The lunch question
“What are we doing today for lunch?”
For the past ten months, this has been the question that comes up almost daily, each working day at around 11.45. And even though our office is in the middle of Vienna, it still also seems like the most complicated question during the day. Going somewhere to a restaurant, ordering in, going to the supermarket… With all those options open, we still end up going almost once a week to the Israelian restaurant that is immediately next to the office. To be fair, it is also one of the better Israelian restaurants that I know.
Plenty of lunch options in Vienna
Of course, there is quite a range of dishes available. But often hummus is part of the meal. The typical chickpeas and tahini dip is not just Israelian, but popular and traditional in plenty of middle Eastern countries. Apparently the first time something has been written about it was in a 13th century Egyptian cooking book. From that time it has spread out widely, all over the world. And it seems you can find hummus in every supermarket nowadays, wherever you are. From the basic one to others with flavourings like curry or chilli added. The same goes for similar dips, like baba ghanoush which is made with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.
Now because I do often eat this style of food for lunch, I’m not really making much hummus or similar dips myself at the moment. But this changed when the other day I picked up a bag with food that could not be sold anymore in the supermarket, and there was a bunch of zucchini in there. Having way too many zucchini for just a pasta for one person, I decided to roast them and use them in the same way as the eggplant in baba ghanoush, as I remembered reading something about this previously. As it turned out, quite a good idea: the zucchini makes for a dip as creamy and mild as baba ghanoush, and potentially also good for people who do not like eggplant.
Surely I like to eat this dip just with some pita bread as a snack. But I also like to roast some vegetables, for example pumpkin, and mix this with chickpeas and some cumin and baby spinach. The roast vegetables and zucchini dip together, potentially with some roast chicken or beef added as well, make for a nice and easy weekday dish.
- 3 zucchini (courgette) – around 700 grams
- 1 small garlic clove
- 3 large teaspoons of tahini
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika powder
- Lemon juice – around 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil – around 3 tablespoons
- Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon
Preheat your oven to 220°C.
Wash the zucchini and place in an oven tray. Roast them whole for around 40 minutes, they should look wrinkled and be softer to the touch. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down a bit.
Meanwhile, finely grate the garlic and add to a large bowl.
Once the zucchini are cooled down sufficiently to handle easily, peel the skin off. Chop the flesh in chunks and get rid of the juice that comes out. Add the zucchini flesh to the bowl with the garlic and use a fork to whisk and to break down the zucchini. Now, add the tahini, cumin, paprika powder, lemon juice, olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Mix everything well and taste. Add more salt or other ingredients to your taste. The zucchini itself is quite mild, so better to start out with less spices and add more until you are happy with the flavour.
Finelly, transfer the zucchini dip to a serving plate and sprinkle the sesame seeds and some additional smoked paprika over the top.