Grand Aioli

    Grand Aioli

    Grand Aioli is my idea of a perfect party dinner. Four different kinds of Aioli, one of them vegan, are served with a stunning spread of different vegetables and protein for dipping. Easy to prepare ahead of time and guaranteed to please everyone, this is one of my favourite dishes to serve, when I want both an impressive and healthy spread. Vegan version included.

    Why You Want to Make This

    Grand Aioli

    Easy

    I know it looks like it’s a lot of effort, but it really isn’t. The 4 types of Aioli take a maximum of 5 minutes each. There is a bit of vegetable chopping, but since you want them large enough to dip comfortably, that’s quickly done. Some roasting, boiling and quick steaming of some of the ingredients and you are ready to assemble. You could buy ready cooked prawns or scampi, if you wanted to skip the extra step of frying them briefly.

    Can be Prepared in Advance

    Most of the ingredients for Grand Aioli can be prepared well in advance. The different aioli keep well in the fridge for several days. Pre-chop the veggies, so you only have to stem or boil them quickly on the day. The eggs can be cooked the day before too. I tend to keep each ingredient in its own container in the fridge, so they keep the perfect flavour.

    Satisfies Everyone

    Always wondering what to serve the vegans and non-vegans, without preparing two different meals? This is it. There is plenty of variety for both here. The Green Cashew Aioli is so delicious, even the non-vegans will want their share. If you’ want to make all the sauces vegan, use a larger quantity of the cashew base without herbs, then divide and mix different flavourings into it.

    Healthy

    During my weight loss journey, which lasted nearly a year, I was looking for feasts that would not throw me back in my progress. This is one of them. With all the fibre from vegetables, protein from prawns and eggs and healthy carbs from the boiled potatoes, you have a pretty balanced meal that is surprisingly low in calories. Depending on how much aioli you spread on said veg of course. But if you use the cashew aioli as base, even that gives you fibre, protein, and healthy fats.

    The Four Types of Aioli

    I made four different kinds of Aioli for this Grand Aioli, though theoretically you could also use my Black Garlic Aioli. It would be delicious for sure.
    Traditional would be just the classic version, but I do love variety in my dips and can never decide on just one.

    Classic Aioli – This is the very classic base version, made with egg, oil a bit of lemon juice, mustard and, of course, garlic

    Chili Aioli – By simply adding a little bit of Sriracha, chili powder and maple syrup to the basic version, we have made a Chili Aioli, for the lovers of spicy food.

    Green Aioli with Greek Yoghurt – For a slightly lighter and fresher version, the basic Aioli gets mixed with 0% fat Greek yoghurt and loads of fresh herbs. Tons of flavour, less fat.

    Green Cashew Aioli – The vegan version. But don’t be fooled, this is no less delicious than the original. I would even say it’s my favourite out of all of them. Still super creamy, lots of flavour from garlic and herbs, I’m completely hooked!

     

    The Ingredients

    Grand Aioli - Ingredients

    This depends a lot on you: What vegetables do you like for dipping? You can get very creative here. Just don’t leave out the potatoes, as they might be the best of all with any of the Aioli.
    Use fresh and good quality new or baby potatoes, for their size and creamy, nutty flavour.

    Broccoli and asparagus are lovely for their green crunchiness, so are green beans.

    I used some squash, since I found some small and pretty ones. Hokkaido was my favourite of them, as it has a particular sweet and nutty flavour when roasted, that I adore.

    Fresh carrots, mini sweetcorn, mini peppers, cherry tomatoes, and radishes can never go amiss. If you can find it, radicchio would be lovely for the bitterness and colour it brings to the table. Unfortunately it is very hard to find in Ireland.

    For protein, boiled eggs and prawns or scampi are typically served. But if you have more meat eaters in the crowd, some sliced roast beef might be nice too. Or grilled chicken breast pieces.

    Lemons, both for garnish and squeezing over last minute. And some Maldon salt for sprinkling.

    On the Aioli front, being at the heart of a Grand Aioli, it will depend which ones you decide to make.

    The classic version is made mainly with eggs, oil, mustard, lemon juice and garlic.

    Grand Aioli - Ingredients

    For the Chili version use Sriracha or any chili sauce you enjoy, chili powder, lime juice and cilantro.

    Grand Aioli - Ingredients

    Fresh herbs and 0% fat Greek yoghurt for the lighter green version.

    Grand Aioli - Ingredients

    The Cashew Aioli is, as the name says, based on cashews which get soaked in water and then blended with water, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, dates (I know this sounds weird, but trust me, it’s delicious) and lots of fresh herbs.

    Grand Aioli - Ingredients

     

    The Process

     

    Aioli

    Prepare the Aioli first since you can leave them in the fridge for the flavours to meld while you prepare the veggies and proteins.
    My personal trick to perfect mayonnaise, leading to perfect Aioli is, to use a stick blender.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Using a slim jar or container that just fits the stick blenders head with very little room to spare on the sides, you add your egg, mustard, and lemon juice at the bottom, then top it with all of the oil. Gently lower your blender head, equipped with the whisking disc, all the way down, so it covers the egg. Switch it on at full speed and do not move it for a few seconds. You will see mayonnaise forming right away at the bottom. Keep it still until the white mass doesn’t expand upwards further, then gently tip your blender into a diagonal, and very slowly move it upwards.

    Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    This method will do the same as you would do by hand: Incorporate the oil in a thin stream, by creating a vortex that pulls it slowly into the egg, emulsifying it in the process. The trick lies in the waiting time before moving the blender, to give it enough time to pull in the oil until it reaches no more. Once you’ve pulled it all the way up, most of the oil will be incorporated and you will have a firm and very stable mayonnaise.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Mash your garlic, chop your herbs roughly and add all of them with some salt and pepper to your mayonnaise. Blend again with the pureeing attachment, to create a smooth and delicious Aioli.

    Due to the specific jar requirement, you’ll have to make one portion at a time. If you’d rather make the whole batch at once, you could use a food processor or blender and slowly drizzle the oil in, to emulsify the mayonnaise.

    Variations of Aioli

    I made 3 batches of this basic Aioli, then mixed the chili sauce and maple syrup into one, finely chopped herbs and Greek yoghurt into the next and left one as it was.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Cashew Aioli

    The Green Cashew Aioli is even easier: Soak the cashews in just boiled water for about 30min. Drain, then add to a high speed blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until super smooth and creamy. I’m using my Nutribullet for this. You could use the zest of the lemon as I did here, but I found it tastes lovely with just the juice, so I left the step out in the recipe.

    Grand Aioli_Process
    This is one of the recipes that, yes, in theory you could make in a normal blender or food processor, but it will never be as satisfyingly smooth as in the high speed version. So if you, like me back in time, wonder why on earth anyone would eat a grainy cashew sauce, the lack of high speed is the reason.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Things to Dip

     

    Prepare the Veggies for the Grand Aioli

     

    Depending on what veggies you are using for dipping, cut them into easy dippable pieces.
    Leave the potatoes whole, especially if you got baby potatoes.

    The squash was halved, deseeded with a spoon, and sliced into wedges, drizzled with a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted on a baking tray until the edges started to brown and caramelize. About 25min at 400°F/200°C.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Boil the potatoes for about 20-25 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a sharp knife.
    The eggs are boiled for about 7-8 minutes, for that waxy perfection.

    Grand Aioli_Process

    Clean tender stem broccoli, asparagus, and beans, leaving them whole, but cutting off any dry ends. Steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes, until slightly tender but crunchy. The Asparagus gets 5-10 minutes in the steam, depending on the thickness of your spears. You’ll want them tender but with bite. The beans can be cooked or steamed for about 5-10 minutes, until tender-crisp.
    If using mini sweetcorn, it is also great steamed for 5-6 minutes.

