Broad Beans Mezze | Salad of Broad Beans with Sea Salt and Black Pepper AND Broad Beans with Feta and Dill

Sometimes we forget that Simple is Better. I do say that a lot, because sometimes we forget. As I write Nigella Lawson is being savaged for her “too simple” new cookbook. It is difficult to understand – Jamie Oliver didn’t face the same criticism with his 30 Minute Meals, 15 Minute Meals, or meals with just 5 ingredients. But we really have become used to complicated food – Ottolenghi, for example. His beautiful food cannot be called simple. Master Chef dishes are mind bogglingly complex. We all want to be Iron Chefs.

I *love* to get back to basics. Simple food, simply cooked, banging with uncomplicated flavours where the ingredient shines. Grilled Peppers with Olive Oil. A plate of Olives. Crumbled Feta. Cucumbers with Rice Vinegar. Green Beans with Garlic. A plate of Spinach. Yoghurt with Cumin. Crusty Bread. Grilled Eggplants. Steamed Potatoes. The list goes on and on. So today, this is a reminder that salt and pepper is often all that is needed.

The recipe today is a Broad Bean Salad, simple style. We add a second salad that takes the minimalistic version and adds olive oil, lemon juice and feta. It too is delicious without being overly complicated.

Both are great additions to a tapas spread or a mezze plate. They even make a great afternoon snack.

Similar recipes include Simple Chickpea Salad, Simple Celery Salads, and Simple Cucumber Salad.

Other Broad Bean dishes to try are Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes. Our Salads are here. Or check our our collection of Early Spring recipes.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce

This Cauliflower dish is a take on a classic Israeli and Lebanese recipe in Ottolenghi and Tammi’s book Jerusalam. I have twisted it up just a little to suit us and our friends, but I have to tell you that this is a favourite dish in our circle. I love it partly because it is very quick to make if you roast the cauliflower. Ottolenghi deep fries it (and that is delicious) but often time is a real factor in this household. So the cauliflower is roasted when we need awesome dishes in quick-sticks time. We can get on with other things while the roasting happens. I have to say, though, that deep frying gives the cauli beautiful crispy exteriors and cooks the interior just enough to be amazing.

Tahini features in creative ways in Israel, in both simple eateries and upmarket restaurants. For these types of dishes, grab good tahini from your Middle Eastern grocers – you won’t go back to the supermarket shelves, and they have a smoothness not available in the Greek brands. Choose a light-coloured tahini made from hulled sesame seeds.

The tahini sauce, thick and wonderfully rich, is the focal point of this dish. I use about 3/4 of Ottolenghi’s sauce with the cauliflower, and the rest is put to use as dips and salad dressings. This dish fits perfectly in any mezze selection, makes a great substantial meal when served with fresh tomato salad and a warm pitta, or is an excellent side for many meals.

Similar dishes include Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts and PomegranateRoasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Cauliflower Slow Cooked with Lemon and Spices, Green Tahini Sauce, White Beans with Tahini, and Tahina Tarator.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and dishes where tahini features. Our dips and sauces are here. Explore our Israeli dishes, all of our wonderful Salads, and check out or Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Georgian Coriander and Walnut Sauce or Dip

Coriander and walnuts – who would have thought the zingy freshness of coriander would pair well with the earthy brown flavours of walnuts? It seems they do, with a plethora of recipes around for pastes and sauces containing the two ingredients.

This recipe is a little different than most. I first saw in The Guardian newspaper. It includes dried apricots. The sauce is both slightly sweet from the apricots, a little peppery and fragrant from the herbs with a pinch of heat from the chilli and, well, garlicky. This sweet, pungent sauce is a mainstay of Georgian national cuisine. It works beautifully as a marinade – try rubbing it on vegetables before baking or BBQing. Stir into cooked red beans. Marinate some tofu in it. Glaze cooked carrots with it. Put it in your soup. And it is rather good with roasted summer vegetables too. It is great included in your salad dressing. Spread it on your salad sandwiches. You will constantly find more and more ways to use this glorious paste.

