Lebanese Mezze Platter
Dec 15, 2022, Updated Dec 27, 2023
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This Ultimate Mediterranean Mezze Platter shows the way with Lebanese small plate eating. Here are great ideas to build your own board or platter with hummus, labneh, fresh veggies, olives, pita chips, and more!
I’m a huge fan of a raucous charcuterie board. So much so that I’ve had to institute a hold-me-back policy . . . I go all-in, eating the cheeses, the salami, then more of each one again and again so that I’m pretty sure my doctor can feel the earth shifting over where she is, with all of her unheeded advice to take it easy on the cheesy.
Enter the Mediterranean Mezze Platter, the ultimate board-style delight that is delicious and healthy (no cured meats in sight!). The Lebanese have such a magnificent way with mezze, which is small plate-eating either for appetizers or the whole fun meal. The big board or platter with these same dishes artfully arranged is a natural. SO delicious. SO much healthier! This is the Mediterranean Diet all wrapped up in a platter!
What is Mezze?
Mezze, also maza or meze, is similar to Spanish tapas. The main idea is a wide variety of finger foods (think stuffed grape leaves and little fatayer spinach pies), Mediterranean dips, and plenty of fresh vegetables like persian cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, seasonal fruits, and crunchy pita chips. The Lebanese serve mezze both as the start to a meal, as a light meal, or as the entire meal, depending on the circumstance. In Lebanon I was stunned at the variety of the mezze served with small plates overlapping to fill the table to overflowing…then an entire meal again of grilled meats and vegetables. You can make your mezze as elaborate or simple as you like.
How to build a Mezze Platter.
Your mezze platter will be whatever size you may need for the group you are serving. If you have lots of people and want the mezze party platter to be the main attraction, use more than one large serving platter to distribute the weight more evenly and also to allow the food to be placed in two spots. Use platters or lightweight boards (teak works great).
Use several small bowls and plates, a variety of small dishes, and fit them on the serving board/platter to see what works. Envisioning the layout of your platter in advance is helpful so you don’t have to move the food around too much as you build it.
Mezze Platter Components
Think of all of the Lebanese and Middle Eastern foods you love to eat, and go for it. Consider as much colorful food as possible! Add color and flavor with drizzles of olive oil and dustings of spices. The best part here is that you can make it incredibly simple: a great way to build your ultimate mezze platter is by purchasing as many of the meze platter elements with store-bought items to create a variety of appetizers for your own mezze platter ideas.
Hummus, in any flavor or a combo of two different flavors (herb and beet, for example)
Baba Gannouj (baba ghanoush, smokey eggplant dip)
Olives, a variety of black and green, spiced, and different sizes (find great options at the grocery store olive bar)
Fresh veggies: Cucumber spears, baby carrots, fresh tomatoes (multi-colored cherry tomatoes are nice, whole or halved)
Little Gem or small romaine lettuce leaves
Lebanese Spinach Pies (Fatayer)
Fresh fruits (pomegranate seeds make a great garnish)
Nuts, especially pistachios!, or any roasted salted nut or nut mix
Dried fruit, such as dried apricots, dried cherries, dates
Good pita chips or warm pita bread cut in small triangles
How to arrange the Mezze.
A guiding principal for any board or platter: the look of abundance! I try to make sure the base of the platter can’t be seen; just all of the delights on top, touching one another and making an appetizing show of it.
- My anchors: the dips. Get two or three similar-sized bowls for the hummus, labneh, baba gannouj, etc. Swirl your dip with the back of a spoon, then drizzle with olive oil and dust with spice (za’atar, dried mint, 7 Spice, sumac, black pepper).
- Around the dips, use small bowls or plates to hold your olives, pickles, small pieces of anything.
- Arrange piles of the vegetables around the dips, cutting them in different shapes (cucumbers in thin spears; small tomatoes whole; carrots in oblong coins; etc.).
- Fill in spaces with a line-up of grape leaves, lots of pita chips, more olives, dried fruit and nuts.
- Running out of room? Add small nut bowls and other items on the side.
Mezze Board Tips
Garnishes. Everything is more appetizing if it’s glistening or dusted. A thin drizzle of olive oil over everything is my go-to, then a pinch of spice wherever it might look great (everywhere!).
If your olive oil glugs out of its bottle too heavily and swiftly, try my little trick of pouring some olive oil into the bowl of a large spoon, then drizzle from there. Or use a squeeze bottle. Much more control. The last touch is to pinch colorful herbs such as za’atar, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and dust those over dips, veggies, breads and crackers.
Tuck in some fresh herbs as a finishing touch, and to take up any spaces that need filling.
Use crackers and pita chips on the board, or if the platter is already filled, use a basket or bowl on the side filled with pita chips, bread, or crackers.
Look at how others do it: an excellent way to get a great look is to study an antipasto platter or other cheese boards and mimic the look of those.
Have fun adding your own favorites, such as roasted red peppers or other pickles and favorites of any kind.
Mezze platters consist of a variety of dips (such as hummus and labneh), fresh veggies, nuts, pita chips, herbs, finger foods like stuffed grape leaves, and more.
Traditional Lebanese mezze is an abundant selection of small plates of foods, from salads such as tabbouleh to other small bites such as fatayer (spinach pies).
Mezze is enjoyed throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Turkish cuisine and Greek cuisine, as well as Lebanese and other Middle Eastern cuisines, all enjoy serving the small plates of mezze as an appetizer of an entire meal.
More Small Plate Recipes
Try the most delicious date bite with a simple recipe for Warm Almond-stuffed Dates with Sea Salt and Lime Zest
Roasted Red Pepper Walnut dip, Muhammara, is another excellent addition to a mezze platter.
Take feta to the next level with Garlicky Whipped Feta Dip
Lebanese Mezze Platter
- Hummus,in any flavor or a combo of two different flavors (herb and beet, for example)
- Labneh.Try Labneh GreenGoddess here. Just be sure your yogurt is thick, not thin (labneh, notlaban).
- Baba Gannouj
- Olives, a variety of black and green, spiced, and different sizes.
- Cucumbers, sliced and quartered in spears
- Multi-colored cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
- Pickles, such as turnip, cucumber, carrot
- Grape leaf rolls
- Little Gem or small romaine lettuce leaves
- Nuts, especially pistachios!, or any roasted salted nut or nut mix
- Dried fruit, such as apricots, cherries, figs, dates
- Good pita chips
- Za'atar Crackers
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Spices such as za'atar, dried mint, 7 Spice, sumac, black pepper, sea salt
- Fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, or parsley
- Select the platter or board with size and amount needed for your group. Have handy a variety of small bowls and plates. Loosely map out where everything will be located on the platter.
- Make the dips the anchor by swirling them in similar-sized plates or bowls. Place them on the platter in a balanced way; one on each side, for example.
- Arrange vegetables around the dips. Add groupings of the other items to fill the platter until the entire surface is covered. Fill in empty spaces with more pita chips or little piles of nuts and dried fruit.
- Drizzle olive oil over the dips. Brush olive oil on the vegetables to give them some glisten and prevent dryness.
- Dust spices over the dips and vegetables, tuck in herb bunches for color, and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.