9 Mediterranean recipes we loved in 2015
From couscous to shakshouka to kebabs, the Israeli Kitchen whipped up some of the region's best dishes this year.
It was a banner year for food in 2015, and we at the Israeli Kitchen channel want to acknowledge a few highlights – dishes that celebrate the best of the Mediterranean diet. We know this diet counts millions of people around the world as fans, and it's no secret why: it's full of protein- and fiber-rich fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables and olive oil, and it's been linked to a whole host of health benefits, from reduced risk of breast cancer to higher brain volume. Straight from the talented home cooks that comprise our Israeli Kitchen, here is a sampling of our favorite Mediterranean recipes of 2015.
Quinoa tabbouleh with mint tahini
Tabbouleh's usually made with bulgur (cracked wheat), but Israeli Kitchen chef Miriam Kresh likes to use quinoa for a slightly more assertive flavor. And assertive is what you get with this recipe, which uses mint in an unconventional yet totally sensible way.
Phyllo squares stuffed with zucchini and feta
This savory phyllo recipe makes a surprisingly satisfying lunch, served with fresh vegetable sticks and hummus. It’s also a nice appetizer, cut into squares. And it's one of our favorite uses for zucchini.
Jerusalem artichoke soup
Interestingly, a Jerusalem artichoke is not from Jerusalem and it's not an artichoke. It is a flavorful, starchy root vegetable that makes a lovely soup. Here's a homemade version of the dish served at acclaimed Israeli restaurant Eucalyptus.
Persian rice from Shaya
Thanks to James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya – whose eponymous modern Israeli restaurant in New Orleans was recently named America's best new restaurant by Esquire magazine – you don't have to eat out to enjoy this popular Persian rice dish with unique accoutrements and a zesty spice blend. Shaya himself gave us this recipe, and we invite you to give it a try.
Shakshouka – a traditional Mediterranean breakfast of eggs poached in tomato sauce and other vegetables – is best served with bread on the side for dipping. (Photo: NADKI/Shutterstock)
Shakshouka is one of those dishes that make breakfast worth waking up for. The aromas of simmering tomato sauce, the perfect blend of eggs, veggies and spices – it's no wonder we've brought you not one, not two, but four recipes for this popular Mediterranean dish on our site. Here's one you might think about whipping up for New Year's brunch.
Bulgur and freekah pilaf
You might see these grains used to stuff vegetables like mushrooms or artichokes. But here, they're used in combination to create a hearty whole-grain dish complemented by dried cranberries and nuts for a welcome crunch.
Grilled vegetable kebabs
These kebabs are perfect for the grilling crowd that's had its fill of fatty, heavy meats. But even for the fiercest carnivores among us, this vegetable kebab recipe is a welcome addition to the patio party spread, especially with a dash of Mediterranean za'atar.
Pumpkin couscous with browned sage butter
This recipe we featured this fall put a unique spin on Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, which is a larger variety of the typically tiny pasta. Paired with a buttery sauce and flavorful pumpkin, it's a hearty dish that works well as an appetizer or a side dish as part of the most impressive of Mediterranean spreads.
A Belgian-style falafel waffle with merguez, yogurt, pickled onion and parsley. (Photo: Arnold Gatilao/Flickr)
Did you know that every day is a holiday? No, really. There's National Hug a Dog Day, Short Girl Appreciation Day, Pi Day, Pie Day, National Pie Day, International Pie Day ... and our collective favorite, Waffle Day. In honor of the 2015 occurrence of this revered occasion, we discovered that you can make a waffle out of falafel – and it's absolutely delicious.
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