Falafel, hummus, vegetables cooked in the tagine and who can forget couscous… I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, though I’ve never actually been to the Middle East. In Arab cuisine, every meal is a feast and there’s always enough on hand to feed unexpected guests. You won’t get a plate, as eating from a large communal serving dish in the middle of the table is so much more fun. And don’t expect a knife and a fork – eating is done with your hands. I haven’t quite adopted these concepts at home yet, but I do find them intriguing. I like nothing more than working in the kitchen, creating new recipes for my #powerfoodies! So from now on, the kitchen door will always be open!
Arab cuisine is colorful and rich and makes use of an impressive array of herbs and spices like coriander seeds, mint, nutmeg, parsley and cumin. You don’t have to look too hard to find all of these in my kitchen – I use them all on a regular basis. And, of course, a nice piece of meat is often central to this cuisine. Goat and sheep meat are popular, but beef and chicken are also used in a variety of dishes.
Vegetarians don’t need to worry about getting sufficient protein though… This cuisine also relies on delicious legumes like lentils and chickpeas, which are both brimming with protein.
The best way to experience the flavors, scents and colors of this cuisine, like any other, is by travelling to the region itself. Sounds like a good excuse for me to book a trip to immerse myself in the edible riches! Yum! I’m looking forward to it already! To get myself in the mood, I created a nice, light lentil tapenade to spread on bread. Saha/bon appétit!
M.V. Voorbergen & styling: Marieke Verdenius i.o.v. Jamie magazine
Cumin has a warm, aromatic, anise-like flavor and has been used for centuries in cuisines the world over. Because of its amazing ability to give dishes a fuller and deeper flavor, cumin can be used very broadly. My stews, sauces and casseroles always get a dose of cumin. As early as the middle ages, people used to incorporate cumin into bread and it was also used as a natural remedy due to its detoxifying and digestion-aiding properties. The enzymes in cumin stimulate the thyroid and cleanse the liver. And did you know that cumin is in the same family as dill, caraway and parsley? It hails from Egypt, but grows in many other warm regions. And what’s more, during the nice warm summer months you can even grow a cumin plan! Grow cumin, be happy.
20 minutes + 10 minutes if you need to cook the lentils too
makes approx. 600 g
1 week in the fridge
1-2 weck jars
– 250 g (beluga) lentils, cooked (approx. 125 g dried)
– 100 g sundried tomatoes
– 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 medium onion
– small handful fresh parsley
– 150 g tomato paste
– 2 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp paprika
– ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
– ½ tsp black pepper
Sometimes I’ll just sneak a bite right out of the jar… That’s allowed.
Rinse the dried lentils in a sieve under cold water and drain. Cook the lentils in twice the amount of water as lentils in about 20-30 minutes (or according to the package instructions). Drain the cooked lentils in a sieve, rinse briefly with cold water and allow them to cool fully.
In the meantime, combine the sundried tomatoes with the olive oil and the clove of garlic in the food processer. Transfer the blended mixture to a bowl, finely chop the onion and parsley and combine with the remainder of the ingredients in the bowl. Stir well.
Store the tapenade in nice weck jars so that you can take it with you wherever you go. It makes a delicious addition to your lunchtime sandwich!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with #powerfoodies and #renskroes. Enjoy!