My most favourite way to eat it is as a dip. It is non-traditional, but I have to let you into a secret. This is very good with some Middle Eastern flatbread. Put it on your next mezze or tapas plate.

According to Georgian legend, God took a supper break while creating the world. He became so involved with his meal that he inadvertently tripped over the high peaks of the Caucasus, spilling his food onto the land below. The land blessed by Heaven’s table scraps was Georgia.

Georgian of course refers to the country in the Caucasus rather than the southern U.S. state or the period of time when knights roamed England.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Coriander PasteZhoug, the Middle Eastern Coriander Paste and Dip, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney. Also similar is an Apricot Chutney that can be made with dried apricots.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander. Coriander Fritters are pretty good too.

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Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs | Dried Broad Bean Puree with Herbs | Dip, Spread or Soup

Dried Broad Beans are a great substitute for fresh broad beans once their season has finished. They don’t exactly taste like the fresh version, but are pretty good in their own right and make the smoooooothest divine puree.

The downside is that they need to be peeled before cooking. They say that dried, peeled Broad Beans (or Fava Beans) are available, even split ones, but I have been unsuccessful in my search for them. Thus it is necessary to soak the dried beans for 12 hours, then slip the peels from them, and only then put them on to cook. Not every recipe you see will tell you this trick – it seems to be rather a secret.

This recipe can be used for older fresh broad beans – the ones that have lost their green freshness and are now rather white, and for the dried variety. Either way, the individual beans will have to be peeled.

Are you looking for Broad Bean recipes? Try Umbrian Broad Bean Puree, Thirteen Treasure Happiness Soup, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

For our dried Broad Beans, we have Dried Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs and Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes.

Or perhaps you are looking for dips for your Mezza table? Try Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Zhug (Coriander – Chilli Puree), Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread, and Turkish Cacik.

You can find all of our Dips here, or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes. You might like to look through all of our Turkish dishes. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Fava Bean Puree With Dill and Olive Oil | Turkish Fava | Dried Broad Bean Puree

It seems that no matter how you cook broad beans, they need peeling. Except perhaps for the extremely young fresh beans, you need to get your long thumb nail working and peel that outer skin off of the individual beans.

This applies also to the dried beans. I have heard that you can buy pre-peeled, dried broad beans, but I have not been able to find them. So trust me, it is not worth cooking the dried beans without peeling first. The dried skin is like a suit of armour, hard and tough even when the inner flesh has boiled away to nothing.

To peel these little battle beans, cover with boiling water, and leave to soak for 12 hours, no less, and up to 24 hours. The peels may have split a little, allowing you to peel the skin off. Once peeled, you can cook them as desired.

This recipe is a Broad Bean Purée with Dill, a Turkish dish. Turkish Fava is made with Fava beans (broad beans), unlike the Greek Fava which is made with yellow split lentils. Confusing, I know, but how great diversity is! The purée is left to set, then unmoulded or cut into cubes. It is then drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and some fresh dill.

Are you looking for Broad Bean recipes? Try Broad Bean and Butter Bean Dip, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

For our dried Broad Beans, we have Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, and Dried Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Or perhaps you are looking for dips for your Mezza table? Try Broad Bean and Mint Puree, Green Tomato Salsa with CorianderRoasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Hummus, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Try some other Turkish dishes too. We recommend Beets in a Herbed Dressing, Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate Molasses, and Rose Petals and Yoghurt.

You can find all of our Dips here, or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes. You might like to look through all of our Turkish dishes. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Spicy Dried Okra Snack

I have fallen in love with okra and it is all my internet friend Jude’s fault – her love of okra got me checking them out at the supermarket and Asian grocers and thinking about recipes.

The season is nearly ended, I am guessing, so thoughts are turning to pickling Okra and to drying them. Some must be frozen as well. I am going to play with 2 or three ways to dry the okra, to see what we like best. I do have a dehydrator, but you can also dry okra in the sun, or in the oven.

