Greek Mezes with Raw Veggies

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As promised, and without further ado, I have a couple of Greek recipes for you. In Greece they have this wonderful tradition of mezes, which are little servings of various dips, sauces, veggies, etc. They’re like what tapas are to the Spanish; a way to socialize, hang out with friends, have a few beers and snack a bit, but a bit different, they are Greek you know. Mezes are traditionally 20 dishes, mostly vegetable based, but they do have a bit of meat and seafood in there too.

Out of pure respect for the Greeks I just brought you 2 of the 20, I don’t want to make them look bad ;). The first recipe, which is a fava bean puree, was something I had one night in Greece and I loved it’s simplicity, it was really like a blank canvas, lending itself to be ‘painted’ on to suit your taste buds best. It was a fantastic electric yellow with pops of color from the chopped pepper garnish, which I have shamelessly copied. However we do not have yellow fava beans here in Italy, so I had to use the green ones and once cooked and pureed they turn brown, honestly not making it so pretty as the one I had in Greece, but definitely just as good, if not better (because it has some kick to it)!

Next up is the tzatziki, a Greek staple at any noshing time, of course not vegan though. Before I take any credit for this recipe, as I only added in the lemon and salt, I have to say that this is my husband’s recipe (kudos for Lucio). It’s wonderful creamy consistency and refreshing dill and cucumber makes this great for dipping raw veggies and staying cool as the temperatures start to rise.

Fava Bean Puree

Yield: 3 c.

Ingredients:

fava beans (dried or frozen)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. salt

5 sun dried tomatoes (halves- they’re normally sold cut in halves here)

bunch of basil

bunch of cilantro

5 small chili peppers

2 Tbs tahini

1 Tbs lemon juice

Water to thin out

* add in whatever whets your whistle, spices, other herbs, etc.

** by bunch I mean about a handful. I know this is not very precise but you can always start off with a little and add in more until you get it to how you like it.

Directions:

1. If you are using dried fava beans, soak overnight and then boil. I soaked them overnight and then used a pressure cooker (for the first time ever!) and let them cook for 20 minutes. If you are using frozen, follow the directions on the package. Don’t throw out the cooking water!

2. Put the cooked fava beans in a food processor. Add in the cooking water, you really have to eyeball this to get it to the right consistency, I added in about 1 cup of water. Blend them well before adding in the other ingredients.

3. Once they are pureed, add in all the other ingredients, scraping the sides every now and then.

4. To garnish: chop up a little bit of red and yellow bell peppers and sprinkle on top.

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Tzatziki

Yield:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. Soy yogurt

2 Tbs fresh dill

1/2 large cucumber

2 Tbs lemon

1 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Peel the cucumber and dice it into fairly small cubes.

2. Chop the dill finely.

3. Add the cucumber, dill and other ingredients to the yogurt.

Use whatever fresh veggies you have in the fridge and start dipping!

Buon appetito!

AS

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