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TH Taste: Lebanese appetizers

In the February issue’s Taste department, Senior Editor Lori Moffatt writes about Central Market’s Cooking School, which offers classes in topics as diverse as Knife Skills 101 to Gluten-Free Baking. During Lori’s most recent class, a “pop-up” Lebanese dinner featuring London-based chef Anissa Helou, the class learned to make a variety of Lebanese appetizers, including a hummus made from butternut squash (instead of chick peas) and a white tabbouleh using cabbage instead of traditional parsley. Here are the adapted recipes.

Butternut Squash Hummus

(serves 6)

  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, steamed or microwaved until soft
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Sea saltParsley for garnish
  • A drizzle of olive oil

After the squash is soft and cool, cut in half, scoop out seeds, and peel. Place in food processor. Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and salt. Process until smooth.

Transfer the dip to a shallow serving bowl. Make a groove inside the outside rim of the bowl, and drizzle olive oil into the groove. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with flat bread.

White Tabbouleh

(serves 4-6)

  • 1/3 cup fine bulgur wheat (you can also use other grains, such as couscous, millet, or rice; prepare according to package directions)
  • 1 small white cabbage, outer leaves removed, shredded very fine
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bunches mint (about 2 cups), chopped
  • 14 ounces tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper (can substitute red chile flakes)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Rinse the bulgur in water. Drain and set aside to fluff up for about a half hour.

Place the cabbage, onion, mint, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the bulgur, lemon juice, and oil. Season with Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper. Serve.

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