    Prepare the Protein

    If using ready cooked prawns, you don’t need to do anything to them. I used raw and briefly pan fried them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, until they were opaque and no rawness showing in the middle anymore. This just takes a few minutes.

    Grand Aioli_Meal Prep

    Serve

    Now it’s time to serve. Peel your eggs. Divide the Aioli into smaller serving bowls, so everyone at the table can reach them easily.

    Arrange potatoes, eggs, prawn and vegetables on a big board or plate, sprinkle over a bit of Maldon salt and squeeze over some lemon. Top with lemon wedges and dig into your Grand Aioli!

    Grand Aioli

    Meal Prep

     

    Most parts of this meal can be prepared ahead of time as described above. If you do so, keep each part in a separate container in your fridge.

    The Aioli will last for about 2-3 days covered in the fridge. The Cashew Aioli up to 5 days, as it doesn’t contain raw egg.

    There will most likely be leftovers in form of aioli, which are amazing on sandwich, vegetables of course and any meat you might have. Cold or hot, it’s a pretty universal dip.

     

    Looking for different festive dinner ideas?

     

    Try these:
    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Chinese Duck Pancake Salad with Plum Dressing

    Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

    Please Comment

     

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Grand Aioli

    Grand Aioli

    Grand Aioli is my idea of a perfect party dinner. Four different kinds of Aioli, one of them vegan, are served with a stunning spread of different vegetables and protein for dipping. Easy to prepare ahead of time and guaranteed to please everyone, this is one of my favourite dishes to serve, when I want both an impressive and healthy spread.
    5 from 17 votes
    Prep Time 1 hour
    Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Course Dinner, dip, Feast, Main Course, spread
    Cuisine French, Mediterranean
    Servings 8
    Calories 500 kcal

    Equipment

    • Stick blender, high speed blender

    Ingredients
      

    Aioli

    • 3 eggs very fresh
    • 2 ¼ cups neutral oil such as grapeseed
    • 4 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • 9 fresh garlic cloves minced
    • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste

    Add Ins:

    Chili Aioli:

    • 1 tbsp Sriracha or another chili sauce you enjoy. More or less to taste.
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1/8 tsp ancho chili powder or more to taste
    • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

    Green Herb Aioli

    • ½ cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt
    • 4 tbsp mixed soft herbs like dill parsley and basil, chopped

    Cashew Aioli

    • 1 cup cashews soaked in just boiled water for 30min
    • 2 dates destoned
    • 4-6 tbsp fresh soft herbs like parsley basil and dill, roughly torn
    • 3 cloves fresh garlic
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp liquid aminos or Tamari or soy sauce. Liquid Aminos are slightly sweeter so you might have to adjust the seasoning if you are using one of the other options
    • ½-1 cup water start with ½, add more after blending if the aioli is too thick. If you keep it in the fridge, it will thicken more
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Vegetables for dipping

    • 1 lb baby or new potatoes
    • 1-2 Hokkaido or similar squashes depending on size
    • 1-2 packs tender stem broccoli I used 2 small packs
    • 1 pack green beans about 300g
    • 1-2 bunches of Asparagus depending on size
    • 2 packs mini sweetcorn
    • 1 romaine lettuce heart
    • 1 pack radishes
    • 1 pack cherry tomatoes
    • ½ lb carrots
    • 1 pack mini peppers halved and deseeded

    Protein

    • 2 packs large prawns or scampi ready cooked or raw (fry them if you got raw ones)
    • 8 eggs for boiling use more if you have more than 8 people

    Instructions
     

    Aioli:

    • Start by preparing the Aioli as it benefits from some time in the fridge for the flavours to meld.
    • Use a stick blender for a foolproof method. In a slim jar, add eggs, mustard, and lemon juice (lime juice for one batch for the chili version) at the bottom, then pour in all the oil.
    • Lower the blender head equipped with the whisking disc, covering the egg. Switch on at full speed, keeping it still for a few seconds until mayonnaise forms.
    • Tilt the blender diagonally and slowly move it upwards, allowing the vortex to pull in the oil. This method creates a stable mayonnaise.
    • Mash the garlic and add it with salt to the mayonnaise. Blend again to create a smooth Aioli. Taste and add more salt ort lemon juice to taste.
    • Do this in 3 batches, since a jar slim enough to fit your blender will likely only hold one batch of Aioli. Use lime juice instead of lemon in one portion for the chili sauce.
    • Customize one with chili sauce and maple syrup, another with finely chopped herbs and Greek yogurt, and leave one as it is.

    Cashew Aioli:

    • Soak cashews in just-boiled water for 30 minutes. Drain and add to a high-speed blender with other ingredients.
    • Blend until super smooth and creamy. High-speed blending ensures a satisfyingly smooth texture.

    Things to Dip:

    • Cut veggies into easy dippable pieces. Leave potatoes whole, especially if using baby potatoes.
    • Halve and deseed squash, slice into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400°F/200°C for about 25 minutes.
    • Boil potatoes for 20-25 minutes until easily pierced with a sharp knife.
    • Boil eggs for 7-8 minutes for waxy perfection.
    • Clean tender stem broccoli, asparagus, and beans, leaving them whole. Steam broccoli for 3-4 minutes, asparagus for 5-10 minutes, and beans for 5-10 minutes until tender-crisp.
    • Steam mini sweetcorn for 5-6 minutes if using.
    • If using ready-cooked prawns, no preparation is needed. If raw, pan-fry briefly with olive oil, salt, and pepper until opaque and cooked through.

    Serving:

    • Peel eggs, slice in half lengthways, and divide Aioli into smaller serving bowls.
    • Arrange potatoes, eggs, prawns, and vegetables on a large board or plate.
    • Sprinkle with Maldon salt, squeeze over some lemon, and top with lemon wedges.
    • Serve and enjoy the Grand Aioli feast!

    Notes

    Most parts of this meal can be prepared ahead of time as described above. If you do so, keep each part in a separate container in your fridge.
    The Aioli will last for about 2-3 days covered in the fridge. The Cashew Aioli up to 5 days, as it doesn’t contain raw egg.
    There will most likely be leftovers in form of aioli, which are amazing on sandwich, vegetables of course and any meat you might have. Cold or hot, it’s a pretty universal dip.
    No nutrition calculation this time, as it depends on the vegetables used, the amount of aioli on each veg when dipping and which aioli you would use. So this has too many variables to calculate. So I used just a general 500cal per portion as a wild estimate. Depending on how much of it you eat and the amount of aioli you spread on your veggies, this may be below or above.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 500kcal
    Nutrition Facts
    Grand Aioli
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    500
    % Daily Value*
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Keyword Easy, For Guests, Healthy, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian, versatile
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    If you have been following along with my last eight recipes, you already have a good idea of how this Vegetarian Mezze Feast will look like. We are combining all of those delicious dips and snacks into one stunning spread that is worthy of any holiday or festivity. The fact that it’s vegetarian is an added bonus, and I’m pretty sure no carnivore will even waste a thought on the meat, once they see all the stunning variety on offer.

    Why You Want to Make This

    Absolutely Delicious

    I mean, of course that’s the main priority of any feast, isn’t it? Each part on its own is a treat, but combined they form a huge spread no one will be able to resist. Stunning to look at too.

     

    Variety

    There is something for everyone here: Creamy Hummus in two versions plain and Beetroot, easy cooling and crunchy Tzatziki, Bright red and fruity Muhammara made from roasted peppers and walnuts, a Smoky Aubergine dip with Greek yoghurt, extra creamy and easy to make Labneh that can be transformed into a roasted garlic version with lemon. And those are just the dips!

