Middle eastern recipes that are big on flavor but easy to make

Middle eastern recipes that are big on flavor but easy to make

I love potatoes, so this wonderful dish would be a main course for me, but it also works as a side dish.

If you like heat, Batata Harra are spicy Middle Eastern roasted potatoes that are guaranteed to become your favorite way with potatoes! Harissa spices up roasted potatoes with a Middle Eastern twist for an exotic addition to breakfast, brunch, or meze spread. Not for the meek of palate, this dish is meant to be spicy -with both harissa and red chile flakes, no sriracha or hot sauce is needed!

Ottolenghi’s Favorite Potatoes: Spicy! Batata Harra

Batata harra (spicy potatoes) is a Lebanese and Syrian dish that Yokam Ottolenghi says is “probably his favorite way with potatoes”, especially with grilled fish, which sounded good to me! With fresh swordfish from the farmers market, my adaption of  Ottolenghi’s recipe was the perfect accompaniment to the meaty fish. Not a fish lover? Pop a plump organic chicken in the oven and roast the potatoes at the same time for a comforting no-hassle supper.

Harissa Over Sriracha

Instead of pul biber (Turkish flaked chile), I used a dried harissa spice mix and red chile flakes mixed with olive oil to coat buttery Yukon Gold Idaho® potatoes. Harissa is also available as a paste in tubes, jars, or cans; and, as far as fiery red condiments go, harissa is quickly replacing Sriracha as my absolute favorite. This Tunisian chile sauce is a fantastic way to spice up everything from meat to vegetables, couscous, roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, as a dip for bread … the list is truly endless. Tunisia is a Mediterranean country in north Africa, it is not a Middle Eastern country per se, but is part of the Arab World and has many cultural connections to the Middle East.

Spicy Middle Eastern Roasted Potatoes, {Batata Harra}, Harissa Roasted Potatoes

 

Ingredients

1 pound Idaho® Yukon Gold* potatoes unpeeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

3 large garlic cloves peeled, crushed and minced

1 teaspoon harissa

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 red pepper seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Grated zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for three minutes. Drain in a colander. Return the pot to the stove over a low flame. Add potatoes back to the pot in two batches to cook off any remaining moisture, stirring so the potatoes don’t stick. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Combine the two oils, 1/2 teaspoon of harissa and ground pepper, and drizzle over the potatoes. Stir gently to coat the potatoes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, spread the potatoes in a single layer. Put them in the oven to roast and, after 10 minutes, stir in the garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of harissa, chili flakes, red bell pepper and half of the cilantro.

3.Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and nicely browned. Stir once halfway through the cooking. Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Serve warm or at room temperature, adding the remaining cilantro just before serving.

Recipe Notes

*Red potatoes may be substituted for the Yukon Golds.

The Most Amazing Roasted Artichokes

The Most Amazing Roasted Artichokes

No kidding – this really is the best baked artichoke recipe ever. They’re easy to make, full of fresh flavor, and always a crowd favorite!

Since moving to Barcelona, our veggie bowl has mysteriously been stocked with fresh artichokes pretty much 24/7.

I’ll give you one guess who’s responsible for this. (Hint hint ??)

I’ve mentioned on here before that artichokes are by far and away Barclay’s favorite food. And ever since we discovered our favorite little fruit and veggie stand here that sells the absolute tastiest alcachofas — for a tiny fraction of the price we used to pay back in Kansas City — let’s just say that the owners of this shop now know my husband by name.

We are eating a million artichokes here!

That said, after a long history of steaming our artichokes — first on the stovetop, and then in the Instant Pot — I began feeling the need for a little variety in our (ahem, frequent) artichoke game happening here in Spain. So I challenged Barc to experiment with some various methods and seasonings for roasted artichokes. And now, dozens of alcachofas asadas later, we’ve both agreed that he’s landed upon a winner of a recipe.

 

ROASTED ARTICHOKE INGREDIENTS:

To make them, you only need a few simple ingredients:

  • Artichokes: Any variety will do! You can read my tutorial here on how to select, trim and store fresh artichokes. But in general, look for artichokes that have tightly-packed leaves, feel dense and heavy, and are a healthy green color (without too much browning).
  • Olive Oil: Or melted butter, you pick.
  • Garlic: The more, the merrier. Once it’s roasted, you can either eat it with your artichoke (my fave!) or stir it into your dipping sauce.
  • Fresh Herbs: We like to use lots of fresh rosemary in these, plus maybe an addition hint of fresh thyme, oregano, or sage, if you happen to have them on hand. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can sub in a generous pinch of Italian seasoning per artichoke.
  • Fresh Lemons: We’ll use lemons at three different points in this recipe, so be sure to have a few good ones on hand.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper: I recommend coarsely and — of course — freshly ground.

