Mediterranean Plate: Hummus, Tabbouleh, Kopanisti, Grilled Eggplant

It’s hot, it’s humid and I don’t want to eat a really heavy dinner. I was flipping through Kim O’Donnel’s ‘Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook’ when I came across this Mediterranean snack plate. I loved the idea of noshing on lots of fresh ingredients on a hot summer night. Everything was delicious — particularly this kopanisti sauce. It’s feta cheese whipped together roasted red peppers and spices. Um, delicious! I could see it being drizzled on falafel, sandwiches, wraps and other fun summer sandwiches.

2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T. fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1/8-1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8-1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

3 plum tomatoes
3/4 cup bulghur wheat
4 cups fresh parsley
6 scallions
1/2 cup lemon from 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup feta
1 jar of roasted red peppers (or you can roast one yourself, I just happened to have this open)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

grilled eggplant
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
salt, for leaching

1. Pour chickpeas into a food processor. Add parsley, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper. Process ingredients for about 30 seconds, or until it looks like paste.
2. Add olive oil and process until completely combined. It will be thick and not very runny like the hummus you might buy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to serving bowl and set aside. Rinse out bowl of food processor.

1. Cover bulgur with water and let soak for 20 minutes – 1 hour (depending on the type you buy. Read those instructions). Bulgur will soak up water and expand, add more water to cover and let sit while you prep the rest.
2. Slice tomatoes lengthwise, remove seeds and dice. Place in large bowl.
3. Wash and dry parsley (and mint if using) thoroughly. Separate parlsey from leaves and and chop finely (and mint if using). Place herbs on top of tomatoes.
4. Thoroughly drain water from bulgur, then spread on top of herbs like a blanket. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
5. Meanwhile, wash, dry and slice of roots of scallions. Chop finely. Place in small bowl and add lemon juice.
6. When ready to serve tabbouleh, incorporate scallion mixture to bulgur mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add oil and salt. Salt and pepper to taste.

1. In bowl of food processor, process feta for 1 minute, until somewhat whipped. Scrape down sides of bowl and process for another minute.
2. Add roasted red pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Process until well blended. The color will be a burnt orange.
3. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the frige but serve at room temperature

grilled eggplant
1. Heat grill plan, grill or preheat oven to 400
2. Place sliced eggplant onto one flat layer. Sprinkle with salt to help release the water content. Allow to leach for 15 minutes. When don, pat eggplant dry with paper towel.
3. Grill pan/grill: Lightly brush eggplant with olive oil. Place eggplant slices on grill and cook 7-10 mins per side
3a. Grease two baking sheets, place eggplant rounds on single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, remove from oven and flip. Roast on other side for another 10 minutes.

Put it all on a plate and serve! Voila!

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