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

     

    We have Sourdough Flatbread filled with Feta, as a delicious vehicle for all those dips or Sourdough Discard Naan, as a super soft and fluffy alternative and to use as wrap for the Falafel. Or maybe you want to make them both? I sure couldn’t decide.

    Sourdough Flatbread with Feta

    And of course home made Falafel in two versions: Plain and Beetroot. Easier than you think, coming together mostly from Pantry staples, they are a crunch and fluffy treat you just have to try.

    Vegan Falafel Wraps

    To complete all the deliciousness, there is a super quick Cucumber-Tomato salad with fresh parsley that comes together in 5 minutes, an Orange Thyme Tahini dressing (Optional, as you could use hummus), to drizzle over your Falafel and some extra quick marinated Feta, because what would a Middle Eastern Feast be without feta, right?

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Cucumber_Tomato Salad

    And what do you serve with all those dips? I used lots of vegetables for dipping, some dried fruits and nuts, some fresh fruits and ready made things like olives and filled sweet peppers. But your imagination is the limit here. That’s the beauty of this feast: You can make it into whatever you enjoy most.

    Healthy

    Now if the variety above hasn’t convinced you just yet, let me give you some of the health benefits to win you over. And remember, this is for a proper Mezze Feast. Can you think of any other feast with this many health benefits? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

    Hummus, being made from mainly chickpeas, is a great source of protein, which we all need in our diet for building muscle and bone health.

    Hummus Two Ways_Beetroot_Ingredients

    Tzatziki is based on Greek Yoghurt with cucumber and garlic. Again protein from the yogurt, together with gut healthy bacteria and calcium. So is Labneh, which is basically strained Greek yoghurt, resulting in a delicious spreadable consistency similar to cream cheese, but with the tang of yoghurt.

    Easy Tzatziki_Ingredients

    Both the Smoked Aubergine Dip and Muhammara are vegetable based, including fibre, vitamins, and whole range of other benefits. So ideally you eat at least 5 different veggies per day. I usually aim for at least 8, which has helped my weight loss a lot.

    Smoked Aubergine Dip _Ingredients

    Muhammara Ingredients

    Falafel, again being made from chickpeas, is a fantastic source of protein and fibre and several micro nutrients like magnesium and folate.
    I’m deep frying it here, because, after all, this is a feast, and we don’t eat it every day. But you could bake it in the oven or air fryer, if you’d like to eat it on a more regular basis and am watching your weight.

    Now surely the flatbreads can’t be healthy, can they? They can, within reason, if made with sourdough as I am doing here.
    Sourdough has many benefits, among them a lower glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar, good gut bacteria and easier digestibility, important for those with gluten sensitivity.

    Sourdough Naan

    And of course all the vegetables you serve to scoop up those delicious dips and the Cucumber- Tomato-Salad! This Mezze Feast is sure to have you hit your 5-a-day easily and enjoy it!

    Easy to Prepare Ahead of Time

    I was about to say this is the best part, but honestly, I can’t really decide which one is, so I’ll leave it to you to pick a favourite.
    Anyway, important for the potentially stressful holidays: You can prepare most of the parts well ahead of time.

    All the dips can be made one to two days in advance and keep happily in the fridge until ready to serve.

    The Sourdough Naan and Sourdough Flatbread with Feta even get better, if you prepare the dough the day before. Or up to 2 days if you like. You could even get well ahead and freeze the dough balls, to just defrost, roll out and fry on the day. Just don’t add the feta before freezing.

    Sourdough Naan

    Same for the Falafel: Soak the chickpeas 2 days before, make the dough 1 day before, fry freshly just for a few minutes short before serving.

    And all the chopped veggies? I tend to prepare them and store in separate lidded containers in the fridge, which keeps them fresh for a few days.

    Flexible

    And if all the above wasn’t enough and you feel that’s just way too much work, you could just buy some of the parts ready made and make others yourself. Or only pick a few bits instead of all.

    Hummus tends to be available in most supermarkets these days, though not the quality you can make at home of course. Honestly, once you tried that incredibly creamy homemade version, you will wonder what you even did all your life, eating those ready made tubs, it’s just so much better.

    Hummus Two Ways

    Same with Tzatziki. You can often get it from shops, but those tend to contain preservatives, which give a rather weird sour flavour. Plus it just takes 4 ingredients and 5 minutes to make, so it’s hardly worth buying and so much better.

    Similar goes for the Flatbread and Falafel, though of course those do take a bit more time. So if you have a really good middle eastern shop close by, it could be easier and reasonably tasty to buy them.
    In Hanover I had a huge all-year market hall close by, where I could get all kinds of delicious freshly made and exotic treats, including some fluffy Turkish flatbread, which would be great with this spread. If you have access to that, it’s a perfect alternative.

     

    The Ingredients

     

    Considering the huge variety of dips and sides here, I’ll spare you a ramble about all of the ingredients, especially since I have listed the main ones above already including their benefits. You’ll find details about themn in each recipe.

    But what I will do in this post, is to give you a full shopping list for all of them, if indeed you’d like to make the full Mezze Feast and would like an easy printable.
    That way you have less hassle with the planning and can get ahead of the busy holidays.

    The Recipe Links

    Hummus Two Ways

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Hummus Beetroot

    Easy Tzatziki

    Easy Tzatziki

    Muhammara

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    Smoked Aubergine Dip

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Smoked Aubergine Dip

    Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

    Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

    Sourdough Flatbread with Feta

    Sourdough Flatbread with Feta

    Sourdough Discard Naan

    Vegan Falafel Wraps

    Vegan Falafel Wraps 

    Vegan Falafel Wraps

    What Fruit and Vegetables to Serve This With

    You can get as creative as you’d like, but here is what I used:

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Fruit and Veggies

    – Cherry tomatoes
    – Mini cucumbers
    – Mini peppers
    – Radishes
    – Carrots
    – Fennel

    Fruit
    – Grapes
    – Medjool dates
    – Dried figs

    Nuts

    – Toasted almonds
    – Toasted walnuts
    – Pistachios

    Sides

    Black Olives
    Green Olives
    Feta filled sweet peppers
    Filled wine leaves

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_sides

    The Process

    Now this tends to be the place to give you all the steps to prepare a recipe. But those are already in each recipe and would be a bit overwhelming to have in one list. So I will mainly give you a timeline on what recipe to start when, plus the extra quick Marinated Feta.

    Marinated Feta

    Let’s start with the quickest recipe of the bunch, Marinated Feta.
    Get one or two blocks of good quality feta that you generally enjoy. Cut it in ½ in/1cm cubes and add to a fitting container you have a lid for.

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Marinated Feta Ingredients
    In a small bowl, mix 2 -4 tbsp olive oil with 1-2 tbsp Za’atar (depending on the amount of feta blocks you decided to use). Pour the mixture over the feta cubes and gently mix, to coat them. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. This can be done up to 3 days in advance and the flavour will only improve. And your first recipe is done.

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Marinated Feta

    The Timeline

     

    3 days before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    – Get your shopping done

    2 days before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    – Soak the Chickpeas for your Falafel and, if starting from dried chickpeas instead of canned, for your Hummus.
    – Start the dough for your Sourdough flatbread either 1 or 2 days in advance, to get ahead. It will become more flavourful as it ferments and can be kept in the fridge.
    – Prepare the marinated feta

    1 day before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    – Prepare all the dips you plan to make and the Orange Thyme Tahini dressing (included in the Falafel recipe) if using. They all keep happily in the fridge for a few days

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Meal Prep
    – Prepare the Falafel dough, but don’t add the baking powder yet, as it loses its raising power when left too long. Store in a lidded container in the fridge.
    – Chop all the veggies for dipping and store in separate containers, so they keep fresh. Alternatively, if you have helpers on the day, you can chop them fresh.
    – If you have enough space in your fridge, you can pre-shape balls from the Flatbread sourdough already and keep them on a baking parchment lined tray in the fridge, that you cover with oiled clingfilm.