Okra are easy to grow too, and drying okra is a great way to preserve an abundant crop. It also avoids the slimy nature of okra, definitely a plus. I have to be truthful and say that this is not a pretty item. But is it a light and crunchy snack with an amazing taste. They say it tastes of the garden and it is definitely more-ish. You have a great combination with some Dried Capsicum and Dried Okra.

In this recipe the okra is tossed with mustard or olive oil, salt and a little cayenne for a hint of spice. Select pods that are small – no larger than 6 – 8 cm. Larger okra can be stringy and tough.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or perhaps you are looking for dried items? Have a look at these: Dried Capsicum, Dried Mung Bean Nuggets, Sweet Potato Crisps, and Dried Mango.

You might like to browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Dried Vegetables. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Champignons Montagnard | Mushroom Savoy | Mushrooms and Tomatoes from Haute-Savoie in France

A rustic mountain dish from France

Perhaps not a pretty dish, there I said it. This is a rustic mountain dish from Haute Savoie, a region of France. It uses vinegar and lemon to add real tang to the mushrooms which are eaten cold – they go well with some excellent bread. In modern times it is great as part of an appetiser plate or part of a mezze/tapas style meal. The vinegar gives it the characteristics of a quick pickle or chutney, and it will pair well with other small dishes.

Are you after Mushroom dishes? Try Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms, and Mushroom Curry.

Perhaps you are looking for French recipes. Try French Cream of Pumpkin Soup, French Tomato Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes, and all of our French recipes too. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Babaganoush | Roasted Eggplant with Tahina

Suddenly the eggplants in the garden have found their mojo and are producing so many eggplants. It has me scrambling to find different ways to prepare them. Today they are grilled and the flesh is combined with tahini. It is another lovely mezze or tapas dish, or an any-time snack with flatbreads. You will love this. A take on Babaganoush, it is rich, smoky, and creamy.

You can grill/bake the eggplant in several ways. Cook it under the griller, turning often until the skin is blistered and blackened, and the flesh is soft. Or it can be cooked over a gas flame in the same way. But my favourite way is to grill it whole in a covered BBQ (grill) until the skin is blackened and the flesh collapsed. It is the easiest and quickest way at our place.

Are you looking for other Eggplant recipes? Try Eggplant Simmered in a Beautiful Broth, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts and Pita Chips, and Deep Fried Eggplant.

Is it Dip Recipes that you are looking for? Try Zhug – Coriander-Walnut Dip, Georgian Coriander, Apricot and Walnut Spread, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic SpreadTomato and Chilli Jam, and Tahina Tarator.

You can explore all of our Eggplant recipes here, and all of our Dips here. Browse the Middle Eastern recipes, or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Parsley and Barley Salad with Spiced Marinated Feta

A beautiful, fresh and light Salad

Oh how delightful this salad is! It feels healthy and green and very clarifying. It makes you feel so good as you are eating it. The recipe comes from Ottolenhi and Tamimi’s book Jerusalem.

Middle Eastern and Israeli dishes can be substantial and heavy and are accompanied by a sharp, fresh salad such as this one. The herbs and lemon juice cleanse the palate and give a certain sense of lightness. Serve it with other vegetable-based mezze dishes. I like to eat it on its own for lunch with some flatbread. This amount serves 4 – 5 as a side dish and 2 – 3 as a lunch with flatbread.

The flavours of garlic, olive oil, onion, lemon – flavour so familiar from the Middle East – are all there, accentuated by za’atar – and the flavours are carried by the beautiful green tastes of parsley and green capsicum. A delightful, balanced dish.

Are you looking for similar Barley recipes? Try this wonderful Mediterranean Barley Salad with Crispy Tofu, or  Farmhouse Barley and Vegetable Soup, Barley and Red Kidney Beans, and Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley.

Or try some Ottolenghi recipes – Roasted Eggplant with a Garlic Sauce, Du Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin, and Smashed Garlic and Cucumber Salad.

We even have Parsley recipes for you. Chickpea “Tabbouleh”, Greek style Salsa Verde and Parsley Braised with Tomatoes.