 

HOW TO MAKE ROASTED ARTICHOKES:

Don’t let these little guys intimidate you! They’re actually super simple to make. Here are the steps:

  1. Trim and prepare the fresh artichokes. Feel free to watch my video here for how to trim artichokes, if you’d like a better visual. But in general, you’ll want to:
    • Cut off the bottom of the stem and then top 1-inch of the top of the artichoke
    • Pluck off and discard any of the lowest leaves near the stem
    • Trim off the pointy tops of the artichoke leaves (if they’re pokey)
    • Slice the artichokes in half
    • Use a spoon to hollow out the “choke” in the middle of each artichoke half (see above)
    • Rub the entire artichoke half on all sides with a lemon wedge (to help prevent browning)
  2. Brush the artichokes with olive oil (or butter). Then place them cut-side-up in a baking dish, or on a baking sheet.
  3. Fill the artichoke cavities with garlic and herbs.  We recommend packing these as full as possible for maximum flavor. Then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Flip the artichokes over. Then brush again with olive oil, season once more with salt and pepper. And…
  5. Roast! First, uncovered for about 10 minutes, so that the edges can get browned and crispy. Then, remove the pan and cover loosely with foil, and let the artichokes continue to cook until they are tender. You will know that they are ready to go when the leaves pull off easily, and a knife can be smoothly inserted in the base of the stem. Cooking time will totally depend upon the size of your artichokes.
  6. Drizzle with lemon juice.  Once you pull the artichokes out of the oven, discard the herbs (or stir them into your dipping sauce for extra flavor). Give the artichokes one more squeeze of lemon juice, for good measure. And dig in!

 

HOW TO EAT ROASTED ARTICHOKES:

As I mentioned above, first remove and discard the herbs. Then you can decide what to do with the roasted garlic. I highly recommend just scooping it up with those leaves and eating it straight outta the artichokes. (Yum.)  But you’re welcome to stir it into your dipping sauce, or discard it if you would rather. Up to you.

Then to eat an artichoke, just peel off the leaves one by one, dip them in your sauce, and then use your teeth to scrape off the tender fleshy part on the underside of the leaves. As you make your way to the center of the artichoke, the leaves will begin to get softer and fleshier (<– ok, I know that sounds weird, but you get what I mean ?), and you will be able to eat most if not all of the leaves. Once you reach the bottom of the artichoke, pull out a knife and fork and cut up the base and stem of the artichoke, dip it in your sauce, and enjoy.

That said, both Barclay and I agree that these roasted artichokes are so flavorful on their own that they hardly need an additional dipping sauce! But hey, I’ll never turn down a little extra lemon and butter in my life.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 fresh artichokes
  • 2 large fresh lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly-chopped
  • fresh rosemary (plus additional fresh thyme, oregano, or sage, if you’d like)
  • coarse sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Use a knife to slice off the bottom 1/2-inch (or more, if you’d like) of the artichoke stems, and the top 1 inch of the artichoke globes (the leaves on top).  Remove and discard any small leaves toward the bottoms of the stems.  Rinse the artichokes with water.
  3. Slice the artichokes in half vertically.  Use a spoon to scoop out the fuzzy “choke” in the middle of the artichoke.  Then use kitchen shears to trim about 1/4/-inch off the pointy tips of each of the artichoke leaves (so that they don’t poke you when you eat them).  Rub a lemon wedge all over the entire surface of each artichoke half, to prevent browning.
  4. Place the artichoke halves in a baking dish or on a baking sheet cut-side-up.  Brush the cut sides of the artichokes evenly with the olive oil.  Then fill the cavities evenly with the garlic, followed by a few small sprigs of the fresh herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Flip the artichokes over, using the herbs to help hold in the garlic, so that they are cut-side-down.  Brush the tops of the artichokes with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Then remove and cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender and the leaves pull off easily.
  7. Place the tray on a cooling rack.  Carefully remove, discard the herbs (or stir them into your dipping sauce for extra flavor), and drizzle the artichokes with extra lemon juice.
  8. Serve the roasted artichokes warm with your desired dipping sauce.