    On the day of your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

     

    In the Morning:

    – Fill a large cooking pot ½ with sunflower or vegetable oil for frying.
    – Transfer all your dips into pretty serving bowls and cover with clingfilm

    2h before serving

    – Lay the table. Don’t forget spoons for all the dips.
    – Prepare the Cucumber-Tomato-Salad as described in the Vegan Falafel Wrap recipe.
    In short: Chop cucumber and cherry tomatoes into about ½ in/1cm pieces, chop 1 onion, roughly chop the parsley. Mix with juice of ½ lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
    – Choose how to serve your mezze feast. You could use a large board, or like I did, some granite slates. Or scatter the dips across your table with plates of veggies and sides in between.

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast_Dips
    – Distribute the cut and ready vegetables, dried and fresh fruit and other sides between plates or arrange on a board. Cover with clingfilm to keep fresh while you prepare the warm dishes.

    1h before serving

    – Slowly heat your oil for frying the Falafel, to time it with the flatbreads being fried
    – Roll out the Sourdough Naan Bread and store between pieces of baking parchment or cling film
    – Fry and keep warm
    – Or fill your Sourdough Flatbread with Feta and store the filled spirals on a parchment lined and oiled tray covered with clingfilm
    – Start rolling out your Sour flatbread with Feta while you fry, as you will need to transfer right from the paper into the pan piece by piece
    – Keep the Flatbreads warm and soft by wrapping into a clean kitchen towel and storing between 2 large plates, the top one being upside down, to create a warm and moist environment.
    – If you feel you might take longer, you could also turn on your oven to the lowest setting and store the whole batch including plates in there to keep them warm.
    – Fry the Falafel according to the recipe. If you are making a very large batch, keep them warm in the oven in between frying the batches of them.
    – Remove the clingfilm from all dishes, add Falafel and Flatbreads to your Vegetarian Mezze Feast and you are ready to serve!

    Gather your loved ones around the table, ideally while the Falafel are frying, and enjoy the stunning feast.

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    Please find the separate recipes for each dish in the links above or below. This particular “Recipe” Focusses on giving you a timeline for preparing the whole feast.

    Meal Prep

     

    Most of the Meal Prep is covered above, but here are a few more shortcuts and prepare ahead ideas that I used:

    Pre-fry and freeze your Falafel and Flatbread. I wouldn’t necessarily do this if I’d plan this for a feast, as fresh is indeed best, but if you only make one or two of the dips, flatbread and/or Falafel for your work week, which is what I did, freezing them is a great way to store and keep fresh, ready in the air fryer or oven within a few minutes, while you plate your dips and veggies.

    Freeze the flatbread dough in portion for quick weekday meals and just pat or roll out after defrosting for a few hours when you want to fry them.

    Prepare everything on your weekend, keep in separate lidded containers for the week and only warm up the Flatbread and Falafel. The Naan in particular does well when warmed in the microwave, as you want it to be soft. Just 30 seconds is enough. This means you will have dinner on the table within 5 minutes.

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    The Links again, this time without pictures, for easy clicking:

    Hummus Two Ways

    Easy Tzatziki

    Muhammara

    Smoked Aubergine Dip

    Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

    Sourdough Flatbread with Feta

    Sourdough Discard Naan

    Vegan Falafel Wraps

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    Vegetarian Mezze Feast

    If you have been following along with my last eight recipes, you already have a good idea of how this Vegetarian Mezze Feast will look like. We are combining all of those delicious dips and snacks into one stunning spread that is worthy of any holiday or festivity. The fact that it’s vegetarian is an added bonus, and I’m pretty sure no carnivore will even waste a thought on the meat, once they see all the stunning variety on offer.
    5 from 4 votes
    Prep Time 4 hours
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Resting and Soaking time 2 days
    Total Time 2 days 5 hours
    Course Appetizer, Dinner, Feast, Main Course, spread
    Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
    Servings 8
    Calories 850 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    Produce

    • 1 russet potato
    • 2 cucumbers
    • 3 bulbs garlic
    • 8 lemons
    • 1 orange
    • 2 cooked beetroots
    • 2 medium aubergines
    • 2 bunches flatleaf parsley
    • 1 bunch mint
    • 1 bunch thyme
    • 2 onions
    • 9 oz cherry tomatoes plus more for dipping
    • Pomegranate seeds for garnish

    For Dipping (Use what you like. Below are examples)

    • Carrots
    • Mini Peppers
    • Radishes
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Cucumber
    • Mini Fennel
    • Grapes

    Dried fruit and nuts (Use what you like. Below are examples)

    • Medjool dates
    • Dried figs
    • Toasted Walnuts
    • Toasted Almonds

    Other

    • Black Olives
    • Green Olives
    • Feta filled sweet peppers
    • Filled wine leaves

    Fridge

    • 1 cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt or more full fat
    • 5 cups Greek yoghurt
    • 16-24 ounces 2-3 blocks Feta
    • 4 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 cup oat milk or full fat milk of choice

    Other

    • 2 cups sourdough starter active or discard

    Pantry

    • 2 cans chickpeas
    • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 9 oz/250g dried chickpeas
    • 2 cups 1 big jar roasted red peppers
    • 1 pack Walnuts
    • 4 cups Plain Flour
    • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
    • Extra Virgin olive oil
    • 1 l sunflower oil
    • 1 tsp Baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
    • Flaky Salt
    • 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
    • 1 tbsp Molasses
    • 2 tbsp Honey
    • 1.5 tbsp Date Syrup
    • 3 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
    • 1 3/4 cup Tahini
    • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

    Spices

    • Kosher salt
    • Pepper
    • Sumac
    • Ground Coriander
    • Ground Cumin
    • Za'atar
    • Red pepper flakes

    Instructions
     

    The Process

    • Now this tends to be the place to give you all the steps to prepare a recipe. But those are already in each recipe and would be a bit overwhelming to have in one list. So I will mainly give you a timeline on what recipe to start when, plus the extra quick Marinated Feta.

    Marinated Feta

    • Let’s start with the quickest recipe of the bunch, Marinated Feta.
    • Get one or two blocks of good quality feta that you generally enjoy. Cut it in ½ in/1cm cubes and add to a fitting container you have a lid for.
    • In a small bowl, mix 2 -4 tbsp olive oil with 1-2 tbsp Za’atar (depending on the amount of feta blocks you decided to use). Pour the mixture over the feta cubes and gently mix, to coat them. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. This can be done up to 3 days in advance and the flavour will only improve. And your first recipe is done.

    The Timeline

      3 days before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

      • Get your shopping done

      2 days before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

      • Soak the Chickpeas for your Falafel and, if starting from dried chickpeas instead of canned, for your Hummus.
      • Start the dough for your Sourdough flatbread either 1 or 2 days in advance, to get ahead. It will become more flavourful as it ferments and can be kept in the fridge.
      • Prepare the marinated feta by cuting 1-2 blocks of feta in cubes and mixing it with 2-4 tbsp of oilve oil and 1-2 tbsp Za'atar.

      1 day before your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

      • Prepare all the dips you plan to make. They all keep happily in the fridge for a few days
      • Prepare the Falafel dough, but don’t add the baking powder yet, as it loses its raising power when left too long. Store in a lidded container in the fridge.
      • Chop all the veggies for dipping and store in separate containers, so they keep fresh. Alternatively, if you have helpers on the day, you can chop them fresh.
      • If you have enough space in your fridge, you can pre-shape balls from the Flatbread sourdough already and keep them on a baking parchment lined tray in the fridge, that you cover with oiled clingfilm.

