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.
    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!
      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken might be the easiest Holiday dinner you can make, while being utterly delicious and impressive. Everything gets roasted in the same pan, minimizing the cleanup. And you can prepare it ahead of time, up to the point where you just push it into the oven an hour before you want to eat. It even makes its own sauce by virtue of the pretty pink cranberry butter you spread under and on the skin.

       

      Why You Want to Make This

      A roast chicken of some sort has long been my go-to easy dinner when I had friends over. It is equal parts super easy and impressive and never fails to deliver. This Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken is no exception but might become my new obsession. Well…as long as I can find cranberries that is.

      Super Flavourful

      Similar to my Black Garlic Roast Chicken, which I’m using usually to make an epic salad, this Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken gets its flavour and juiciness mainly from the compound butter that is spread both under and on the skin, to deeply infuse the flesh with festive fruitiness. Meaning opposed to just serving it with cranberry sauce, we let the delicious pink butter penetrate the meat and keep it both juicy and extra flavourful.

      Comes with Sides

      Not just the chicken, but also the sides come included in the recipe, so you have everything ready right out of the oven. Surrounded by baby potatoes, seasoned with rosemary, mushrooms, roasted in the juices while the chicken rests, and cranberries, creating a delicious sauce that needs nothing else, you get a complete meal. Time to start a new Christmas tradition!

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Versatile Cranberry Butter

      The Cranberry Rosemary Butter I made especially for this recipe is the secret star of the show. I saw a fair few recipes for cranberry chicken, but all just had the cranberries surround it. I really wanted the flavour in my chicken. So I thought “What if I use the Cranberry Port Sauce I made and add it to the butter? Let me tell you, it was a full success! Not just pretty in pink, but so delicious, you’ll want to spread it on everything from bread to meat. I imagine it would be fantastic with any dark and gamey tasting meat like lamb or deer, who both benefit from sweet fruity flavours.

      I’ve added orange zest and rosemary here, but you could easily vary it with different herbs or citrus fruits. For a change, I did not use any garlic, as I wanted the cranberries to shine.

      Quick to Prepare

      Most of the work is done by your food processor (or a quick mashing with a fork) and the oven. And while the smell of roasting chicken and cranberries fills your house, you have time to get ready or relax. Is there any better way to prepare dinner?

       

      The Ingredients

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Ingredients

      The Chicken

      Use the best quality bird you can afford. Free range does make a difference for both the welfare of the animals and in flavour. I often get one of the lovely local free range chickens my butcher offers and am always amazed by the difference it makes.

      Potatoes

      Baby potatoes are best, as they keep their shape while roasting and you don’t have to peel them.

      Mushrooms

      I used chestnut mushrooms here but use whatever you enjoy and find in your local supermarket.

      Cranberries

      Fresh or frozen are both great options. Due to the long roasting time, you don’t need to account for either, they will cook through and disintegrate into the sauce.

      Butter

      Use good quality butter here, as it will flavour both meat and sauce. I’m using 1 stick, which makes more than you need for the chicken. But apart from being so delicious, you’ll want to try it on everything, it’s harder to mix smaller amounts in the food processor. So you are left with delicious leftovers to use on sandwich or maybe even scones for breakfast.

      Cranberry Sauce

      I’m using my homemade Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines for this, which makes for incredible flavour in the butter. But you could easily use shop bought. Just make sure not to use warm sauce or a very runny kind. Mine was about Jam consistency.

      Orange

      The zest is added to the butter, the juices squeezed over the potatoes and the remains stuffed into the chicken cavity, to get absolutely all the flavour I can.

      Rosemary

      Fresh Rosemary works best. About 1 tbsp chopped in the butter and 1 tbsp chopped in the potatoes. You could use thyme too if you like.

       

      The Process

       

      Optional Chicken Brining

      I often brine my chicken in a simple 4 cups water, ½ cup salt, a few cloves smashed garlic, sliced lemon and some herbs. Similar to, but simpler than the one I used for my Black Garlic Chicken. This keeps the chicken extra juicy and flavourful. But this is by no means essential. If you choose to use it, add the chicken to a large sealable bag (I user Freezer bags), add cold water, lemon, herbs, maybe some smashed garlic and ½ cup of salt. Seal the bag and shake, so the salt dissolves. Keep in the fridge like this for up to 2 days.

      This is an optional step, so I haven’t shown it here, to keep things simple. Let me know if you’d like a full recipe and I’ll add one soon.

      Take your chicken out of the fridge (if you brined it, rinse, and pat dry) about 1h before you want to roast it, so it can come to room temperature.

      Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C

      The Cranberry Butter

       

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Cranberry Butter

      Now all you need to do is mix either homemade (like this Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementines) https://forthepleasureofeating.com/cranberry-sauce-with-port-and-clementines/ or shop bought Cranberry sauce with butter, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, orange zest, salt and pepper in your food processor or mash it by hand. You can prepare this the day before if you like but remember to take it out of the fridge about an hour before, so it’s easy to rub onto the chicken skin.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Cranberry Butter

      Add the Cranberry Butter under and on the chicken skin, being careful not to rip the skin. I usually gently slide my hand under the skin of the breast, starting on the neck side, which has more room to expand, and create 2 pockets for the butter, before pushing a few portions under it and spreading it out by gently pushing on the skin towards the bottom. Then use some of the remaining butter and rub it all over the chicken skin.

