Friday, March 9, 2012

Tomato Salad and Cucumber Meze, Part of a Simple and Delicious 15-Minute Mezze Plate

OK, I'll admit it right off the bat... I picked the two quickest (and certainly the easiest), recipes in Food From Many Greek Kitchens for the March Mezze Madness theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I wanted low effort and I got it with the Tomato Salad (Tomatosalata) and the Cucumber Meze. Each of these light meze salads has 5 ingredients or less if you don't count salt and pepper, and they go together in minutes. Add grilled pita bread, hummus and a can of dolmades (I always have one or two in my pantry), and you have a pretty tasty little vegan mezze platter in under 15-minutes.

Do I feel guilty about not making the pita, hummus and dolmades for the platter? Nope. I actually have made my own dolmades before waaaay back in the olden days when I Heart Cooking Clubs was Tyler Florence Fridays. Delicious, but MUCH more effort than I was in the mood for this week. I did make a batch of hummus last weekend but I seem to have made it my condiment of choice on practically everything I have eaten this week and I devoured all of it. Thankfully, my co-op makes an excellent one. So after getting home late on a stormy Friday evening, all I had to do was pull a pita out of the freezer and heat up the grill pan while chopping up a couple of tomatoes and a cucumber, pitting a few olives and mixing up the salads while the bread grilled. Once on the plate, with a glass of white wine, it made for a delicious dinner.

Tessa says, “In Greece a whole big beautiful tomato could make a meal, as it’s so good on its own, just with a little salt and olive oil. A salad like this works well next to grilled foods."

Tomatosalata (Tomato Salad)
From Food From Many Greek Kitchens
(Serves 2-4)

2 1/2 lbs lovely ripe juicy tomatoes (about 6)
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

Cut the tomatoes into nice chunks. Put them into a bowl with the olives, capers and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the oregano over. Toss gently, and serve.

Tessa Kiros says, “This is extremely instant and extremely simple. The kind of thing you could eat a bucket of in summer. This recipe is easy to double, just reduce the olive oil slightly, using about 1 1/2 teaspoons."

Cucumber Meze
From Food From Many Greek Kitchens
(Serves 2)

7 oz cucumber (about 1), peeled and sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp dried mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 1 Tbsp olive oil

Put the cucumber and lemon juice into a bowl and crumble in the mint. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over just before serving.

Notes/Results: These salads are quick and easy and have good flavor, making them a great choice for a mezze plate. I pretty much made the salads as the recipe stated--no major changes. I did use a local organic cucumber so I left the skin on. I also lessened the olive oil in the Tomato Salad down by about half--it didn't need more than that. Much as I love my cucumbers--especially with lemon and mint, the tomato salad, with two large, ripe locally-grown tomatoes, won my heart with all of its capers and olives. Both recipes were so simple and tasty that I will make them again.

You can see the March Mezze Madness going on at I Heart Cooking Clubs by going to the post and following the links.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of the fabulous Joy the Baker Cookbook! You can find my review and the details of how to enter here.

Happy Weekend!


  1. fast and delicious, my kind of cooking, these meze look beautiful!

  2. Quick and easy and delicious is nothing to be ashamed of! Looks like a tasty platter to me!

  3. Everything about this looks delicious! I went through a phase of having dolmades in the pantry too - don't know why I stopped that!

  4. mouthwatering colorful salad , very perfect for this hot season,

  5. Deb - That is a gorgeous mezze platter.  So full of color and I love all the herbs on the veggies.  I would be so pleased to dig into any of it.  Awesome looking!

  6. Absolutely nothing wrong with picking two simple recipes...sometimes those are the best (obviously!). Seriously, that is a fantastic platter and I'd love to partake in it ;)  OPA!

  7. What a lovely platter, Deb.  This would be an awesome summer dinner.  How did I miss the tomato salad?  I mean, I've been through that book so many times!  Have to make that one. 

  8. Wonderful mezze platter! I am definitely craving that tomato salad - all the flavours are so you! 

  9. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Gorgeous platter, and no shame at all in adding a few store bought items.  Tessa is absolutely right about the Greek tomatoes - they are the best I've ever eaten anywhere, unlike our tomatoes here in New Zealand this year, which have been very disappointing after a rather lacklustre summer.   Still hope to be able to find enough good end of season tomatoes to give this a try.

  10. What a great meze plate and prepared only in 15 minutes! I'm surprised...
    Next time i have to try this when i get unsuspected visitors!

  11. I'm looking forward to making this plate for the next get together with friends. I really want those cucumbers right now though :)


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