 

NOTES

  • Lemony Melted Butter Sauce: I make mine with about 1 part melted butter, 1 part freshly-squeezed lemon juice, 1 part water, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Blender Hollandaise Sauce: This version is super easy.
  • Tzaziki Sauce: For a Mediterranean twist.
  • Pesto: Rich and delicious.  Feel free to mix in some Greek yogurt to make it creamy.
  • Mayo or Aioli: Always a win.

…or whatever sauce sounds good to you!

 

Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

If I had to pick a salad to define my life, it would be broccoli salad.

I’m not really sure what situation would require me to actually have to do that. But, HEY, everything is hypothetical.

Anyway.

Broccoli salad. Whether it’s an Asian healthy broccoli salad, a Greek healthy broccoli salad or even a healthy broccoli salad with cashew curry dressing, I will take a WHOLE BOWL PLEASE. Even if you add apples to make a Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad with Greek Yogurt I won’t be mad at you for adding fruit to my vegetables.

And this keto broccoli salad?

ALL THE SAME LOVIN’ FEELIN’S FOR THIS BOWL OF MINI TREES.

From the creamy swirls of muscle-buildin’ Greek yogurt goodness to the zesty lemon, tangy bursts of artichoke, the crunchy sunflower seeds, salty olives and those chewy sun-dried tomatoes, BURSTING with fresh, flavorful herbs, this little broccoli bowl is BANGIN’.

BANGIN’ for your taste buds, but also you’ll be BANGIN’ this recipe out of your kitchen in the sense that it’s SO quick and easy to make.

Bing-BANG-done, kinda thing.

You get it now.

It’s pretty much just a little chop, a little dice, a little stir-stir-stir, some good bonding time with the refrigerator to get the flavor action going and – WHAM- DONE.

Your ideal simple side dish? I’m gonna go with a HARD yes on that one. Especially if you serve it alongside Greek Healthy Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers!

Or, if quinoa isn’t you thing, maybe some Mediterranean grilled stuffed peppers?

It’s ALSO the kind of healthy broccoli salad recipe that turns you into the MVP of all potluck situations in your life AND all meal prep situations of your life because:

  1. You can EASILY double it to feed a crowd
  2. It tastes BETTER the next day, which makes it the ideal meal prep lunch scenario for the real-life-bored-of-eating-sandwiches-life that you live.

Internet friends. Letting this Mediterranean low carb broccoli salad sit is KEYKEYKEY to flavor development.

The broccoli florets sit back and SOAK IN all the creamy-dreamy lusciously-smooth Greek yogurt dressing, allowing all its zesty-herby-yummy flavor to seep into each and every nook and cranny of broccoli, instilling the most YUMMY Mediterranean flavors to this otherwise not-so-exciting vegetable.

It’s the kind of salad that you make with EVERY intention of being a super-awesome-prepared person and bringing it for lunch.

Then you try it and WHOA HOLD UP NOW. LIIKE, veggies so good it’s so UNEXPECTED.

So, you divide it up into fancy little meal-prep containers like the awesome-at-life person that I know you are. Only to go back and pick…pick…PICK at each little container until – WHOOPS – it’s all gone.

Alas. A sandwich again.

 

Ingredients

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 5 Cups Broccoli,, cut into small florets (380g)
  • 1/2 Cup Artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil,, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, , roughly chopped (75g) (oil squeezed out)
  • 1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata olives,, halved
  • 1/3 Cup Red onion,, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted salted sunflower seeds

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 Cups Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 4 1/2 tsp Monkfruit, (or granulated sweetener of choice)
  • 1 3/4 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fresh garlic,, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried ground basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together ALL of the salad ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the dressing ingredients,
  3. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight, so that broccoli can absorb the dressing and develop the flavor.
  4. DEVOUR!

 

 

 

Chow Dau Miu (Garlicky Stir-Fried Pea Sprouts)

Chow Dau Miu (Garlicky Stir-Fried Pea Sprouts)

Total: 20 mins           Servings: 4

 

This versatile recipe from Danielle Chang’s Lunar New Year Celebration works with most leafy greens — including bok choy and choy sum (blooming cabbage) — so choose the best ones on the market. Once it’s swirled into the garlic-scented oil, the fermented bean paste adds a layer of saltiness.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat a 12-to 14-inch wok over high. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and swirl to coat (oil should be very fragrant). Add 3 garlic cloves, and stir-fry until blistered in spots, about 30 seconds. Quickly add 2 teaspoons doenjang, half of the pea sprouts, and 1 tablespoon wine. Working quickly to prevent burning, stir-fry until pea sprouts reduce to about one-fourth of their original volume and become crisp-tender, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter. Do not wipe wok clean.

