Meatless Monday Greek Inspired Layered Salad and Layer Dip

This past weekend was a favorite Greek Festival.  The many foods of the Greeks are treasured favorites.  In discussing our weekend plans, a friend suggested this dip as the party starter or this Greek Inspired Seven Layer Salad as...

This past weekend was a favorite Greek Festival.  The many foods of the Greeks are treasured favorites.  In discussing our weekend plans, a friend suggested this dip as the party starter or this Greek Inspired Seven Layer Salad as a side. Both were so simple and so good.  The best thing, this was meatless and very flavorful.  I served this with carrots, celery and flat bread crackers.  You need a hefty vehicle for this layer dip.  Toasted Pita bread or a flat bread were also suggested.

Hummus as the Secret Ingredient:

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This Layer Dip starts with Hummus.  Of course I started with my homemade version with lots of lemon, garlic and a hint of cayenne.  I kept this hummus very thick as the base for this dip.  The recipe is below.

Greek Layered Dip

Order of Layers:

Hummus

Fresh Red pepper ( if using jarred roasted, dry off these peppers well ), medium dice

Cucumber ( suggested English cucumber and removing the seeds), medium dice

Black olives or Kalamata olives, sliced

Feta cheese, cubed

Dill as garnish, either fresh or dried

 

Humus:

Ingredients:

3 cans (15 ounces each)  Garbanzo Beans or Chick Peas, rinsed and drained

3 garlic cloves, peeled

Juice of two lemons

½ - ¾ cup tahini, sesame paste

½  - 1 teaspoon ground cumin – to taste

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, you can add more later, but it is tough to take out too much heat!

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ - 1 cup water ( I prefer to use Vegetable stock )

2 tablespoons olive oil, along with some for finishing and presentation

Fresh and finely chopped parsley for garnish

¼ teaspoon or less cayenne pepper if desired

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain the chick peas.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne and olive oil.
  3. Process until combined, adding in water or stock as needed. Starting with ½ cup.
  4. Work to get this hummus to the consistency you wish. Thinner for a sandwich spread, thicker as a dip.
  5. Store any leftover hummus in the fridge and enjoy within 2 – 3 days.

 

Greek Style 7 Layer Salad

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Layering Includes:

Hummus as the base

Spinach

Tzatziki sauce – a recipe follows

Black Olives

Tomatoes

Whole Chick Peas or Garbazo Beans ( you could use these out of the can or roast these for an added flavor and crunch to this salad )  A roasting recipe follows.

Feta Cheese

Greek Tzatziki Sauce

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This creamy white sauce is a staple in Greek fare.  Some have named it a Greek Salsa.   This is an easy appetizer served with fresh Pita Chips.  Or, as a side to the lemon potatoes.  Best when chilled at least 2 – 3 hours.  Will get thinner the longer it rests.

 

Ingredients:

 

16 ounces Greek yogurt

2 English cucumbers, peeled and de-seeded and then grated

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon juiced

3 – 5 cloves garlic, grated fine

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

*** Optional -- 4 – 8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled, or served on the side.

 

Directions:

  1. Use a cheese cloth to strain the yogurt over a bowl for 3 to 4 hours, until most of the water has drained.
  2. Press excess liquid out of the shredded cucumber. (I often lightly salt the grated cucumber and put in a colander to drain, then squeeze out the excess water.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and strained yogurt. Mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  4. Chill the mixture for 1 to 2 hours
  5. Some prefer to serve this with a chunk of feta cheese on the side over in this sauce.

 

Roasted Chick Peas

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Ingredients:

1 can chick peas, garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and dried.

Seasonings suggested: salt or garlic salt, pepper, cayenne pepper.  Season to taste.  Suggested amounts for seasoning:

¼   ½ teasopon garlic salt  and black pepper to one can of beans,

¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.
  3. Enjoy.  These are best made and enjoyed.  Left over, they can break a tooth!