Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Bulgur salad in white bowl

This Middle Eastern Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad is Full of Whole Grains

Bulgur wheat is one of the most underrated grains, but it’s oh-so versatile and packed with fibre. It’s a common Middle Eastern staple and comes in various sizes — from very fine (which is used for tabbouli) to coarse grind (which has a similar cook time to rice). If you’re looking for a creative way to give bulgur a try, this winter salad is the perfect recipe. It’s crunchy and nutty, with hints of sweetness and tartness from the pomegranate and lemon juice; and the parsley and green onion add freshness. It’s the ultimate balance of flavours and ready within minutes.

Bulgur salad in white bowl

Middle Eastern Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

Bulgur
¾ cup coarse bulgur wheat (makes 2 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ cups water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Salad
1 cup pomegranate seeds (roughly half a large pomegranate)
¾ cup slivered almonds (or whole or blanched almonds)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped parsley
¾ cup chopped green onions
½ cup crumbled feta (optional)

Dressing
3 Tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup pomegranate juice
Juice of 1 lemon (roughly ¼ cup)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Bulgur salad ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Wash and drain the bulgur. In a pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and washed bulgur. Saute for a few minutes to toast the bulgur.

Related: Fantastic Warm Salad Ideas to Enjoy Right Now

2. Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork when it is ready.

Bulgur cooking in pot

3. Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranate. You can do this by using your fingers or tapping the back of half the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to release the seeds.

Pomegranate seeds in bowl

4. In a pan on medium heat, toast the almonds in the olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until they turn golden brown. Remove immediately off the heat.|

Almonds roasting in pan

5. Chop the parsley and green onions.

6. Mix all the salad dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake well.

Salad dressing in jar

7. Assemble the salad by mixing all the ingredients except for the toasted almonds and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (You can also eat this salad warm!). Before serving, add the toasted almonds, mix well and enjoy.

Bulgur salad in white bowl

Like Amina’s bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad? Try her roasted cauliflower with tahini and curried Brussels sprouts.

roasted cauliflower with tahini

This Middle Eastern Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini is What Vegetarian Dreams Are Made Of

If you’re serving up a vegetarian side, don’t settle for boring. Take it up a notch with this easy recipe! Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to serve in the fall — and roasting it brings out its nutty and sweet flavour. It is typically mild in taste and can use some spices to jazz it up. In this recipe, it’s marinated in olive oil and warm Middle Eastern spices, then roasted to perfection. The key to roasting cauliflower is to use a high temperature so the outside can caramelize, while still maintaining a bit of a bite. But we’re not done yet. Serve this cauliflower with a luxurious drizzle of tahini sauce and garnish with parsley, cilantro or flaked almonds. Then just watch it disappear off the plate.

roasted cauliflower with tahini

Middle Eastern Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Cauliflower
1 large head of cauliflower or 2 small ones (roughly 600g without stems)
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt + more per preference

Tahini Drizzle
½ cup tahini paste
3 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
5-7 Tbsp water, per preference

Garnish
Handful of parsley or cilantro (optional)
Flaked almonds (optional)

roasted cauliflower with tahini ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash the cauliflower and pat dry using a paper towel. Trim off the ends and green stems. Cut into florets.

chunks of cauliflower on baking tray

2. Prepare the marinade by mixing together the olive oil, onion powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and salt.

roasted cauliflower with tahini marinade

3. On a large sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the marinade ensuring they are well coated. Do not overcrowd them on the pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until they are caramelized. Toss around halfway through baking time.

roasted cauliflower on baking tray

Related: How to Grow Fall Vegetables and What to Do With Them

4. Meanwhile prepare the tahini drizzle by mixing together the tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Whisk everything together using a fork. The tahini will thicken a lot and seize up and it will seem like it is ruined. However, keep whisking and gradually add water a few Tbsp at a time, until it becomes smooth again. Adjust the thickness of the sauce to your preference by adding more or less water.

white bowl filled with tahini

5. Take the cauliflower out of the oven and taste for salt. Add more if required while they are hot. Toss in lemon juice if you desire. Serve the cauliflower with the tahini sauce drizzled on top. Garnish with parsley, cilantro or almonds if using.

roasted cauliflower with tahini

Like Amina’s Middle Eastern roasted cauliflower recipe? Try her curried roasted Brussels sprouts.

No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread That Looks Fancy (But is Super Easy)

Trust us: This no-knead bread recipe will make you feel like a professional baker. The secret? It’s a super simple, fool-proof recipe that you really can’t mess up, unlike other breads out there. While it does require a bit of time to allow the dough to rise, all good things take time, right? After that, you’ll be off to the races. You can flavour this bread however you please, but we find the combination of our favourite Middle Eastern spice, za’atar, with salty kalamata olives is the perfect marriage of flavours. 

We chose spelt flour because that’s our preferred healthy flour of choice, but you can use a combination of whole- and unbleached-wheat flour, or AP flour. When made only with whole-grain, the bread will be dense, so we recommend combining a light or unbleached variety to give it airiness and levity. Now go impress yourself and your friends, and get baking!

