Easy Mediterranean-ish Dinner

by Elissa

I'm always on the lookout for easy dinners that I can get on the table in under half an hour, and I thought I'd share a recent winner that satisfied both the adults and the kids in our household.

The ketchup makes the sweet potato fries a much easier sell . . .

The ketchup makes the sweet potato fries a much easier sell . . .

This meal featured grilled lamb sausages, roasted sweet potato fries, toasted pita chips, cucumber rounds, and a yogurt dipping sauce. I love the combination of lamb with a yogurt sauce--maybe because it reminds me of eating a gyro? Anyways, this all came together pretty quickly.  The sweet potatoes take the longest to cook, so I peeled them and sliced them into wedges as soon as we got home. Toss them with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and and put them in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes. If you remember to flip them halfway through, great, but it's not essential.

While the grill was preheating I got together the yogurt sauce and the pita.  In my opinion, the key to the yogurt sauce and the pita toasts is za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. It combines sumac, which is sort of tangy and tart, with sesame seeds, cumin, thyme and oregano.  

My almost-empty bottle of za'atar

My almost-empty bottle of za'atar

The combination may not sound all that special, but if you've never tried it I'd encourage you to seek it out, as the sum is greater than its parts.  I have been sprinkling it over everything vaguely Mediterranean lately-- from roasted eggplant to hummus. There is some regional variation, so not all blends of za'atar taste the same. I haven't been able to find it at my local grocery stores, so I buy it online (my latest batch came from the Savory Spice Shop--and it's time for me to order another bottle!)

Anyways, to make the yogurt sauce mix plain Greek yogurt with a little garlic powder, some salt to taste, and a generous sprinkle of za'atar.  Mix in a little olive oil and taste it, adding more seasoning as necessary.

For the pita toasts, brush rounds of whole wheat pita with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with za-atar and a pinch of kosher salt. Cut into wedges and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, until warmed through and starting to toast.

I sliced up some baby persian cucumbers, and threw some strips of zucchini on the grill with the sausages. I bought these sausages at the farmer's market, but our Whole Foods sometimes carries a garlic, rosemary, and mint lamb sausage that I also like a lot.  We were sitting down to eat as soon as the sausages came off the grill.