Middle Eastern mezze

Last February, we embarked on a plan to reduce our meat intake (for environmental reasons as much as to save money), by going veggie Monday to Friday.

Results were mixed, but one thing we discovered was a tasty and low-effort dinner inspired by the creations at Eat-a-Pitta (on Gloucester Road in Bristol, near to where we were living at the time). This comes in at around £5 and serves two.

It requires:

  • 4 wholemeal pittas, toasted (49p/6pk)
  • 1 x Moroccan-spiced houmous (£1.10p/200g)
  • 1 x tzatziki (£1.10/200g)
  • 1 pack Granose Falafel Mix (£1.49)
  • 1 whole cauliflower, leaves removed (£1)
  • 1 small red onion, shredded (<20p)
  • 1 carrot, grated (<20p)
  • 1tsp sumac
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon juice (bottled will do)

The falafels are simple, requiring only water and a hot oven (far healthier than deep-fried equivalents, and equally crunchy if sprayed with Fry-Lite). They’re rather bready and I could probably make more faithful falafels cheaply, but I was aiming for ease. Big tick.

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The jewel in the crown, however, is a whole roasted sumac cauliflower, off which you can hack tasty chunks.

If you’re not familiar with sumac, it’s a dark red, intensely lemony spice that’s used in many Middle Eastern cuisines. Here it’s mixed with cumin, salt flakes and olive oil, then smeared across the cauliflower.

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Roast it in the oven at 190C/375F for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of your veg). If your oven runs hot, turn it down during cooking to prevent the cauli going too dark. Just before serving, sprinkle it with a little more olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice.

The houmous and tzatziki you can simply plonk on the table. I sprinkled the houmous with more sumac, for an extra layer of flavour.

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The leftovers will be paired with the last couple of pittas from the pack (or carrot sticks, if you’re bread-averse) for mid-morning munchies – yum!

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