Related: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Loaf (Bread Baking for Beginners)


No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Proofing Time: 6-18 hours
Bake Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups light spelt flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp za’atar
½ tsp dry active yeast
1 ½ cups room temperature water
¼ cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives

Directions:

1. Place dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, including the yeast.

2. Make a small well in the middle of the ingredients, and pour in the water. Mix slowly to incorporate, then fold in the olives. A shaggy dough will begin to form. Do not over-mix. 

Related: Conquer Brunch With This Make-Ahead Veggie Strata and Sourdough Bread

3. Once the dough mixture is shaggy, cover the bowl with a towel and let rest anywhere from 6-18 hours. The longer you wait, the better the dough.

4. After the resting period, the dough will have doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a large oven-safe pot with a tight lid into the oven. We prefer a dutch oven. Leave it there for 30 minutes. 

Related: How to Make Everything Garlic Bread Knots

6. While the dutch oven is heating up, take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured surface. The dough will be very sticky, so be generous with the flour. Begin to roll it into a ball, but remember, this is no-knead, so there is “no need” to start pounding it or folding it. Simply round it into a ball and leave it alone.

7. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover it with a towel and let sit for the remainder of the 30 minutes that your pot is heating up.

8. After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven (it will be hot so be careful!). Remove the lid and place a piece of parchment paper into the pot and drop the dough in. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

9. Once the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.

10. Then, take the freshly baked bread out of the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. You will be so impressed at how artisanal it looks, not to mention that you actually made it yourself, from scratch!

11. Enjoy with butter, ghee, olive oil or on its own.

Now that you’ve conquered bread from scratch, pair it with one of these healthy Middle Eastern recipes you’ll make on repeat.

Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

We love easy Middle Eastern dishes that look like you put a lot of effort into them when you didn’t, and this is one of them. If you’ve never cooked with sumac before, this is the perfect recipe to start. You can find it at most conventional grocery stores in the international aisle. It has a natural tangy, lemon flavour with a vibrant purple colour, that pairs really well with other citrus fruits, like roasted lemons. Roasting a lemon only amplifies the fruit’s juiciness and sweetness, transforming it into a little yellow flavour bomb. Topping the chicken with fresh herbs brightens the dish, while the date syrup rounds out the meal, and the toasty pecans add crunch. You’ll be greeted with a delectable combination of textures and flavours with every bite. Not to mention, this dinner staple is easy on the eyes, making it a reliable repeat when entertaining.

Related: One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Roasted Lemon Wedges & Pecans

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, squeezed
1 heaping Tbsp sumac
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp date syrup
½ tsp sea salt
1½ lbs chicken thighs (or 4 chicken thighs)
1 leek, diced or 1 red onion, quartered
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
½ cup pecans
Fresh parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Date syrup

Directions:

1. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, sumac, garlic, date syrup and sea salt in a big bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl, get it covered in marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes, if you have time.

2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In your roasting pan, scatter leeks around the bottom and place the chicken inside. Then scatter the lemon wedges around.

Related: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, add in the pecans to toast. Broil for 3-5 minutes to lightly crisp the chicken.

4. Take everything out and finish with a scatter of fresh cilantro or parsley and a big drizzle of date syrup.

For more ideas, these healthy Middle Eastern recipes are worth making on repeat. And for an on-theme dessert, might we suggest this halva ice cream cake (with a waffle cone crust!).

Middle Eastern Halva Ice Cream Cake with a Waffle Cone Crust

Halva (halawa) is a bitter-sweet Middle Eastern tahini confection with the rich flavours of sesame seeds and vanilla, sometimes jazzed up with rose water, pistachios, almonds, melted chocolate and more. Its crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it the ultimate addition to this sophisticated ice cream pie with a buttery waffle cone and oat crust.

The gently bitter notes of the halva, along with a few generous pinches of salt in the recipe’s crust and chocolate topping, balance this dessert’s sweetness for a sliceable ice cream cone that both adults and children will love.

Find halva in Middle Eastern grocery stores, in most international sections of large supermarkets or online.

Middle Eastern Halva and Chocolate Ice Cream Cone Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Halva Ice Cream Filling
1.5L vanilla ice cream
400g (from a 454g pkg) halva, any flavour, roughly chopped, divided  

Waffle Cone Crust
1 (199g) box waffle cones (approx. 8 large cones)
½ cup rolled oats
½ unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp fine-grain salt

Chocolate Shell
125g dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
⅛ tsp fine-grain salt

Directions:

Waffle Cone Crust
1. Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften slightly (not melt) while you prepare the crust.
2. Line an 8- or 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper on the bottom.
3. Break up waffle cones into a food processor. Add oats and pulverize until finely ground. Add melted butter and salt and blend until combined.
4. Press waffle cone mixture into the prepared springform pan and freeze while you prepare the filling.

Halva Ice Cream Filling
1. Working quickly, in a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, mix ice cream until soft enough (but not melted) to fold in two-thirds of the chopped halva.

2. Remove crust from the freezer and spread ice cream mixture on top, smoothing out. Transfer back to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 3 hours, before working on the chocolate topping.