      On the day of your Vegetarian Mezze Feast

        In the Morning:

        • Fill a large cooking pot ½ with sunflower or vegetable oil for frying.
        • Transfer all your dips into pretty serving bowls and cover with clingfilm

        2h before serving

        • Lay the table. Don’t forget spoons for all the dips.
        • Prepare the Cucumber-Tomato-Salad as described in the Vegan Falafel Wrap recipe.
        • In short: Chop cucumber and cherry tomatoes into about ½ in/1cm pieces, chop 1 onion, roughly chop the parsley. Mix with juice of ½ lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
        • Choose how to serve your mezze feast. You could use a large board, or like I did, some granite slates. Or scatter the dips across your table with plates of veggies and sides in between.
        • Garnish your dips with drizzles of olive oil, Za'atar, pomegranate seeds and sesame. Cover with clingfilm until ready to serve.
        • Distribute the cut and ready vegetables, dried and fresh fruit and other sides between plates or arrange on a board. Cover with clingfilm to keep fresh while you prepare the warm dishes.

        1h before serving

        • Slowly heat your oil for frying the Falafel, to time it with the flatbreads being fried
        • Roll out the Sourdough Naan Bread and store between pieces of baking parchment or cling film
        • Fry and keep warm
        • Or fill your Sourdough Flatbread with Feta and store the filled spirals on a parchment lined and oiled tray covered with clingfilm
        • Start rolling out your Sour flatbread with Feta while you fry, as you will need to transfer right from the paper into the pan piece by piece
        • Keep the Flatbreads warm and soft by wrapping into a clean kitchen towel and storing between 2 large plates, the top one being upside down, to create a warm and moist environment.
        • If you feel you might take longer, you could also turn on your oven to the lowest setting and store the whole batch including plates in there to keep them warm.
        • Fry the Falafel according to the recipe. If you are making a very large batch, keep them warm in the oven in between frying the batches of them.
        • Remove the clingfilm from all dishes, add Falafel and Flatbreads to your Vegetarian Mezze Feast and you are ready to serve!
        • Gather your loved ones around the table, ideally while the Falafel are frying, and enjoy the stunning feast.

        Notes

        Please find the separate recipes for each dish in the links of the blog post. This particular "Recipe" Focusses on giving you a timeline for preparing the whole feast.
        For the ingredients I haven't given estimates for, like salt for example and oilve oil, the amounts you use may vary on your taste, how much you use to drizzle on top of dips and for rolling out flatbreads.
        The preparation time is a very rough estimate based on how long each dish takes to make and the soaking time for chickpeas plus resting time for sourdough. Your results may vary.
        I got everything plus editing the recipes and taking all the photos done in 3 days fairly relaxed and with breaks, where photos make up roughly one of the days. 
        I also re-made some of the recipes, as I loved them so much and they were very quick to make.
        Same goes for the calories. I can only give a very rough estimation, based on likely average consumption. For more specific values, please refer to each separate recipe in this case.
        Most of the Meal Prep is covered above, but here are a few more shortcuts and prepare ahead ideas that I used:
        Pre-fry and freeze your Falafel and Flatbread. I wouldn’t necessarily do this if I’d plan this for a feast, as fresh is indeed best, but if you only make one or two of the dips, flatbread and/or Falafel for your work week, which is what I did, freezing them is a great way to store and keep fresh, ready in the air fryer or oven within a few minutes, while you plate your dips and veggies.
        Freeze the flatbread dough in portion for quick weekday meals and just pat or roll out after defrosting for a few hours when you want to fry them.
        Prepare everything on your weekend, keep in separate lidded containers for the week and only warm up the Flatbread and Falafel. The Naan in particular does well when warmed in the microwave, as you want it to be soft. Just 30 seconds is enough. This means you will have dinner on the table within 5 minutes.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 850kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Vegetarian Mezze Feast
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        850
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, meal prep, Vegetarian, versatile
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

         

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh is a super creamy spread made from strained Greek yoghurt with mild and caramelized roasted garlic and zesty lemon, rounded with some lemony sumac.
        Super quick to make, healthy and with lots of protein, this will become a favourite side dish for sure. If with the Mezze Feast or on its own, you will fall in love with it.

         

        Why You Want to Make This

        Easy

        I know I say this a lot, especially with the recipes for dips, but this one takes basically 5 minutes of active work and a little time in the fridge for the yoghurt and the garlic in the oven or air fryer. After that it’s just a matter of mashing everything together with a fork and you have a delicious spread ready.

        Healthy

        Greek Yoghurt provides protein with all the benefits that come with it and healthy bacteria that help your gut. With the water reduced, it’s a pretty concentrated form of both, which I love.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Versatile

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh can be used as spread or dip, to go with a Mezze Feast, which is what I was doing. You could top it with roasted cherry tomatoes or mix it with different seasonings. Za’atar would be a classic, but try adding something hot, like harissa or different herbs. Maybe some chopped olives or roasted peppers and within minutes you have a completely different tasting side dish.

         

        The Ingredients

        Full fat Greek yoghurt is the main ingredient for Labneh. Be sure not to use 0% fat, as it will taste rather floury when strained. You want it creamy. I’m using Glenisk, which is widely available in Ireland and I just love the flavour. Make sure to use a type of Greek yoghurt you generally enjoy eating, since the flavour will intensify when the water is reduced.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Salt

        Both for flavour and quicker removal of the water content, the yoghurt gets mixed with salt. I’m using kosher salt here. If you are using sea salt, half the amount.

        Garlic

        A whole bulb of it for that matter. It will be roasted and caramelized in the oven or air fryer, so no need to be scared of garlic breath. This process also softens it and completely transforms the flavour.
        Since I’ve tried it many years ago for the first time, I’m completely hooked. I usually make several bulbs while I’m at it and store them in the fridge, to use in various ways during the week. Sometime simply spread on toast, with a hint of Maldon salt is heaven. Or on roasted chicken with some cherry tomatoes roasted alongside.

        Lemon

        We are using only the zest here, as the intention is only to add flavour, not liquid back in. Use an unwaxed and untreated lemon or wash thoroughly under hot water first.

        Sumac

        Sumac is a red, lemony tasting spice made from ground berries from the middle east. I absolutely love it in anything that needs a lemony hit or some pretty pink colour. It’s often added to Za’atar and used to sprinkle on top of all sorts of dishes like hummus or Labneh, stews, salads and more. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll use it everywhere.
        It’s widely available in supermarkets these days. But if you can’t find it, you can leave it out or add more lemon zest.

         

        The Process

        Straining the Yoghurt

        Usually this is done in a cheese cloth (or clean kitchen towel), tied to the handle of a wooden spoon, which is rested over a container high enough to allow the liquid to drip out of the yoghurt and left in the fridge overnight.

        Labneh
        However, I read of a method using a coffee filter and since I had my Chemex around, I figured it would be a great use. https://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/eight-cup-handblown-series-glass-coffeemaker.html
        You can use either the towel method or any type of filter coffee device. I honestly loved the ease of it and the fact that I didn’t have to clean the yoghurt of the towel afterwards. Just take it out of the paper coffee filter and you are done. Minimal cleanup.

        Labneh

        To strain the yoghurt, first mix it with the salt, then add it either to your cheese cloth, towel or coffee filter, set it over a bowl and cover the top with cling film if you are using the filter method. Leave in the fridge for minimum 6h or overnight.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Once it has reached a very firm and creamy consistency and you see a fair bit of fluid has dripped out, take the labneh out of your chosen straining device and add to a bowl.

