This week I want to introduce you to, “meze”. If you are familiar with the concept of Spanish tapas, or small plates, then you will easily relate to meze which is the Greek equivalent. Meze is not a meal course, like an appetizer (though you could serve it that way), but rather a small plate that can be served alone or with other items. In other words: Greek party food. Last week, I was fooling around with a new recipe for an eggplant topping and came up with this delicious meze completely by accident.
I have this crazy European commercial oven that I affectionately call my, “Thermo Nuclear Oven,” because it cooks everything so much faster than any other oven I’ve used. I had intended to cook these vegetables just until soft and use them to create a sauce but I burnt them. Seriously, I pulled them out of the oven and the top was so charred that I had my hand on the trash can drawer just before having second thoughts. I thought, vinegar might cut through the burn and give me a nice charred flavor; I was right!
This spicy baked eggplant meze makes for a memorable party bite, with great depth and heat, thanks to the red pepper flake. I found some really tasty whole grain chips that offered a decent size portion in exchange for a serving of starch, and was able to sit down and enjoy this meze as an evening snack while watching a favorite TV show. While there was plenty to serve at a small gathering, don’t worry about eating it all at once. The next day I scooped this onto my scrambled eggs for breakfast. It would also be good atop a perfectly grilled chicken breast or paired with one of my favorite SlimGenics STEP Program recipes, Mediterranean Salad with Lentils.
I hope you enjoy my accident as much as I did. Opa!
Baked Eggplant Meze Ingredients
- 4 red bell peppers
- 6 cups eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 pounds)
- 4 cups assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6-8 large garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Morton® Lite Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut red bell peppers in half, scoop out and discard seeds and veins, and place peppers cut side down on a baking sheet coated lightly with olive oil. Lightly brush the peppers with olive oil, and season with a pinch of lite salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until peppers are softened and charred in places. Let cool, do not turn off oven.
In a large bowl, combine eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic. Toss to combine. Cut cooked peppers into one inch pieces and add to bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and pepper flake. Stir to combine well.
Spread mixture on a large sheet pan covered with foil and coated with olive oil. Cook in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until vegetables are charred in places and softened. Remove mixture from oven and transfer to large bowl. While hot, stir well to combine flavors and break down vegetables. Add apple cider vinegar and stir again.
Serve with fresh vegetables, on-plan crisps, or toasted bread. Also great as a topping on chicken, fish, tofu or scrambled eggs.
Makes 18 appetizer servings
If you enjoy this Greek dish, be sure to try our on-plan SlimGenics recipe for Gyros.