-75 ml lemon juice
  • 75 ml of olive oil

This is how the preparation works:
1. Wash the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces, removing the stalks. Clean and wash the spring onions and cut the white part into small pieces, use the green part for other purposes.
2. Wash the mint and parsley and shake dry, pluck the leaves and chop finely. Peel the garlic and cut into fine cubes. Drain the broad beans in a colander, rinse in cold water and drain well.
3. Mix the tomatoes, spring onions, mint, parsley and garlic with the salt, cumin, paprika powder, lemon juice and olive oil. Fold in the broad beans.
Tip from author Malakeh: "If you want, you can add 200 g natural yoghurt and 75 ml sesame oil. This ensures a particularly creamy consistency."

3. Mezze Recipe: Fattosh (Sumac Salad)

Salad is boring? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! The first time I ate Fattosh in Dubai, I was blown away. The seasoning from garlic and herbs as well as the vinegar note from sumac make this mezze recipe a real blast - also as a Grill side dish or vegetarian main course.

You need these ingredients:
For 4 people

  • 200 g romaine lettuce
  • 75 g cucumber
  • 100 g tomatoes
  • 20 g onion
  • 25 g parsley
  • 20 g mint
  • 10 g thyme
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp ground sumac (here on Amazon)
  • 75 ml pomegranate syrup (here on Amazon)
  • 75 ml of olive oil
  • 75 g pita bread
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Pomegranate seeds (to taste)

This is how the preparation works:
1. Clean, wash, spin dry the lettuce and pluck it into bite-sized pieces. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthways and remove the seeds with a teaspoon if you like. Cut the cucumber halves into medium-sized pieces. Wash the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces, removing the stalks.
2. Peel the onion and cut into fine cubes. Mix the lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and onion in a bowl. Wash the parsley, mint and thyme and shake dry,
pluck the leaves and chop finely. Peel the garlic and press it through the press.
3. Mix the herbs, garlic, lemon juice, salt, paprika powder, sumac, 50 ml pomegranate syrup and olive oil into a sauce and fold into the salad.
4th. Cut the bread into small squares or long strips, fry in a little oil in a pan until golden brown and then spread over the salad. Drizzle over the remaining pomegranate syrup and sprinkle the salad with pomegranate seeds as desired.

4th. Mezze recipe: Kibbeh Nayeh (bulgur with lamb)

As an oriental counterpart to Mett, Kibbeh Nayeh hardly makes any effort. For this mezze recipe, the author Malakeh recommends choosing very fresh lamb, preferably from the shoulder, as it contains hardly any tendons.

You need these ingredients:
For 4 people

  • 200 g soft bulgur
  • 25 g onion
  • 1 red chilli pepper
  • 15 g dried rose petals (here on Amazon)
  • 400 g fresh minced lamb
  • 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin (cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground allspice (here on Amazon)
  • salt
  • 75 ml of olive oil
  • 50 g chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp paprika pulp

This is how the preparation works:
1. Pour around 300 ml of warm water over the bulgur and let it swell until the water is completely absorbed. Peel the onion and cut into fine cubes. Wash the chilli, cut in half lengthways and finely chop, remove the stones if you like. Dissolve the rose petals in water and crush them into a soft paste between your fingers.
2. Mix the minced meat with the onion, chilli, marjoram, cumin, allspice and the rose petals. Finally add the bulgur and knead everything with your hands. Season the mixture with salt.
3. Arrange the lamb kibbeh in a bowl and pour olive oil over it. Scatter the walnuts on top and place the paprika pulp as a strong red dot in the middle.
Tip from author Malakeh: "This dish does not have a long shelf life. Since raw meat is used, it must be freshly prepared and eaten the same day. I don't season it much because I only use the best meat. You not only notice this during preparation, you can also taste it."