Mezze platters were the OG to the now ubiquitous charcuterie boards. They are a collection of small bites eaten as an appetizer before a meal or as a small meal by itself. To show you how to make a mezze platter paleo, I’ve got a new recipe for both a grain-free tabbouleh and dairy-free tzaziki.
How to Make Mezze Dishes Paleo-Friendly
For those eating paleo or other grain-free diets, this version of mezze is for you. Typically, a mezze platter has several dips and spreads, salads and pita bread. But in order to make this mezze platter fit the paleo lifestyle (and Whole30 if you’re currently doing a round) I have omitted all grains, beans and dairy. Tabbouleh is a very common salad served as part of a mezze platter. Hummus and tzatziki or other yogurt-based dips are typical partners to the pita bread. However, since vegetables are a large part of the Mediterranean diet, it makes sense to include many and use instead of pita bread.
How to Make Tabbouleh Paleo
Tabbouleh is typically made with couscous or for those who are gluten-intolerant, quinoa is used. However, to avoid all grains, I found using finely chopped carrots and sunflower seeds mimics the texture. Lots of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and parsley really bring it to life and bring the balance to the sweet carrots and earthy seeds. You can also use finely grated cauliflower in place of the carrots and seeds.
Whole30 and Paleo Friendly Tzaziki
Tzaziki is a yogurt based dip that offers a creamy counterpart to earthy hummus and sweet tabbouleh. But how do you make it when you’re not eating dairy? Easy, use Forager or any other dairy free yogurt. If you are on a round of Whole30, make sure all ingredients listed are Whole30 friendly. (Some include rice or corn starch or even carrageenan which are not Whole30 approved.)
Hummus is chickpea based, so for those who follow the paleo lifestyle or are doing a round of Original Whole30, regular hummus is out. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are every bit as good. I have created a bean-free hummus here, or if you love eggplant, you could make Baba Ganoush as a smoky alternative. Both have the same flavoring agents as hummus and no one I’ve served it to could tell the difference until I told them.
Will this Mezze Platter work with the New Plant-Based Whole30 Program?
Short answer…yes! Simply make your hummus (or buy it) with chickpeas instead of vegetables. On the plant-based Whole30, beans are a primary protein source. Original Whole30 still does not allow beans or legumes of any type and the two versions are not meant to be mixed.
How to Serve Mezze Platter Paleo Style
As I mentioned, using vegetables to replace pita bread makes this an equally filling, but paleo and Whole30-friendly meal. Serve a variety of colorful vegetables such as baby bell peppers, cucumbers and radishes. They can be raw or cooked. Roasted red peppers drenched in extra virgin olive oil are great. Also include olives of different colors and maybe some pickles. Use my quick-pickled veggie recipe for inspiration or buy at the store. Finally, if you want bread and are not doing either type of Whole30, try this Simple Mills Mix that makes two small flatbreads and tastes amazing.
How to Make a Mezze Platter Paleo Style
- Carrot Tabbouleh
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 lb carrots, washed and peeled or 1 lb cauliflower
1 bunch parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds, optional
sea salt to taste
- Spicy Tzaziki
1/2 cup Dairy-Free yogurt (I love Kite Hill)
1 Persian Cucumber
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
sea salt and black pepper to taste
- To Serve
Flatbread or large lettuce leaves
Mixed olives (buy good quality olives)
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced, optional
Roasted peppers, optional
Grilled vegetables, optional
Raw vegetables, optional
- Carrot Tabbouleh
- Using a food processor with chopping blade, run the carrots or cauliflower through to produce pieces the size of couscous. (Alternatively you can use the smallest holes on a grater but it will have a little different texture, more like angel-hair coleslaw.) Wipe out processor and set aside.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix with the green onions, lemon juice, chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil and sunflower seeds if using. Season to taste with salt.
- Spicy Tzaziki
- Grate or finely chop the cucumber, toss with salt and sit in a colander over a bowl for ten minutes. Squeeze cucumber dry with paper towels. Mix the cucumber and all remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.
- To Serve
- Transfer the tabbouleh, hummus and yogurt to decorative serving bowls. Surround them with any of the optional accompaniments you are using.
- To find high-quality olives, look for those in jars or at an olive bar usually located in the deli area. Sea-salt brined or dry-cured are best. But kalamata olives, though they contain vinegar are tasty, too, and if in a jar are good quality.
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