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During the dull, dark days of January, having salad for lunch needn’t be boring. Try experimenting with flavours from all over the world, to ensure your lunch is a fun, filling and fabulously healthy feast. Here are a few recipes for a Middle Eastern mezze, which we recently gobbled down at Story HQ. And, as Middle Eastern cuisine is tipped to be a big trend for 2015, it won’t hurt your street cred either.

Tabbouleh, originally from Lebanon, is enjoyed all over the Middle East in various forms. Traditionally made with bulgar wheat, parsley and mint, this is a fresh and light dish that’s full of flavour. Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi uphold that tabbouleh “as is not always understood in the west, is all about parsley”, so use lots of it. We like Val Warner’s recipe, but added ¼ tsp of cinnamon and ¼ tsp of mixed spice for a bit of a kick.

tabbouleh

Fattoush, a rustic Palestinian-Lebanese salad, is a variant of the traditional Arabic dish ‘Fatteh’, which uses pieces of stale or toasted bread as a foundation for tasty and delicious toppings. This recipe is adapted from one on the Good Food Channel website and combines various textures, flavours and colours for a truly different dish.

fattoush

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar spice mix (a traditional Middle Eastern flavouring)

 

For the salad:

  • 1 small white cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 beetroots, thinly sliced
  • A bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • A big handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 slices of rye bread
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 100g pomegranate seeds
  • 100g pumpkin seeds

 

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place the cauliflower, spring onions and beetroot into a large salad bowl. Pour over the dressing and leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Toast the rye bread and whilst still hot, rub a clove of garlic into the bread and break into small pieces. Add the herbs, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and lastly, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

mast o khiar

And of course it’s always nice to serve your salads with some dips. Mast-o-Khiar is a simple Persian side dish that tastes a little like tsatsiki but so much better. We like this recipe from the Saveur website, although swopped the golden raisins for sultanas and used fresh mint instead of dried.

hummus

There’s not much that tastes better than freshly made hummus – and this recipe by Leyla Kazim was a winner. It’s actually very difficult to pinpoint exactly where hummus was invented, but its thought that it may have started in the Eastern Mediterranean area of the Middle East. Today of course it is central to Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and even our own cuisine.

Serve with warm flatbread or pitta and be transported to somewhere exotic for your lunch break.

 

 

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