Mediterranean Mezze Dip

In our early dating days, my soon-to-be husband had to take a trip to Canada. His flight home was going to arrive very early, but I agreed to pick him up when he returned and promised I would make him breakfast. Mornings were not my strong point, and even though I meant to be there, I soundly slept through my alarm. I arrived quite late, profusely apologetic, and of course, way past time to make breakfast. 

Hoping to gloss over this and make it up to him, I drove straight to McDonald’s. Thirty-eight years and plenty of homemade meals (What’s that saying? Over 99 Billion Served?) later, I have not lived this down. “Remember that time you made me breakfast?” is our code for things that don’t go as planned. Or to put it more succinctly, it means “I know you said you were going to cook, but now I realize you aren’t.” Sometimes, it just happens.

Turns out men need to eat. Quite frequently. (I know this is not what The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands is about, but it really should have been.) Whereas we women can get by on a handful of nuts and call it good, they need a sandwich. Or a burger.  And it needs to come with a side of some kind – some chips, some fries, or at least a side salad. Your end of the Constant Feeding Agreement is so serious, I think they should put something a little more explanatory into those wedding vows. “To have, to hold, to feed,” would be better. Or at least a little warning or disclaimer of some sort.

Left to their own devices, a man will forage fridge, freezer, and pantry trying to drum up something of their own, most often chips and salsa. I try to hedge against this by keeping some cut up veggies in a clear glass container at eye level in the fridge, hoping to sway things in a more favorable direction. Or try to bolster that salsa by adding black beans, fire-roasted corn and some chunks of avocado or a few dollops of Greek yogurt. 

It also helps to have some things that are ready to eat – MREs (Meals Ready-to Eat), so a guy can feed himself. I freeze single portions of soup, casseroles, pasta and anything that can be quickly reheated. Think: if it was good for dinner, it will be even better for lunch! 

Generally, I have a plan of some sort for most meals. But I’m not perfect about this, and even if I was, I think some meals are best left to chance. I like to let some meals just loosely happen, materializing out of what’s at hand. For others, there’s the element of surprise, like Saturday night pizza, but on a weeknight. Too much planning takes all of the mystique out of it. Some meals are best left to the whims of the moment. 

The plan for tonight is: “Since the lower level of the dishwasher is full, what can we eat without plates?” This Mediterranean Mezze Dip lets you do just that. Spread creamy hummus quickly onto a serving plate, then tumble juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, briny olives and feta over the top. Scoop with pita chips, flatbread, or fresh veggie dippers. It’s light and healthy, but filling just the same, plus there’s no need for dishes or utensils. (It can also be made ahead for a MRE.) 

It’s an appetizer. It’s an entrée. A fancy lunch. A car snack. (Transport this in one of those large, rectangular, lidded food containers like the kind you use for your holiday cookies. It will arrive perfect for your tailgate.)  It’s a meal for two, or a dinner for one. It’s there when you just need something to eat and you don’t feel like cooking. Like tonight. You can make a meal of this on its own, or add on as you like if you need a little something more. Make it more Mediterranean with added artichokes, marinated peppers, tzatziki, dolma (stuffed grape leaves) or halloumi. Add extra protein with chicken skewers, mini meatballs, or falafel. No matter what you do, don’t forget to add veggies.

During the endless litany of  meals you prepare, remember this: every time you feed someone, you love them.  

Mediterranean Mezze Dip

  • 1 tub hummus
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mini tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pita chips, flatbread, fresh veggies for dipping 

Spread hummus onto a serving platter or plate. Evenly distribute sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and olives over the hummus. Sprinkle with crumbed feta cheese and chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and finish with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with pita chips, flatbread and fresh veggies alongside for dipping. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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