Meze: Mediterranean Appetizers for Lunch

Meze-style lunch with stuffed grape leaves, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, hummus, and pita chips

Here I am in the middle of a California summer. It’s way too hot for a heated lunch. So today, my cold lunch alternative is meze.

“Meze” refers to a selection of appetizers commonly served in Middle Eastern countries. In predominantly Muslim regions, meze can be served as part of a multi-course meal. In Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans, meze is often served as a snack with alcoholic beverages.

Foods in a meze menu can include the following:

  • Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)
  • Sheep, goat, or cow cheeses
  • Kalamata olives
  • Pita or other breads
  • Cold vegetables (for example, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Grain salad (please see my post from last week for an excellent grain and legume salad)
  • Dips such as hummus, baba ghanoush (mashed eggplant), and tzatziki (yogurt dip)

These are just a few choices. You can find more listed on “Wikipedia” and other culinary resources. Or…just use your imagination. If it’s cold and edible, you can put anything into a meal like this!

I’ve fixed a Meze-style lunch several times for work. It’s easy to assemble, especially if you have access to a Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. Today, all of the ingredients you see in the above photo were purchased at Trader Joe’s. They are pre-made, pre-packaged, and can be dumped into your lunch bag with little preparation on your part.

If you access the Menu section, “Equipment and Gadgets,” my October 18, 2018 post features the lunch bag and plastic containers seen in the photo.

Reference:

  • “Meze”  Wikipedia:  The Free Encyclopedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  24 July 2019,.  Web.  26 July 2019.

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