Meze (small apps like spreads, dips, salads, and other veggie-centric plates) are the ultimate party pleaser and a highlight of Middle Eastern cuisine. When we found out Canadian-Israeli celebrity chef Eden Grinshpan, host of Cooking Channel’s Eden Eats and Food Network’s Top Chef Canada, opened a fast-casual restaurant in New York City inspired by her family roots and travels, we were all ears.

DEZ (short for desert) serves up chef-crafted salads, bowls, pita sandwiches, and a bevy of delish (and guilt-free) meze daily. Grinshpan shared some of her best recipes with us, so you can recreate her favorites at your next soirée.

Chimichurri Cauliflower Meze

(Serves 2 to 3)

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Sauce:

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon (rinds only)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rehydrated currants (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and then strained)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fried capers, for garnish
  • fresh dill, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Cut the cauliflower into florets and toss with the olive oil and salt; place in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes until golden and toasted. Remove and prepare the sauce.
  2. In a blender place the cilantro, parsley, garlic, and preserved lemon. Blend and slowly add in the oil.
  3. When all mixed together, remove from the blender and stir in the currants and the vinegar.
  4. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to taste. Top with the fried capers and garnish with the dill.

Harissa and Honey-Roasted Carrot Meze

(Serves 5 to 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds small carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or labneh
  • dukkah spice blend, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Mix the olive oil, honey, harissa, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Remove 2 tablespoons to reserve for garnish and toss the rest in the carrots.
  4. Lay carrots out in a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and slightly burnt on the edges.
  5. To plate, spread the yogurt or labneh on the bottom of a shallow bowl and gently lay the warm carrots on top. Drizzle over the rest of the harissa-honey mixture, then sprinkle on the dukkah.

Fire-Roasted Eggplant Meze

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

Za’atar Olive Oil:

  • 2 tablespoons za’atar spice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Garlicky Tahini:

  • 1 cup good quality raw tahini (like Soom and Seed + Mill)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • kosher salt, to taste

Eggplant Dip:

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/4 cup garlicky tahini
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon za’atar olive oil
  • pomegranate arils, for garnish
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • handful fresh mint leaves
  • pita bread or challah, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Make the za’atar olive oil by combining 2 tablespoons za’atar spice with extra-virgin olive oil and stir until blended.
  2. Make the garlicky tahini by combining tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, and salt in a bowl and mix together. The sauce will get to a very thick consistency, but fear not; this always happens. Keep adding water until it smooths out and becomes a lighter color. Tahini with the perfect consistency can fall through the tines of your fork, but not too easily. Check for seasoning; you may need more salt or lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Heat a grill (or grill pan) on high heat and score the skin of the eggplant. Place on grill for 30 minutes until the skin is black, deflated, is fully cooked, and has developed a smoky flavor, making sure to turn several times throughout. Let cool on a strainer so all the juices drip away.
  4. Once cooled, removed the skin from the eggplant meat and place in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the garlicky tahini, fresh lemon juice, and the kosher salt. Mix with a whisk until all is combined. You may need to add more garlicky tahini depending on the size of the eggplants.
  5. Place a cup full of the dip into a bowl, using your spoon to spread it so there is a well in the center. Drizzle around pomegranate molasses on top, then the za’atar olive oil. Sprinkle on pomegranate arils and garnish with leaves of fresh basil and fresh mint. Serve with warm pita bread or challah.

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(Photos via DEZ)