Need a show-stopping entrée for a party that's sure to knock everyone's socks off? You can go for a meze spread or you can put it all together into one awesome dish. This meze layer cake starts with a pita crust, followed by roasted zucchini, tapenade, a layer of bulgur, baba ganoush, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and other savory Mediterranean ingredients, and a layer of falafel batter ... you get it, it's loaded with all the good stuff. Finally, it's baked until warm. Doesn't get any better than this!

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Meze Layer Cake [Vegan]

Serves

8

Ingredients

For the Meze Layer Cake:

  • 1 pita bread
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup bulgur, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Hummus (recipe below)
  • Tapenade (recipe below)
  • Falafel mix (recipe below)
  • Baba ganoush (recipe below)
  • Ajvar (recipe below)
  • Yellow bell pepper, parsley, and olives for garnish (optional)

For the Hummus:

  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 chili pepper, deseeded and very finely sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Tapenade:

For the Falafel Mix:

  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1/2 chili pepper, deseeded and very finely sliced
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Baba Ganoush:

  • 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • A handful of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Ajvar:

  • 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and cut in half into quarters or an equivalent amount of pre-roasted
  • red peppers, from a jar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
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Preparation

To Make the Homemade Mixes and Sauces:

  1. For the baba ganoush and ajvar, roast the eggplant and red peppers in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400°F.
  2. If you'd like, peel the eggplant beforehand. Otherwise, remove everything from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic bag for about 10-15 minutes. Open the bag, be sure they are not too hot and use your fingers to peel off the skin.
  3. Now, simply place all the ingredients for each specific mix (hummus, tapenade, and falafel mix) into a food processer and blend until smooth, stopping and stirring when necessary.

To Assemble the Meze Layer Cake:

  1. Peel the other eggplant and roast with the zucchini in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400°F.
  2. Put aside a few eggplant and zucchini slices, a tiny amount of each mix, and some parsley and anything else you want to decorate the top of the cake with later.
  3. Place the pita bread in the bottom of a round, springform pan of the same size.
  4. Cover the bread with half the hummus mix, and place some zucchini slices and tapenade on top.
  5. Cover with the cooked bulgur (you might not need it all.) Press down on the bulgur to make the bottom layers more solid and firm.
  6. Cover with a layer of baba ganoush. Spread some ajvar here and there on top, along with eggplant slices, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers and artichokes.
  7. Cover with the falafel mix and bake for about 30 minutes, high up in the oven, at 425°F. The falafel layer should get some color and have a slightly crispy surface.
  8. Remove from oven, cover with the rest of the hummus, and decorate with slices and mixes you saved in the first step. You can also use some yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, and olives for added fun and color.


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