Gotta be honest here, I’m a little burned out. It’s been a long, busy, wonderful year, and it’s finally caught up with me. I’m in Lake Arrowhead for a little weekend escape with my family. The elevation level is high, the air is kind of thin, and I find myself yawning more than usual. I’m feeling a severe lack of motivation to do anything except sled down mountains with my stepdaughter and vegetate in front of the hotel pay-per-view. You understand, right?
So you’ll be cool if I just share this recipe without a lot of history or storytelling or hoopla… right? It is what it is– a Mediterranean 7 Layer Dip. For those of you who don’t know traditional 7 Layer Dip, it’s a popular American Tex Mex appetizer that typically includes refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, grated cheese, black olives and lettuce or sliced jalapenos. I really like Mexican-style 7 Layer Dip, but a few months ago I wanted to experiment with my own Mediterranean-inspired version. The recipe that appears here combines some of my very favorite mezze into seven layers of deliciousness. Hummus, labaneh or Greek yogurt, an Israeli salad layer, some green Greek olives, tahini sauce (recipe here) and crumbled feta with chopped herbs on top. Dip baked pita chips into it – you can learn to make them here. Get ready to swoon! The best part? It’s way healthier than guacamole, shredded cheddar and refried beans. I’m not knocking the Mexican stuff, as I said I love it, but this is definitely a lighter option that does not sacrifice on flavor.
A few quick notes– make sure you use a good quality hummus. I recommend making your own, or at the very least visiting your local falafel joint to purchase some creamy, quality hummus. The store bought kind doesn’t usually cut it in terms of flavor, though of course if you have a favorite brand feel free to use it. Labaneh can be purchased at pretty much any Middle Eastern market. I don’t usually single out brands, but if you happen to come across Tnuva labaneh from Israel, buy a whole cart full because it’s the most delicious thing ever. Greek yogurt makes a fine substitute, labaneh is just a bit creamier and more luscious. Buy a block of feta rather than the pre-crumbled variety, it will taste better. Also, this dip is gluten free on its own, so you can serve it with gluten free crackers if you want to keep it GF.
Take this to your New Years party and prepare to be the most popular person in the room. You’re welcome!
Note: Since posting this I have reduced the amount of labaneh (Greek yogurt) in the recipe to produce a thinner layer on top of the hummus, which allows for better dip distribution on each chip. Yes, I am a perfectionist. Don’t judge.
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Salad Layer Ingredients
- 4 Persian cucumbers, seeded and diced small
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and diced small
- 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups hummus - recipe here, or you can purchase a good quality hummus
- 1 1/2 cups labneh (strained yogurt cheese- thick, not liquid) or Greek yogurt, or a combination of the two
- 1 cup pitted green greek olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup tahini - recipe here
- 4 ounces crumbled feta (block feta preferred rather than pre-crumbled)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley or basil, roughly chopped
You will also need
- Mixing bowls, colander, 2 qt glass baking or serving dish
- To make salad layer, combine diced cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and salt in a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine, then transfer to a colander and allow the excess liquid to drain while you prepare the other ingredients (slicing, chopping, etc.). Let the salad stand and drain for at least 30 minutes.
- When the salad is fully drained, spread the 3 cups of hummus evenly into the bottom of your serving dish.
- Next, evenly spread the labneh or Greek yogurt over the top of the hummus.
- Stir the cucumber salad in the colander to make sure all liquid is thoroughly drained.
- Pile your drained salad mixture on top of the labneh/Greek yogurt.
- Then layer on the sliced olives.
- Drizzle with the tahini.
- Sprinkle with the feta.
- And finally, just before serving, sprinkle on your fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley or basil. This dip is great with pita chips!