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Mediterranean Tacos

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My best good friend, Jackie, calls these her “Hook the Guy Pitas” because she gives them partial credit for hooking her own man when she came up with them on the fly using ingredients she had on hand when they were first dating.

Well, that may have worked for her (they’re still going strong more than ten years and four children later!), but mine could care less about anything that isn’t steak or spaghetti.  He’ll eat them, but I’m the one who got hooked on the pitas!  Without ever having tasted hers, I started making them in January after she shared her recipe with me, but she made sure to make them for us while we were visiting them in Texas, bless her heart.   Have you ever noticed how food prepared by someone else, especially someone you love, always tastes better, even if they made the same exact recipe that you did?

This is a pretty quick meal to throw together, and if you enjoy foods with a Middle-Eastern flare, I think you’ll like them too!

Mediterranean Tacos

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Mediterranean seasoning to taste*
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 diced tomato
1 cup hummus
1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
Creamy Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
1 package pita pockets or flat bread

Brown the hamburger with the onion over medium heat. When it is mostly cooked, add in the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning, and continue cooking until the veggies have softened but not completely died a cooking death. Stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. It will wilt a little while you prepare the pitas. Spread hummus on the inside of the pitas, then fill with meat mixture and top with tomato, feta and serve with creamy dill sauce.

Creamy dill sauce: 1/2 cup light miracle whip, 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk, 1 tsp dried dill, 2 tsp dried chives, 1 tsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix until blended–best if made in advance and refrigerated so the flavors can develop. If you use mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip, add in some sugar to cut the sourness.

Makes 8 tacos

Per taco (using half a whole wheat pita pocket): 292 calories; 12 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 20 g protein; 8 Points Plus

*I use 2 tablespoons of McCormicks Mediterranean Herb seasoning; Jaci uses 1/2 tablespoon Cavender’s.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Jackie H.

Danielle (my sister), Jaci, and I at a marsh in TX.



Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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This spicy vegan dip originates in Syria and I didn’t discover it until my friend, Pia, introduced me to it.  It’s her favorite dip and she recommended it to me when she found out I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine.  I knew it was right up our alley simply because it’s spicy, and since I’d seen some of the pomegranate syrup the recipe calls for at a market attached to our favorite Lebanese restaurant, I snapped a bottle up next time we were there and set out to make this dip.

It is great simply as a dip, but I’m also going to include a “recipe” for a veggie wrap that I’ve incorporated it into for quick lunches.  The first time I served this to my husband, he raved, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized he had eaten an entirely vegan meal with no complaints. Score!

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (12 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs — 1/2 cup (I turned pita bread into crumbs in the food processor)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses/syrup/concentrate
1 tablespoon sriracha hot chile sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop the peppers roughly and place them, along with all the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender. Pulse to roughly chop the ingredients, then slowly pulse in the olive oil. Try not to purée the ingredients too much. You want the dip to have a little texture.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as a dip or spread with pita wedges, vegetables or kebabs.

*Veronica’s notes: the original recipe calls for four fresh red peppers which you roast before processing.  Click the recipe source link below for instructions on this if you would like to do it this way.  The original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes instead of sriracha, so that can be used in place of sriracha if you desire.  As for the pomegranate syrup, my bottle is actually a pomegranate juice concentrate and I know that Pom is now selling this so you might be able to find it where Pom brand pomegranate juice is sold if you don’t have a market that sells ethnic foods in your area.

Recipe source: Inato lang Filipino Cuisine and More


Muhammara Veggie Wrap

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

You will need:

  • Muhammara
  • Black beans
  • Parsley
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Shredded carrots
  • Tortilla, flat bread, or pita bread*

Spread muhammara down the center of your tortilla or bread, then sprinkle on some beans, a little parsley, a handful of spinach and shredded carrots.  Wrap tightly and cut in half to serve.

*I used a pita “tortilla” for my wrap bread:

Recipe source: inspired by My Kitchen Adventures

***For those who wish to participate in BSI this week, don’t forget to submit your cream cheese recipes to me by Sunday night!  Details here.***

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