Most people know that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Mediterranean food is revered as being one of the most delicious and enjoyable cuisines. One of the most majestic culinary wonders of the Mediterranean region is the Meze. The MEDITERRANEAN MEZE PLATTER presents a myriad of small dishes, dips, breads, and accouterments that is hard to pin on just one country.
Where is the Mediterranean?
Did you know that the term “Mediterranean” describes a region that includes 22 countries on 3 continents? Many read the word Mediterranean and think of Greece, Italy, and Spain, but the term encompasses many Middle Eastern and Northern African Countries. This region is rich in history, culture, and exquisite flavors. Many spices and dishes are not exclusive to one country; each has variations that are specific to their own food sovereignty.
What is a Mediterranean Meze Platter?
This Mediterranean Meze Platter consists of a Lebanese Fattoush Inspired Salad, a roasted veggie platter, Syrian Muhammara dip, and freshly baked pita. I made this epic spread for a collaboration with Mediterranean Living's website. You may find the recipe for Muhammara here on their site, and I am sharing the Fattoush Salad and The Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables here on Betterfoodguru.
Most Mediterranean countries have their own meze version with different names, varying elements, and distinct essence. What they share is the focus on grazing while spending quality time with loved ones, savoring life and food together. This style of eating is healthy for the spirit and for the digestion.
Some use the Meze as an appetizer, and others use it as a meal in its own right. I like a spread like this on a summer night, eaten al fresco as the main event. I borrow elements from several countries, and I veganize, which is easy since most Mediterranean food is heavier on plants.
My food is not traditional, as these dishes aren’t in my own family’s culinary history. I have adapted and honored elements of authentic dishes and given them a simple, modern, and easy to execute twist that in no way implies ownership of the recipe.
I like to call this method of cooking and recipe adapting cultural appreciation. This style is perfectly “Mediterranean” in that it is varied in taste, texture, and history and is the perfect way to sample flavors from the region, which is often in discord, in harmony, together in a balanced meal.
Mediterranean Meze Platter Ingredients
Click on the links below to find the other recipes in this Mediterranean Meze platter.
Syrian Muhammara dip
Muhammara is a slightly spicy dip made from red peppers and walnuts that originates from Syria. My first exposure to this heavenly dip was in California, where I lived for a decade and a half. My hubby was Sous Chef in a small Bistro in Berkeley, CA called "ZUT! on Fourth,” where they made the tastiest Mediterranean meze plate I have ever had in America. The platter consisted of muhammara dip, an exquisite eggplant and raisin salad, and hummus served with homemade fluffy and char-grilled pita bread. My husband used to bring a platter home for us to nosh on when I was pregnant with our first child.
The distinct, creamy texture and flavor of Muhammara is such that years later, just the memory sparked a craving so strong that I set out to recreate my own version of the heavenly masterpiece. After doing research and using a friend's recipe (Chef Emily Baird of everythingyouwanttoeat) as a rough guide, I arrived at the ingredient and amount combo that I use in my recipe.
My cooking is usually done this way, with inspiration from others, researching a dish’s history, and then experimenting and improvising with the ingredients and combining to my own taste palette. I hope you try this piquant, tangy, and creamy dip. You will not be disappointed by its droolworthy flavor profile and heavenly texture, especially when paired with warm pita bread.
FATTOUSH INSPIRED SALAD
Discover the zesty and tangy flavors with this Fattoush inspired salad made with a delightful blend of crispy fried pita bread, vibrant greens, and crunchy veggies, all dressed in a simple dressing. This classic Lebanese salad doesn't need fancy dressings – a drizzle of olive oil and lemon is all it takes to make those fresh, crisp flavors burst to life. But here's the secret weapon: sumac. This tangy, citrusy spice will elevate the flavors of this salad to a whole new level. If you’ve never tasted sumac, it's time to make it a pantry staple. Your taste buds will thank you. Serve this Fattoush-inspired salad on your Mediterranean Meze Platter to treat your taste buds with Middle Eastern flavors!
The Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables
These vibrant and tender roasted vegetables are the key ingredient of your meze plater, bringing a burst of Mediterranean flavor and a touch of smokiness to your meze spread. The Italian eggplant, when scored and seasoned with a dash of smoked paprika, adds depth and a delightful smokiness. Seasoned with a pinch of salt, pepper, and a touch of smoked paprika, the veggies are baked to perfection for 20 minutes. Serve with mixed olives and artichoke hearts, and squeeze lemon juice over baked veggies for a refreshing twist. These roasted veggies are a standout component of your Mediterranean Meze Platter.
Check the recipe below to learn how to make Mediterranean Roasted Veggies.
Serve Mediterranean Meze Platter with Pita
Flatbreads are very popular in most Mediterranean countries. Each has their own name and version, but they all pair amazingly well with the regional dishes of each. There are many reasons that they are so popular. Nothing is better than tearing off a piece of soft, warm pita bread and using it to scoop the magnificently colored Muhammara or smoky Baba Ganoush into your hungry mouth. Enjoy the delightful flavors and treat your guests with a restaurant-quality Mediterranean Meze Platter packed with Mediterranean flavors.
Pita bread is surprisingly simple and easy to execute. A little extra effort carries a huge reward and is worth every moment of preparation to savor these delectable treats. Have you ever tried a freshly baked or grilled pita? You must. The difference is night and day from the store-bought cracking and crumbling dry bread. These are fluffy, pliable, and even suitable for rolling if cut large enough. The ideal vehicle for any spread, fresh pita is the perfect addition to any meze. Making your own bread for Mediterranean Meze Platter is cheaper, healthier, and easier than you have ever imagined. Visit Mediterranean Living to find this ultra-simple recipe.
Mediterranean Roasted Veggie Platter
- 7 each sweet baby bell peppers
- 1 each Italian eggplant
- 1 bunch green asparagus
- 1 bunch white asparagus
- ½ cup mixed olives from jar
- ½ cup artichoke hearts from jar
- 1 ea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ each lemon
- preheat oven to 400
- Cut eggplant in half and score with crosscut then sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika
- Trim asparagus and save woodier ends for soups
- Spread 1 tsp olive oil on large sheet pan with your hand out to the edges.
- Lay out all veg in one layer sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in oven for 20 minutes turning once halfway
- Let cool and serve on a platter with mixed olives, artichokes and lemon.