You might like to browse other Parsley recipes here and here, other Barley recipes and other Ottolenghi recipes. Try our Middle Eastern recipes here and here, or explore our collection of easy Spring dishes here and here.

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Cheese and Eggplant Torte | Cheesy Eggplant Layers

Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.

Eggplant is so flexible, and very variation tastes so good. You can bake it, simmer it, stuff it, crumb it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, roast it, saute it and deep fry it. I hope you try some of these recipes.

It makes great Indian style Chutney, Curries, Salads, Fritters, Pasta Sauces, Rice dishes, and gentle dishes.

As well as all of these Eggplant recipes, you might like to also browse our Italian recipes and our easy Late Summer dishes.

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Green Peppers in Yoghurt

The Middle East has a variety of flavours and dishes that are amazing and under-explored in other countries. And yoghurt, one of my favourite food stuffs, features strongly there as it does in India. The recipes using yoghurt are often simple – take a vegetable, some yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and some spices, mix and serve.

Traditionally it is used as a pre-dinner snack or appetiser, generally served with pita bread., but you can use any flat bread. We get a great Afghan flatbread cooked fresh on the tandoor from our local shop, and it is amazing.

You can use the Green Peppers in Yoghurt as you might use a salad. If you use thick, drained yoghurt they can be used as a dip or spread, or it can be used as a sauce or dressing.

If you are looking for other Middle Eastern dishes, try Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce, Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze, Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.

Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes.

Explore all of our Capsicum dishes, our Middle Eastern dishes and all of our Salads are here. Our Dips are here if you are after dips and sauces. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip

A versatile and delicious dip.

This is a dip from the North of Africa, delicious as part of tapas or a mezze plate. It can also be thinned slightly and used as a mash as part of a main meal. Wonderful as part of a vegetarian BBQ. Use as a dip with Turkish or Pita bread, even Olive bread.

If you are looking for carrot recipes, please browse here and here. Or are you looking for dip recipes here and here? Our favourites are Roasted Carrot and Apple Soup, Thick Yoghurt Dip, and Haydari. Perhaps some Moroccan recipes here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Cacik | Turkish Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze

Cool off in hot weather with a classic yoghurt dip from Turkey.

Cacik is a wonderful dish, cooling in summer and endlessly versatile. It can be made very thick with thick thick yoghurt to serve as a dip or along side curries, rice dishes and pastry dishes. Make it with ordinary yoghurt as a sauce to drizzle over vegetables or salads or some filo pastry dish. Or make it thin with some ice cold water and eat as a soup.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs, and Green peppers in yoghurt.

Here we love yoghurt, so there is quite a collection of yoghurt recipes, including drinks, dips, raitas, yoghurt curries and salad dressings. I hope something inspires you there. Or our Dips are here, Turkish dishes here and Middle Eastern recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.

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Hummus | Middle Eastern Chickpea Dip

Middle Eastern deliciousness in a chickpea dip

Hummus, that amazing, wonderful puree of chickpeas and sesame seeds, an amazing spread and dip, ubiquitous in the Middle East. Is there anything better than sitting down to a meal of hummus and flatbread?

I prefer mine made the old fashioned way, with chickpeas soaked and cooked to a heavenly tenderness before being whizzed into that heavenly concoction called hummus. To make the whole process quicker, soak and cook chickpeas beforehand, whenever you have the time, and pop them in ziplock bags into the freezer. When you want hummus, defrost them and whizz them up with garlic and tahini.

But sometimes an emergency solution is required. At these times, use a tin of chickpeas or butter beans. Or mix the two.

Are you after chickpea recipes? Try Smashed Chickpeas with Broccoli, Baked Chickpeas, and Channa Sundal. You might even like some Falafel with the hummus.

Or is it Dips that you are after. Try Babaganoush, Zhug (Coriander and Chilli Dip), and Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip.

You might like to browse all of our Dips and all of our Chickpea recipes. Explore our Middle Eastern recipes. Or take some time and browse our Mid Spring recipes.

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