JJ’s Easy Lebanese Mezza

Sometimes I get that craving for some good old down home cooking. For me, that’s Lebanese food. I grew up eating it and it’s definitely my comfort food! However, my family recipes handed down over the generations are not simple recipes to throw  together. They are very delicious and worth every hour spent in the kitchen preparing them, but after a long week of catering I’m not usually up for it. These recipes I’ve come up with are quite simple to throw together and you can make enough for leftovers throughout the week with out spending hours in the kitchen. They are also very healthy! After combing my pantry for the traditional Lebanese ingredients I usually have on hand and thinking how could I simplify the recipes I grew up with but still have a delicious Lebanese Mezza? I came up with this easy way to enjoy my childhood favorite foods without a huge production! Here is my version of a simple and very delicious Lebanese Mezze…

Lebanese Sandwich


JJ’s Lamb Meatballs:

  • 1 lb of ground lamb
  • 3 tbs of ground sumac (arabic spice)
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. in a work bowl add; lamb, sumac, fennel seed and salt & pepper. mix everything together (with your hands) until well incorporated. roll into small oval shaped balls.
  2. heat saute pan over medium high heat and drizzle pan with olive oil. once pan is hot lay meatballs in. let sear until there is a nice caramelized coating on the outside and flip meat balls over. repeat. pop a lid and lower heat to low and let simmer about 15 minutes.

While the Lamb simmers prepare the rest of the Mezze…

JJ’s Tabouli:

  • 1/4 cup extra fine bulgur
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 3 green onion stems (or scallions)
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 2 lemons
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • boiling water
  1. in a small stainless steel or glass bowl add bulgur, cover with 1/2 cup of boiling water and cover with plastic wrap. set aside while chopping veggies…
  2. shave parsley leaves from stems with sharp knife. then finely chop parsley and add to a bowl. finely dice tomatoes and add to bowl. thinly slice green onion and to bowl. season with salt and pepper. squeeze in juice from lemon.
  3. scoop bulgur in hand and squeeze out excess water than add to tabouli bowl. season with a little more salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and mix together. taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

JJ’s Bulgur with Toasted Vermicelli:

  • 1/2 cup extra coarse bulgur
  • 1/2 cup of dried cherries (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tbs butter
  • salt & pepper
  • boiling water
  1. heat a saute pan over medium high heat. melt butter in pan and add vermicelli. season with salt & pepper and toast until noodles are golden brown.
  2. remove from pan and add to stainless steel or glass bowl. add in bulgur and cherries. season with salt & pepper, pour in boiling water (about 1 1/2 cups. just enough to cover grains) and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Bulgur with Toasted Vermicelli is done once water has absorbed and bulgur and vermicelli is tender. about 5 minutes.

JJ’s Hummus:

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs sesame paste
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  1. in the work bowl of a food processor pour in; beans, juice from 2 lemons and sesame paste. season with a little salt and pop the lid on. set processor to puree and drizzle olive oil (through the feed tube) until hummus is smooth and creamy texture. (add a little water or lemon juice to thin if needed)
  2. taste hummus, add more lemon and or salt if needed.

Serve everything with Lebanese pita or lavash bread, sliced avocado and Lebni!


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