Chocolate Shell and Serving
1. While making the chocolate shell, remove the ice cream cake from the freezer.
2. For the chocolate shell, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate, coconut oil and salt until liquefied.
3. When the springform pan has warmed enough to release, unhinge the pan and then place cake on a plate that you can fit in your freezer.
4. Working quickly, pour or drizzle over chocolate shell in a rustic pattern, allowing some of the chocolate to drip off the sides.

5. Before the chocolate sets, dot the top with the remaining one-third of the halva pieces.
6. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until very firm, about 4 hours. If not eating immediately, wrap frozen cake in foil to avoid freezer burn and store for up to 2 weeks.
7. To serve, slice cake using a very sharp chef’s knife and place on serving plates. Serve immediately.

Don’t stop there. We’ve rounded up 15 healthy Middle Eastern recipes you’ll make on repeat along with the top 10 Middle Eastern restaurants in Toronto right now.

This Loaded Hummus is Changing the Dip Game for Good

Carrots and hummus are a classic snack, but why not turn everyone’s favourite Middle Eastern dip into a meal!  We’ve loaded up our creamy hummus with the works to bring you an inspired meal that is visually stunning and devour-worthy.  This is a party and crowd-pleasing kind of dish, but it can also double as a simple weeknight dinner.  We’ve kept it vegetarian, but feel free to get creative and top it with homemade chicken shawarma, if you fancy.  Serve with warmed pita and thoroughly enjoy every bite.

Loaded Hummus Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Hummus:
3 cups cooked chickpeas
3/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cold water

Hard Boiled Eggs:
4 eggs
Water

Tabouli Salad:
2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped finely
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups diced cucumber
2 stalks of green onions, sliced finely
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Roasted Veggies:
1/2 cauliflower head, chopped into large florets
2 carrots, peeled and sliced in thick matchsticks, about 2 inches in length
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Steamy Beets:
3 beets, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Additional Toppings:
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, drizzled on top
1/2 tsp za’atar, sprinkled on top

Pita of choice to serve, warmed or toasted

Directions:

Hummus:
1. Place chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt in the food processor and blitz until pureed.
2. While the food processor is still running, gradually add water, about 2 Tbsp at a time, until a really creamy consistency starts to form.
3. If you would like your hummus to be even creamier, add more water.

Hard Boiled Eggs:
1. Place the eggs in a small pot and cover them fully with water, bring to a boil and continue the rolling boil for 1 minute.
2. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and let sit for 12 minutes.
3. Run the eggs under cold water and let cool completely before peeling.
4. Once peeled, slice two eggs into wedges and the other two into thick one-inch circles.

Tabouli Salad:
1. Prep all of the veggies and mix together in a bowl, pour lemon juice over and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine.

Roasted Veggies:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF . Prep the veggies, place them in a bowl, add in olive oil, granulated garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
2. Arrange the veggies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Don’t overcrowd the sheets, to ensure the veggies get nice and crisp.
3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the veggies brown slightly.

*The world is your oyster here, so feel free to also roast up eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and mushrooms, if you desire.

Steamy Beets:
1. Prep the beets and place them into a pot, add enough water so the beets are slightly covered but not submerged, turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and allow to steam for 15 minutes, until tender.
2. Pour apple cider vinegar over the beets and season with sea salt and pepper.

Assembly:
1. Once the hummus is ready, spoon it onto a platter or in a large bowl.
2. You can get as creative as you like here. You can assemble the toppings in layers, first with the roasted veggies, then the steamy beets, the tabouli on top of that, the hard-boiled eggs and then the additional toppings. You can also place each topping in little piles, rather than mixed together. We personally love getting a bite of all the ingredients, so we prefer to assemble in layers.
3. Serve with warmed pita and enjoy!

Craving more delicious good-for-you recipes? Here are 25 Healthy Weeknight Meals When You Have No Time.

This Healthy Israeli Stuffed Pita is a Sandwich Lover’s Dream

Israel is known for their delicious falafel sandwiches, hummus, tabbouleh and baba ganouj. But somehow, one of their staple street foods never made it big outside of Israel. The sabich is a sandwich layered with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, Israeli salad, hummus and pickles, then drizzled with tahini. It’s a vegetarian’s dream! The sabich sandwich is usually eaten for breakfast, but makes a delicious lunch or dinner, too.

Israeli Sabich Sandwich 


Prep Time
: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Sandwich
1/2 eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 pitas
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup prepared hummus
1 1/2 cups Israeli salad* (see recipe below)
2 Tbsp tahini
Pickled turnip

Israeli Salad
1 small tomato, finely diced
2 baby cucumbers, finely diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss eggplant with olive oil and salt, then place as a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake eggplant until tender and golden brown, about 40 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through cook time.
4. Mix all Israeli salad ingredients together in a bowl.
5. Divide hummus between pitas. Layer eggplant, hard-boiled egg, cabbage and Israeli salad over hummus. Drizzle with tahini.
6. Fold pita and enjoy as a sandwich. Serve with pickled turnip.

Craving more Middle Eastern cuisine? Here are 12 Incredible Foods You Need to Try in Israel.