        Garlic

        Pre-heat your air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C

        Cut the very top off your bulb of garlic, just so the cloves are visible. Leave the rest unpeeled. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap into a piece of kitchen foil and twist to close.
        Add to the oven for 40-60 minutes or the air fryer for 20-30 minutes or until the cloves are soft and caramelized. This might take a little longer or shorter, depending on the size and freshness of your head of garlic.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Be careful when taking out and opening, as the little parcel will be very hot. Let it cool down, until easy to handle. Squish the now soft garlic cloves out of the papery skin into a little bowl and smash with a fork until you have a puree.

        Assembly

        Add the smashed, roasted garlic, lemon zest and sumac to your labneh and mix thoroughly with a fork.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preferences.

        Enjoy with warm flat bread, crudites, on toast or with anything savoury you might usually eat with cream cheese.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Meal Prep

        Since this is simply strained Greek yoghurt with roasted garlic, this should keep for about 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.
        I often make this on my weekend, to have a snack with some fresh cherry tomatoes on sourdough toast for the week, as it keeps so well.

        And since it mostly makes itself, you can start the preparation the day before you want it and just have 5 minutes of assembly on the day.

        The Mezze Feast

        Here are the recipes posted for the Mezze Feast so far. Mix and match whatever you like, use just one as super quick snack or dinner or all of them for one stunning feast:

        Hummus Two Ways

        Easy Tzatziki

        Muhammara

        Smoked Aubergine Dip

         

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh is a super creamy spread made from strained Greek yoghurt with mild and caramelized roasted garlic and zesty lemon, rounded with some lemony sumac. Super quick to make, healthy and with lots of protein, this will become a favourite side dish for sure. If with the Mezze Feast or on its own, you will fall in love with it.
        5 from 6 votes
        Prep Time 5 minutes
        Cook Time 40 minutes
        Straining time 6 hours
        Total Time 6 hours 45 minutes
        Course Appetizer, condiment, dip, spread
        Cuisine Middle Eastern
        Servings 8
        Calories 133 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • 2 cups Greek yoghurt full fat
        • ½ tsp salt

        For the Roasted Garlic Lemon version:

        • 1 bulb garlic
        • 1 lemon zested
        • 1 tsp sumac

        Instructions
         

        Straining the Yogurt:

        • In a mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and salt. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt throughout the yogurt.

        Choose your preferred straining method:

        • a. Cheese Cloth/Towel Method: Use a clean cheesecloth or kitchen towel and tie it to the handle of a wooden spoon. Place this over a container that's high enough to allow the liquid to drain out of the yogurt. Let it rest in the fridge overnight.
        • b. Coffee Filter Method: If using a coffee filter, like a Chemex coffee maker, place the yogurt with salt in the filter. Set it over a bowl and cover the top with cling film. Leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
        • Once the yogurt has achieved a very firm and creamy consistency, and you see a significant amount of liquid has dripped out, remove the labneh from your chosen straining device and transfer it to a bowl.

        Roasted Garlic:

        • Preheat your air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C.
        • Cut the very top off the bulb of garlic, exposing the cloves but leaving the rest unpeeled. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the garlic and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the garlic in a piece of kitchen foil and twist to seal it.
        • Roast the garlic in the oven for 40-60 minutes or in the air fryer for 20-30 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and caramelized. The exact time may vary depending on the size and freshness of your garlic.
        • Be cautious when removing and opening the foil packet, as it will be very hot. Allow the roasted garlic to cool down until it's easy to handle.
        • Squeeze the now soft garlic cloves out of the papery skin into a small bowl. Mash them with a fork until you have a smooth puree.

        Assembly:

        • Add the mashed, roasted garlic, lemon zest, and sumac to the strained labneh in the bowl.
        • Mix the ingredients thoroughly with a fork, ensuring the roasted garlic, lemon zest, and sumac are evenly distributed throughout the labneh.
        • Taste the labneh and adjust the seasoning to your preferences. You can add more salt or lemon zest if needed.
        • Enjoy your Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh with warm flatbread, fresh vegetables (crudites), on toast, or with any savoury accompaniments you typically enjoy with cream cheese. This creamy, tangy, and subtly sweet dip is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

        Notes

        Meal Prep
        Since this is simply strained Greek yoghurt with roasted garlic, this should keep for about 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.
        I often make this on my weekend, to have a snack with some fresh cherry tomatoes on sourdough toast for the week, as it keeps so well.
        And since it mostly makes itself, you can start the preparation the day before you want it and just have 5 minutes of assembly on the day.
        8 portions
        Calories per Portion: Approximately 133 calories
        Protein per Portion: Approximately 9 grams
        Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 4 grams
        Fat per Portion: Approximately 9 grams
        Sodium per Portion: Approximately 175 milligrams

        Nutrition

        Calories: 133kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        133
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Easy, For Guests, Healthy, High Protein, meal prep, Protein, Vegetarian, versatile
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
        Smoked Aubergine Dip

        Smoked Aubergine Dip

        Similar to Baba ghanoush, this Smoked Aubergine Dip starts with roasted aubergines, that get roasted to smoky, charred perfection, then mixed with creamy Tahini. The difference to the traditional dip lies in the Greek yoghurt I’m adding. For both added creaminess and protein. If you were always sceptical about aubergines, do give this one a try. It certainly converted me into a lover of their creamy texture!

        Why You Want to Make This

         

        Great for a Mezze Feast

        Another amazing middle eastern dip for the upcoming Mezze Feast, this Smoked Aubergine Dip is highly addictive. Yet super easy to make. While roasting or charring the aubergines takes some time, it’s mostly hands off, while you can get on with other things.
        If you are following along with the feast, you might want to prepare your flatbreads, so they are ready when the dip is. Or the Hummus, if you are preparing it with crudites.

        Versatile

        The very first time I made this, I had it with roasted lamb shoulder many years ago, long before this blog existed and got entirely hooked. I was never a fan of aubergine before, as I felt it doesn’t taste like much and has a weird texture.
        That completely changes once you roast it until completely black and collapsed, which makes them super smoky and creamy when the flesh is scraped out.
        You can eat this with meat (lamb is particularly delicious), as dip, with crudites, as spread or just as a side with all kinds of dishes.

        Healthy

        Based on vegetables, same as the Muhammara I made for the same Mezze Feast, which was based on peppers. And the Hummus, which is based on chickpeas.
        With this one being made from Aubergines, you get all the benefits of high fibre and nutrients, while enjoying a super creamy and smoky dip.

        Easy

        All you need is an oven, air fryer or open flame, to get your aubergines nice and charred. After that a bowl and a fork plus spoon are all the required equipment. Once the aubergine is cooked, it’s just a matter of mushing it a bit with a fork and stirring in the remaining ingredients and you are done.

         

        The Ingredients

         

        Which brings us to the next point indeed. The all-important ingredients.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip _Ingredients

        Aubergines – of course. As mentioned above, are the main ingredient.

        0% fat Greek yoghurt – I love this as addition, because it adds incredible creaminess and fresh tang without adding fat and a fair bit of protein, which we want especially when eating a vegetarian Mezze feast like the one I’m preparing.

        Tahini – The ground sesame paste is essential here, to transform this into the creamy and nutty dip we are looking for. Same as with the Hummus:
        Whatever you do, please don’t use the classic supermarket version of Tahini here, which you will recognise by the firm and hard to scoop paste in a jar topped with a thick layer of oil. I found they are at best just hard to work with, worst case add a horrible, bitter note to whatever you use them in.

        What we are after is creamy, liquid and lovely sesame flavoured. Israeli, Lebanese, and Palestinian version like “Al Nakhil”, which is the one I’m using.
        Admittedly I have to order it online and often it is sold out in Ireland. So when I spot it, I tend to order several containers, for fear of running out.
        I often get it at the Asia Market or Fallon & Byrne in Ireland. But if you live elsewhere in the world, check for the above countries of origin and you should be fine.

