This is a super healthy lunch I make myself sometimes, and both dishes can also be a lovely accompaniment to any meal. I don’t even use any utensils for these dishes. I just scoop up mouthfuls with pieces of pita bread. I leave any leftovers for lunch the next day.
The sautéed zucchini dish is probably one of the first dishes I ever made for myself as a child. I probably watched my mother make it. She would add allspice to the zucchini. She often uses allspice in her food, and I quite like it myself. It adds a sweetness and complexity that I think goes well with many vegetables like zucchini, squash, and potatoes. It goes very well with ground meat dishes as well. It’s very easy and quick to put together, only 5 minutes prep time and about 20 minutes cooking time.
Labne is something I always have in my fridge. It’s super strained, thick and creamy yogurt that is very popular in the Middle East. It’s mostly eaten at breakfast time with olives (a heavenly pair). When I want a quick snack or lunch, I just spread some over a small plate, pour a bit of olive-oil on top and eat with warmed pita bread. It’s one of my favorites. I’m starting to see labne actually being sold in conventional supermarkets in the U.S., and I’m seeing more and more cooking magazines mention it as well. If not in your local supermarket, Mediterranean markets will be sure to stock it. Alternatively, you can make your own labne by straining Greek yogurt with a cheese cloth for 2-3 days to remove most of the whey. My favorite brand of labne is Karoun.
Here is what you’ll need for the sautéed zucchini:
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- half an onion, diced
- 4 zucchinis, cut lengthwise in half and then quartered, 1/2 inch slices across
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper or other crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- freshly cracked pepper
Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat under medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until soft. Next add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, allspice, red pepper, salt and black pepper to the skillet and mix well. Lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook for about 10 minutes more, or until the zucchini is soft and cooked through.