Middle Eastern idea factory vol.1

I might’ve already given a hint in my introduction about the fact that I just L O V E Middle Eastern spices, such as Sumac and Cumin as well as all the amazing spice mixtures like Ras El Hanout and Za’atar, so I figured out I might already propose you some ideas about where to use these. I think I’ll write an own post about these spices later because they definitely deserve one.

But for now, let’s get started with a spicy lunch idea –

Moroccan spiced lentil and sweet red pepper soup

Serves one

What you will need:

1 large sweet red Israeli pepper (if you don’t find these, a regular red pepper will be just fine)

1dl red lentils

1 250g can of chopped tomato

1 small/medium yellow onion

1 tbsp Ras El Hanout

salt to taste if needed

fresh coriander or sprouts, sesame seeds and yogurt to serve with

How to do it?

  • Rinse and cook the lentils according to package instructions. Meanwhile, chop the red pepper and onion into small bites.
  • When the lentils are ready, reduce heat, add the canned tomato, onion and red pepper and cover. After a while, add the spice and cover again. Let simmer until the bell pepper and onion are soft, this will take about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and puree the soup with a stick blender, taste and add the desired amount of salt – a pinch will be enough.
  • Serve with fresh coriander, sesame seeds and your choice of thick yogurt (Greek, Turkish or Coyo for vegan options).

Paired with for example toasted wholegrain bread and mashed avocado, this soup will be a very satisfying and easy lunch. It tastes excellent also as chilled with some fresh mint and lemon juice.

– and end with an equally spiced up dinner of course:

Juicy green burgers

Serves one

What you will need:

about 1 half of a zucchini

about 1/3 of a broccoli head

1 egg OR 1 “flax egg” (1tbsp ground flaxseed + 3tbsp water)

a big handful of fresh coriander

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 big tsp Za’atar

How to do it?

  • If using a flax egg, start by mixing flaxseeds with water and place the mixture in the fridge to sit for around 15mins.
  • In the meanwhile, the broccoli and steam until softened and vibrant green.
  • Chop the (raw) zucchini and add it into your food processor or other kitchen tool that you are going to use.
  • Add in fresh coriander, lemon juice and Za’atar. By now, your broccoli is probably ready so you can add that one in as well after it has cooled down a bit.
  • Process the mixture until almost smooth but leave some crunchy bites in the “dough”.
  • Finally, add the egg to the mixture and just blend it in with a fork.
  • Cook the green cakes on the pan with a little olive oil from both sides until golden brown. It is easier to make four smaller cakes but you can also make two bigger burgers of these.

Purple butterbean dip

What you will need:

1 can of pre-cooked butter beans (400g undrained weight)

1/2 small red onion

1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil

1 big tsp Sumac

sea salt

sesame seeds to serve/decorate

How to do it?

  • Rinse the butterbeans well and then place into a mixing dish.
  • Chop the red onion and add it with the beans. Add also sesame oil and Sumac.
  • Process with a stick blender until smooth and add some sea salt. If you have a salt grinder, about 4-5 “turns” will be enough.

Serve with for example the green burgers above or fresly baked falafels and salad.

You can store the dip in the fridge for a couple of days but I bet you won’t have any left by that time!

xx a

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