        Molasses – This might seem like an odd addition but trust me here. I found it takes this already delicious dip over the top, as it complements the aubergine and nutty Tahini perfectly by adding sweet, almost smoky notes. If you don’t have any, you could use date syrup or even a little honey. But much less than molasses, as it’s sweeter.

        Garlic – I suppose this one is obvious, as it makes nearly each of the dips better. And if you have guests, everyone will eat it, so no one will be bothered by the smell. Adjust the amount to your liking. But beware, it gets stronger if you make the dip in advance.

        Mint – Not traditional, same as the molasses and yoghurt, but it adds herby freshness as contrast to the creamy smokiness which I really love. Dill or parsley could be used instead.

        Lemon – There is barely a dish I wouldn’t add lemon to, to bring out all the flavours. We need the acidity here, to balance the mild and creamy aubergine and nutty Tahini.

         

        The Process

         

        Roasting the Aubergines

        We want to achieve perfect collapsing softness and charred black skin on the aubergines, so we get the addictive smoky flavour that makes this dip so incredible.
        This can be done over a gas flame, as is traditional, or, as I do it since I don’t have a gas hob (and would hate the cleanup) in my air fryer or oven.

        Pre-heat your oven or air fryer to 200°C (400°F).

        Prick holes into your aubergines with a fork. This is important, so they don’t explode. Trust me, you do not want to clean exploded aubergine.
        Rub them with a little olive oil and place either directly in your air fryer (which is much faster than your oven for this) or an ovenproof dish in the middle of your oven.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip Process

        Roast in the air fryer for about 20-30 minutes, turning every 5min. Or until totally collapsed and with charred skin.
        In your oven this will take about 50-60 minutes, turning about 3-4 times.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip Process

        The consistency should be similar to a completely overripe banana. If it’s not, cook them longer. The flesh will look almost translucent, with none of the white firmness left.

        Scooping out the flesh

        Once it comes out of the oven, get a sieve that can take both aubergines and make a cut the long side down with a sharp knife, holding them ideally with tongs or an ovenproof glove, as they will be hot. Place them in the sieve, cut side pointing down, so some of the fluid can drain.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip Process

        When they are cool enough to handle safely, scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a large bowl and mash it thoroughly with a fork. You could use a food processor for this if you want, but usually it’s so easy, that I feel the washing up is more work than the bit of mashing.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip Process

         

        Mixing the dip

        Add the minced garlic, Tahini, Greek yoghurt, molasses, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly, until you have a creamy dip.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip

        Have a taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

        Add the finely chopped mint or any other herbs you enjoy.

        Serve with flatbread, meat, crudites or as part of a Mezze feast.

        Meal Prep

         

        This Smoked Aubergine Dip will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. So you can make it well ahead and enjoy it either as Mezze feast or during the week as healthy snack, which I do a lot.

        For the recipes of the upcoming Mezze Fest so far, check these:
        Muhammara

        Hummus Two Ways

        Easy Tzatziki

        Sourdough Flatbread with Feta

        Roasted Garlic Lemon Labneh

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

        Smoked Aubergine Dip

        Smoked Aubergine Dip

        Similar to Baba ghanoush, this Smoked Aubergine Dip starts with roasted aubergines, that get roasted to smoky, charred perfection, then mixed with creamy Tahini. The difference to the traditional dip lies in the Greek yoghurt I’m adding. For both added creaminess and protein. If you were always sceptical about aubergines, do give this one a try. It certainly converted me into a lover of their creamy texture!
        5 from 3 votes
        Prep Time 15 minutes
        Cook Time 50 minutes
        Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
        Course Appetizer, dip, Side Dish, Snack, spread
        Cuisine Middle Eastern
        Servings 8
        Calories 123 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • 2 medium Aubergines eggplants
        • 4 tbsp Tahini
        • 2 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt
        • ½ lemon juiced
        • 2 garlic cloves minced
        • 1 tbsp molasses
        • 1 tbsp mint finely chopped
        • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste

        Instructions
         

        • Preheat your oven or air fryer to 200°C (400°F).
        • Begin by pricking holes into your aubergines with a fork to prevent them from exploding during the cooking process.
        • Rub the aubergines with a little olive oil and place them directly in your air fryer or in an ovenproof dish in the middle of your oven.
        • Roast in the air fryer for about 20-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. In the oven, this will take about 50-60 minutes, turning about 3-4 times. The goal is to achieve perfect collapsing softness and charred black skin on the aubergines, which will give your dip a smoky flavour.
        • The consistency should be similar to a completely overripe banana. The flesh will look almost translucent, with none of the white firmness left. If needed, cook them longer until they reach this state.
        • Once the aubergines are done roasting, cut them lengthwise with a sharp knife and, using tongs or an ovenproof glove, place them in a sieve, cut side down, to allow excess liquid to drain. Let them cool for a bit.
        • When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a large bowl and mash it thoroughly with a fork. You can use a food processor if you prefer, but hand mashing is usually sufficient and saves on cleanup.
        • Add the minced garlic, tahini, Greek yogurt, molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper to the mashed aubergines. Stir thoroughly until you have a creamy dip. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
        • Finally, stir in the finely chopped mint or any other herbs you enjoy. This will add a fresh and aromatic touch to your dip.
        • Serve your smoked aubergine dip with flatbread, meat, crudites, or as part of a Mezze feast. Enjoy the addictive smoky flavour and creamy texture of this delicious dip!

        Notes

        This Smoked Aubergine Dip will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. So you can make it well ahead and enjoy it either as Mezze feast or during the week as healthy snack, which I do a lot.
        Calories per Portion: Approximately 123 calories
        Protein per Portion: Approximately 3 grams
        Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 12 grams
        Fat per Portion: Approximately 7 grams
        Fiber per Portion: Approximately 3 grams
        Sugar per Portion: Approximately 6 grams
        Sodium per Portion: Approximately 158 milligrams
        Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on specific brands and variations in ingredient measurements.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 123kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Smoked Aubergine Dip
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        123
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Easy, For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, Low Calorie, meal prep, Vegetarian, versatile
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

        Black Garlic Aioli

        Black Garlic Aioli

        This Black Garlic Aioli has sweetness and complexity, a profile reminding of complex sauces and condiments you get with meat or bread in a really good restaurant. Yet it’s super quick to make once you have the black garlic. Even more so if you have a stick blender.

        Why You Want to Make This

        I’m sure you all know Aioli and, since you clicked on this post either heard of Black Garlic, have it at home or are simply intrigued.
        I do love Aioli in all versions and will soon have a post coming up with multiple of them. It is and remains my favourite condiment. This Black Garlic Aioli takes it to a whole new level. It adds the sweetness and umami flavours of black garlic, reminding me of dried fruit, liquorice and balsamic vinegar with caramelised notes.

        It goes fantastically with with pretty much anything you’d use Aioli for, but is a triumph on burgers or steak. I do love dipping sweet potato fries into it as well, or use it on an amazing leftover chicken sandwich.

        And the best thing? Once you have black garlic, it takes just 5 minutes to make and is so much better than any shop bought Aioli. Not that you’d find Black garlic Aioli in shops. Yet.

        How to make Black Garlic?

        I had made black garlic over the last 40 days, by simply keeping it, each bulb wrapped in first cling film then aluminium foil, in a rice cooker, set to warm. Keep it in a well aired room (in my case the utility room with an open window), so the intense garlic smell over the first week or so can escape. Or just embrace it. We all love garlic after all, don’t we?
        Check this post for detailed instructions on how to make it.

        Black Garlic

        Black Garlic makes pretty much everything better with its intense umami-sweet-fruity, slightly liquorice flavour, so it lends itself fantastic for one of my favourite condiments, which is aioli.
        I have since used it in my Black Garlic Cashew Ranch Dressing, the Black Garlic Mushroom Salad. Do try that one! The combination of Berries and Mushrooms may sound odd, but works wonderfully due to the sweet element of the Black Garlic pulling it together. Black Garlic Chicken anyone? Or Black Garlic Butter?