      Potatoes, Cranberries and Mushrooms

      Half the baby potatoes, depending on their size. Very small ones can be left whole. In a bowl, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add a tablespoon of chopped rosemary. Mix everything so the potatoes are evenly coated.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Process

      Lightly grease your roasting tin with a bit of olive oil.

      Add the potatoes to the roasting tin and tumble over the fresh cranberries. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and stuff the halves into the chicken cavity.

       

      Roasting

      Nestle the chicken between the potatoes and cranberries and roast in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Rotate once after 30 minutes, if your oven roasts unevenly.
      Towards the 45 minutes mark, check the skin of your chicken. If you see some spots getting too dark, cover it loosely with a bit of kitchen foil, while it cooks through.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Process

      While your chicken is roasting, quarter the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. No oil is needed, as they will be coated in the buttery juices later.

      Once the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (Test by piercing the thickest part of the leg with a knife. If the juices run clear, your bird is ready), carefully transfer it to a large rimmed plate and cover loosely with kitchen foil to rest.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Process

      Add the Mushrooms to your tin. Stir briefly, to coat them in the flavourful, buttery juices and turn the potatoes, so they can brown. Put back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until your potatoes have nice and golden edges and your mushrooms are cooked.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken_Process

      To Serve

      Serve everything on a big plate, carving your Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken at the table or pre-carve and serve the meat over the potato-cranberry-mushroom mix. Don’t forget to drizzle the buttery, fruity pan juices over everything. Add more Cranberry Sauce at the table if you like.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Meal Prep

      Both Cranberry Sauce (if you decide to make your own) and Cranberry Butter can be prepared a few days ahead.

      If you decide to brine your chicken, you can do so up to 2 days ahead.

      The butter is best spread on in the last moment, as it tends to slide off if cooled and then warmed again.

      Potatoes and Mushrooms can be prepared ahead, but they take just a few minutes.

      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.

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken

      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken might be the easiest Holiday dinner you can make, while being utterly delicious and impressive. Everything gets roasted in the same pan, minimizing the cleanup. And you can prepare it ahead of time, up to the point where you just push it into the oven an hour before you want to eat. It even makes its own sauce by virtue of the pretty pink cranberry butter you spread under and on the skin.
      Prep Time 20 minutes
      Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
      Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
      Course Dinner, Feast, Main Course
      Cuisine American
      Servings 4
      Calories 510 kcal

      Equipment

      • Food Processor

      Ingredients
        

      • 1 large chicken ideally free range
      • 2 lb baby potatoes
      • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
      • 6 cups fresh mushrooms I used chestnut
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 stick butter cut into pieces
      • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped, divided
      • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce or jam
      • 1 orange zested
      • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
      • Salt and pepper to taste

      Instructions
       

      Prepare the Chicken:

      • Take the chicken out of the fridge about 1 hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
      • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

      Make the Cranberry Butter:

      • In a food processor or by hand, mix cranberry sauce, butter, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of rosemary, orange zest, salt, and pepper.
      • Carefully lift the skin of the chicken and rub some of the cranberry butter underneath. Rub some of the remaining butter over the chicken skin. Keep leftovers of the butter in the fridge for another use.

      Prepare Potatoes and Cranberries

      • In a bowl, toss the halved baby potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary.
      • Grease a roasting tin with olive oil and add the potatoes. Sprinkle fresh cranberries over them.
      • Squeeze the juice of the orange over the potatoes and place the squeezed halves inside the chicken cavity.
      • Place the chicken in the roasting tin among the potatoes and cranberries.

      Roast the Chicken:

      • Roast in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Rotate the tin once after 30 minutes.
      • Check the chicken skin at the 45-minute mark. If it's getting too dark, cover it loosely with kitchen foil.

      Prepare Mushrooms:

      • While the chicken is roasting, season quartered mushrooms with salt and pepper.
      • Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
      • Add mushrooms to the roasting tin and stir to coat them in the buttery juices. Turn the potatoes.

      Finish Roasting:

      • Place the tin back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes have golden edges, and mushrooms are cooked.

      Serve:

      • Carve the chicken at the table or pre-carve and arrange it over the potato-cranberry-mushroom mix.
      • Drizzle the buttery pan juices over everything. Serve with additional cranberry sauce at the table.
      • Enjoy your Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken with its fruity blend of flavours!

      Notes

      Meal Prep
      Both Cranberry Sauce (if you decide to make your own) and Cranberry Butter can be prepared a few days ahead.
      If you decide to brine your chicken, you can do so up to 2 days ahead.
      The butter is best spread on in the last moment, as it tends to slide off if cooled and then warmed again.
      Potatoes and Mushrooms can be prepared ahead, but they take just a few minutes.
      4 portions
      Calories: Approximately 510 calories
      Protein: Approximately 23 grams
      Carbohydrates: Approximately 42 grams
      Fat: Approximately 28 grams
      Fiber: Approximately 6 grams

      Nutrition

      Calories: 510kcal
      Nutrition Facts
      Cranberry Rosemary Roasted Chicken
      Amount per Serving
      Calories
      510
      % Daily Value*
      * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
      Keyword Easy, For Guests, High Protein, meal prep
      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.
      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!