I had a great time talking the Mediterranean diet at Rollin Oats in September where I made and shared two dips. It was a large crowd which tells me that people are interested in the health benefits and flavors of this region of the world.

Wendy RO mediterranean.jpg

I made a new favorite dip called Muhammara which a friend and I had at Baba in St. Petersburg a few months back. I found a recipe online and adapted it for length omitting the bread crumbs, cheese and a few other ingredients. The flavors from the peppers and garlic in it are enough, I think, to be a completely vegan dip. Here is it:

2 red bell peppers
2 cloves of garlic
pinch salt
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup whole walnuts

Remove the seeds and stems from the bell peppers and slice into large chunks. Remove the garlic cloves from the bulb (leave the skin on) and rub peppers and garlic each with a little oil. Place peppers and garlic on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees and roast peppers and garlic for about 20-30 minutes or until very soft. Allow to cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic from their skins and place them into a food processor with the bell peppers. Include any oil or juice from the baking pan. Remove foil. Place the walnuts onto a dry baking pan and toast the walnuts in the hot oven for 3-5 minutes until they are hot but not burned. Allow to cool and place in walnuts in food processor.

Pulse all the ingredients in the food processor with a pinch of salt until a creamy dip is formed. If desired a bit of oil can be added to thin it out. Serve with pita bread or vegetable dippers.

My next recipe is a take on tabbouleh which uses cilantro and not parsley. Purists with cry foul but I have to say I prefer the fresh taste of cilantro in this and most folks I’ve served it to agree.

1 bunch cilantro or parsley, washed and dried
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup couscous or Bulgar wheat, cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch salt
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, chopped (or more)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Chill and serve with pita or vegetable dippers.