Greek Yogurt and Summer Vegetable Mezé/Spread

greek_mezepBrowsing through Katerina’s inspiring Culinary Flavors and looking for meat meal ideas, I saw these gorgeous souvlaki. I thought they would be my next meal, but then I noticed the yogurt mezé Katerina posted along the souvlaki recipe and… ended up making only this cooling side-dish (the skewers are still bookmarked though!). I like practically every yogurt spread/sauce I know, but this one has really surprised me with its complexity and its addictive side: once you start eating it, you will find it very hard to stop. If you plan it as a side-dish, prepare a double batch because you might easily end up with an empty bowl before you even serve the meal.

Contrary to the more famous – but equally delicious – tzatziki, this chunky mezé is not quick or effortless, but the final result is well worth it. Baked or grilled aubergine and pepper, olive-oil stir-fried tomato, thick yogurt and vinegar create together interesting flavours I didn’t really expect. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and I think it can be used in a very versatile way. In fact, it makes an excellent bread/cracker spread! I love it on thin crisp bread, both for breakfast and as an all-day snack (instead of the usual fresh goat cheese). It’s a perfect summer dish not only because it’s extremely cooling, but also because the vegetables it includes are now at their best. Thank you so much, Katerina, for making me discover one more delicious Greek treat!

Instead of Greek yogurt I have used smooth fresh cheese (aka quark). I have also slightly changed the amounts of ingredients, so make sure you check the original recipe at Culinary Flavors, an extremely creative blog full of inspiring Greek and international dishes.

TIP: The vegetables should be baked here, but if you prefer grilling them delicately, I’m sure the result will be equally good. Just make sure they are not scorched or the mezé will become bitter.

If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can use smooth fresh cheese (quark) or any natural yogurt.

Preparation: about 1 hour + several hours in the fridge

Ingredients (serves two as a sauce/side dish with grilled meat):

1 small Western aubergine (or a medium Asian aubergine)

1 medium sweet pepper or bell pepper (I have used here light yellow long pepper and Katerina advised green pepper)

1 small tomato

1 teaspoon olive oil+some to brush vegetables before baking

250 ml (about 1 cup) Greek yogurt or smooth fresh cheese/quark or any natural yogurt

1 tablespoon vinegar (I’ve used Sherry vinegar)

1 big garlic clove, crushed

salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut up the aubergine and the pepper into cubes (mine were roughly 1x1cm squares).

Sprinkles with salt and brush with olive oil.

Bake for about 15 minutes or more (until soft).

In the meantime remove the tomato seeds (you can also skin it if you don’t like skin, but putting it into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into a bowl with cold water).

Cut up the tomato into similarly-sized pieces.

Heat some oil in a pan and stir-fry the tomato for one minute until it softens a bit.

Put aside on a strainer to get rid of juices.

Let the baked vegetables cool down.

Combine the yogurt or quark with crushed garlic, add the cooled vegetables, season with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

10 Replies to “Greek Yogurt and Summer Vegetable Mezé/Spread”

    1. Thank you. I think in the middle of the summer it’s one of those dishes most of us can make with what we find in the fridge… I have all the ingredients non-stop.

  1. What a very unusual recipe! Mixing yogurt with roasted vegetables, especially eggplant and tomatoes, is not there in the forefront of my brain. 🙂 However, you do make a good sale for it and your picture makes it look quite appetizing. Interesting find Sissi and nice alteration. I’m sure you did Katerina proud.

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. It is unusual, isn’t it? At first you think about vegetables and yogurt, but the grilled/baked form makes it something completely new to me. Without Katerina I would have never attempted anything similar, but I’m so glad I have discovered it. It’s a fantastic cooling and healthy dish.

  2. Sissi I cannot begin to thank you for this post. I think you did an excellent job with it and I am so glad you have discovered it. Indeed, I don’t feel i have given it enough credit with my post and now seeing yours I have started to consider making a post just for this. I am so glad you find it addictive, because I do too. I usually make double quantity because I simply cannot stop eating this stuff. It is especially perfect with grilled meat. I try not to make it too often because I can eat the whole bowl and then I have second thoughts haha! This recipe was given to me by an old lady friend of mine and it is a treasure. Thank you so very much for presenting this through your blog and for giving it a try!

    1. Dear Katerina, thank you so much for such a kind message. You cannot imagine how thrilled I am to discover this – unusual for me – dish! Something told me it would be uniquely delicious and I was right. I always find real treasures on your blog. This is why I like so much browsing through your newer and also older posts. I didn’t know you at the time you posted this fantastic mezé, so I’m glad I discovered it by accident. Thank you so much for having shared this recipe with us! The fact that it comes from your friend makes it even more precious.
      I have all the ingredients constantly in the fridge, so I’ll be making this dish very often all summer long and as long as tomatoes have a good taste. Time to try making the skewers too!

  3. I usually make the ordinary tzatziki sauce but this recipe really elevates it to the next level! I love it. I bet the flavours are incredible and the yogurt so tangy, the addition of the Sherry Vinegar must add a complexity to the sauce too. Tasty tomatoes, even in summer are sometimes difficult to find but I find roasting them (in the oven or BBQ on super hot days) would bring out their sweetness, so you can have this tasty dish even in the middle of winter. In a pinch, substitute sun-dried tomatoes, I bet it would be lovely too. Must bookmark for the next time I make Souvlaki for sure!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. The result is really surprising! Very original and particularly good. Because of all the vegetables it’s more filling than tzatziki, so it can be almost treated as a salad. Thank you for the tip! I semi-dry tomatoes in the oven all year long and also find it brings out the best even in those which are tasteless when raw.

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