  • Repeat procedure with remaining oil, garlic, doenjang, pea sprouts, and wine. Serve immediately.

Notes

Find doenjang and Shaoxing wine at Chinese grocery stores or online.

Baby Bok Choy with Soy Sauce Reduction

Baby Bok Choy with Soy Sauce Reduction

If you’re looking for a tasty but healthy side dish that’s so easy to make look no further than the Asian Market. You’ll find all the ingredients you need at any Asian Market. All you need is Bok Choy and a few Asian staples such as soy and oyster sauces, sesame oil and seeds, and a few ingredients you more than likely already have in the pantry.

First of all if you’re wondering what Bok Choy is, it’s a vegetable that’s a type of Chinese Cabbage. It does grow in a round ball, it’s a stalk with large leaves on top.

It’s been cultivated in China since the 5th. Century AD. It’s pretty nutritious and keto friendly having only 2% carbs. It’s rich in vitamin A,C, and K. And it’s pretty darn good!

This is a great side dish with just about anything. But it goes perfect with any Asian dish like Salted Pepper Shrimp.

So grab some Bok Choy and let’s get cooking!

Baby Bok Choy with Soy Sauce Reduction

BABY BOK CHOY WITH SOY SAUCE REDUCTION

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 stalks baby Bok Choy, cut in vertical quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 Cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup oyster sauce
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • Sesame Seeds

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a deep pan.
  • Add garlic and cook about a minute. Keep stirring so garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Place Bok Choy in the pan and cook until leaves wilt and stalks start getting tender. About 5-6 minutes, be sure to keep turning stalks to avoid burning.
  • Meanwhile mix remaining ingredients except sesame seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Remove Bok Choy from pan and arrange in a serving dish.
  • Pour sauce mixture in pan and stir.
  • Increase heat to medium high and cook until sauce thickens a bit, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over Bok Choy, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.
Easy Chow Mein

Easy Chow Mein

Skip the takeout and make the BEST chow mein at home in less than 30 min! Perfectly crispy noodles with bok choy, mushrooms + bean sprouts!

We were ordering Chinese take-out from one of my favorite places. And all I really wanted was a giant bowl of chow mein with pan-fried noodles to that perfect crispness and crunch.

Except Ben says to me, “I think it’s lo mein that you want.” I was hesitant. I was 99% certain it was chow mein that I was looking for. He said, “Doesn’t the ‘chow’ in chow mein mean rice?”

I should have just stopped listening to him right there. Instead, I ordered the lo mein and I did not get my crispy noodles. And someone slept on the couch that night.

Easy Chow Mein - Skip the takeout and make the BEST chow mein at home in less than 30 min! Perfectly crispy noodles with bok choy, mushrooms + bean sprouts!

So in case you all are wondering, that is the key difference to chow mein versus lo mein. Chow mein noodles are fried to crispness while lo mein noodles are boiled to softness.

Both are great – but sometimes you just want those crispy noodles.

So after that mix up, I’ve been trying to perfect a homemade chow mein dish. You know, so I don’t have to constantly fight about chow mein versus lo mein with Ben.

Easy Chow Mein - Skip the takeout and make the BEST chow mein at home in less than 30 min! Perfectly crispy noodles with bok choy, mushrooms + bean sprouts!

And lo and behold, I think I’ve got it. This recipe here is created with the most perfect crispy noodles made with Hong Kong-style pan-fried noodles.

This can be found at your local Asian grocery store, and is usually sold parboiled so they can be used straight from the bag to pan without boiling them first, yielding that amazingly crisp firmness with soft, chewy spots throughout.

But if you can’t find them or they are not available, don’t worry. Fettuccine, linguine, or even ramen noodles (with the seasoning packet discarded) make for a handy substitute!

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 (16-ounce) package Hong Kong-style pan-fried noodles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 (3.5-ounce) package shiitake mushrooms
4 baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 cup mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and Sriracha; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add noodles and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes; set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in the skillet. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in bok choy until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in noodles and oyster sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts.
  5. Serve immediately.