        The Ingredients

        Black Garlic, of course. I’ve used anything between 6 and 10 cloves, depending on how strong you want the flavour to be. For, say a platter of crudites I’d use less, for Burger or Steak, where it has to stand up against strong smoke and meat flavours, use more.

        Fresh Garlic – I feel, while you could leave it out, it adds harmonious balance and the distinct Aioli flavour in the background, while it supports the Black garlic to really shine.

        Since the black garlic is very sweet, balsamic vinegar complements it perfectly with its fruity notes. I felt it needed a more acidic counterpoint, to lift it, hence the addition of lemon zest and juice.

        While the herbs are optional, I urge you to try fresh dill, as it’s very fresh version of anise flavour goes perfect with the liquorice notes of black garlic and takes this to a whole different level. The parsley adds minerality, to balance both sweetness and umami. You could use dried, but personal I always miss the freshness when I do.

        For oil you could use ¼ cup of a very mild olive oil instead of part of the neutral oil (I’m using Grapeseed oil), but don’t replace it all with olive oil, as it tends to get bitter when used for mayonnaise.
        And a fresh egg of course. This emulsifies the Aioli together with the mustard.

        Liquid Smoke – This one is optional. I used it mainly for my Black Garlic Aioli Burger, but it would be fantastic with anything grilled, as it emphasizes the BBQ notes.

        Black Garlic Aioli_Ingredients

        The Process

        I’m using a stick blender since about 30 years and literally the same one since all this time. I have a very old version of the ESGE Magic Wand (Not Hitachi mind you…just in case your mind wandered…), which still works fabulously. But this method should work with any stick blender, as the secret is how the oil is incorporated.

        Black Garlic Aioli_Process
        Using a slim jar or container that just fits the stick blenders head with very little room to spare on the sides, you add your egg, mustard and lemon juice at the bottom, then top it with all of the oil. Gently lower your blender head, equipped with the whisking disc, all the way down, so it covers the egg. Switch it on at full speed and do not move it for a few seconds. You will see mayonnaise forming right away at the bottom. Keep it still until the white mass doesn’t expand upwards further, then gently tip your blender into a diagonal, and very slowly move it upwards.

        Black Garlic Aioli_Process
        This method will do the same as you would do by hand: Incorporate the oil in a thin stream, by creating a vortex that pulls it slowly into the egg, emulsifying it in the process. The trick lies in the waiting time before moving the blender, to give it enough time to pull in the oil until it reaches no more. Once you’ve pulled it all the way up, most of the oil will be incorporated and you will have a firm and very stable mayonnaise.

        Black Garlic Aioli_Process

        Mash your garlic and black garlic or chop it, chop your herbs roughly and add all of them with some salt and pepper to your mayonnaise. Blend again with the pureeing attachment, to create a smooth and delicious Black garlic Aioli.

        Black Garlic Aioli

        How to use it?

        Now this is not low calorie by any means, but due to its intense flavour, very little goes a long way.
        You can of course vary the black garlic vs raw garlic content, to fit your taste.

        The uses of this Black Garlic Aioli are endless. Starting from an addictive dip for a crudité platter over a condiment for grilled steak or roast chicken to elaborate sandwiches that embrace its depth by adding, say gruyere, maybe serrano ham, some crunchy lettuce, and tomatoes or, if you’d like a veggie option, use sliced grilled vegetables instead. It goes particularly well with fried mushrooms. Or of course my all-time favourite: fresh sourdough bread, just dipped into it.

        Black Garlic Aioli

        For a very different interpretation of “Black Garlic” check out my Black Garlic Pork Ramen. It uses literally burnt garlic, I kid you not. And it’s fabulous.

        For more amazing Black Garlic Recipes check these:

        Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

        Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

        Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

        Black Garlic Cashew Ranch Dressing

        Black Garlic Brine for Chicken

        Black Garlic Roast Chicken Summer Salad

        Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate

        Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake with Black Garlic

        Black Garlic Mushroom Salad with Berries and Blue Cheese

        Sourdough Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Black Garlic

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

        Black Garlic Aioli

        Black Garlic Aioli

        Black Garlic makes pretty much everything better with its intense umami-sweet-fruity, slightly liquorice flavour, so it lends itself fantastic for one of my favourite condiments, which is aioli. It adds sweetness and complexity, a profile reminding of complex sauces and condiments you get with meat or bread in a really good restaurant. Yet it’s super quick to make once you have the black garlic. Even more so if you have a stick blender.
        5 from 1 vote
        Prep Time 10 minutes
        Total Time 10 minutes
        Course Appetizer
        Cuisine Mediterranean
        Servings 10
        Calories 170 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • 1 egg or 2 yolks
        • ¾ cup neutral oil such as grapeseed
        • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
        • 1 tbsp lemon juice
        • Grated zest of 1 lemon
        • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
        • 4 black garlic cloves mashed with a fork.
        • 1 fresh garlic clove minced.
        • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste
        • Optional add-ins:
        • 1 tbsp chopped dill or tarragon
        • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
        • 1 tsp liquid smoke

        Instructions
         

        • If using a stick blender:
          Add Egg, then mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and zest and liquid smoke if using, to a tall, slim container or jar, that just fits the head of your stick blender, with only a few millimeters on the side.
          Top with the oil.
          Lower your stick blender very staight into the mix, so it covers the egg. Switch it on and do not move it for several seconds, until mayonnaise has formed around it, came up a bit on the side and isn't moving further.
          Gently tip the blender and pull up slowly, until all the oild is incorporated and you have a firm and stable mayonnaise.
          Add the mashed or finely chopped fresh and black garlic and the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper and blend again. Taste and season to your liking.
        • If using a blenderor food processor: combine the egg (or yolks), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, black garlic cloves, fresh garlic clove, liquid smoke if using, and kosher salt and pepper.
        • Process the mixture on low speed until the ingredients are well combined.
        • While the blender or food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the neutral oil. This should be done gradually to ensure the oil emulsifies with the other ingredients and creates a creamy aioli.
        • Continue blending until the mixture thickens and reaches a mayonnaise-like consistency.
        • Taste the aioli and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if desired.
        • If using, stir in the chopped dill or tarragon and parsley for additional flavours.
        • Transfer the black garlic aioli to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavours to meld together.

        Notes

        Tipp:
        Alternatively use a high-speed stick blender equipped with a whipping disk, a high, narrow cup as shown in my pictures, add the liquid ingredients first, put the blender in, switch on high, don’t move for a few seconds, until you see the white mayonnaise forming, then tip it to a diagonal slightly and slowly pull it up. Move up and down until it’s perfectly emulsified.
        Switch off blender, equip with a pureeing attachment, add the garlic, lemon zest, and, if using, herbs puree until well incorporated.
        This is how I’m making any mayonnaise for many years now and it only failed me once, when I was using very cheap and strange eggs, that seemed to have no binding capacity.
        If it feels too liquid, you can add another egg and repeat the process and you should have a very firm consistency. Be mindful though, as it tends to firm up in the fridge anyway, so you will likely not need it.
        Just as a note: In my pictures I had replaced ¼ cup of the grapeseed oil with a fruity olive oil. I liked the hint of bitterness it added to the otherwise very sweet flavour profile, but it depends very much on your taste and the type of olive oil you have. Handle with care, as it can get quickly overwhelming, which is why I decided to only mention neutral oil in this recipe.
        Serve the black garlic aioli as a dipping sauce, spread, or condiment with your favourite dishes.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 170kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Black Garlic Aioli
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        170
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, Easy, For Guests
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!