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Souvlaki Cups with Horitaki Salsa and 3 Tzatziki Sauces: A Greek Meze Makeover

July 23, 2012 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group, Greek, Meat, Sauce | 27 Comments

Who would mess with the gods? With the dining table of the cradle of civilization?

Well, that would be the 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group. This month we’re challenged to put our spin on an item for a traditional meze table. 

To begin, let’s imagine we’re in Athens and we’ve just returned from climbing that really BIG hill to view the Acropolis,  as I did a few years ago. OK, now we’re sitting in a taverna in La Plaka, the breeze is blowing, bouzuki music is playing and we’re sharing wine and a table full of mezes. But not just traditional mezes, we’re sharing 5 Star Foodie Makeover mezes.

The tradition of the meze is twofold: it complements and enhances the taste of drinks (wines, ouzo, raki, etc.) and it provides a forum for a social gathering. A meze is not considered a meal course like an appetizer (although they are often served as appetizers). Rather, it represents a separate eating experience. A meze can be hot or cold, spicy or savory, and often salty. It is a dish that is served alone or with other dishes. <Think tapas. Source: 

Souvlaki is more ‘street food’ than meze … a succulent skewer of marinated meats often folded into a large pita with grilled tomatoes, onions and/or peppers, and tzatziki sauce. It’s large, juicy, messy and delicious!

For the makeover, I decided to downsize the pita and consequently all the other ingredients and create a dish appropriate for the meze table. Instead of grilled tomatoes and onions, I wanted to add a fresh element so by mincing (instead of chunking) traditional Greek salad ingredients, I created a ‘salsa’ topping. And, then I thought “let’s have a little more fun”. Tzatziki is yummy, but tzatziki X 3 is even yummier.
*    *    *

I began with a small pork tenderloin cut into little cubes which I marinated with olive oil, lemon juice, s+p and oregano for a couple of hours. (It was ultimately pan fried on high heat.)

Meantime, I prepared the accompaniments.

Tzatziki: yogurt, shredded cucumber, dill, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice + zest, s+p.
By adding pureed fresh spinach and chopped Kalamata olives to the traditional tzatziki mix, I created 3 choices. (My favorite was the Kalamata.)
Pita: rounds of Greek pita were cut to fit into a greased muffin mold and baked at 375 for about 15 minutes.
Horitaki (traditional Greek country salad) consists of chunky cucumber, tomato, red onion, green pepper and an olive oil, s+p, oregano and lemon juice dressing. Mince it and you have salsa!

I think the gods will be doing the Zorba happy dance after Friday’s round-up! To see the other dishes on the meze table, please visit 5 Star Foodie on Friday, July 27. Thanks again to Natasha and Laz for dreaming up these fun challenges.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!
FOODalogue prior challenge entries here.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Love this and I’m amazed at how much we were thinking alike. Darn. I wish we lived near each other. We are sisters. I’ve yet to make my dish. I have lamb marinating. I have my idea. I have sunshine today, so it’s probably a Greek lunch coming.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Banana Chocolate Chunk Nutella MuffinsMy Profile

  2. Oh, Joan, another truly inspired interpretation of some of my favorite foods. I can just imagine how bright and fresh this tastes–and so pretty. We eat a lot of tzatziki in this house (my husband is Macedonian), but I haven’t thought to vary it the way you have. Looks great!
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Classic Mexican Comfort Food: Tortilla SoupMy Profile

  3. bellini says:

    Opa!! All the elements that I love are combined in this one little plate.

  4. So creative. I love these dishes. YOu were definitely thinking outside of the box.
    Vicki Bensinger recently posted..Mediterranean Tomato Jam!My Profile

  5. Joni, Joni, Joni another masterpiece. So perfect for this weather…
    Platanos, Mangoes and Me! recently posted..LOUKANIKA – GREEK SAUSAGE WITH ORANGE PEEL AND A HINT OF OUZOMy Profile

  6. Love your variations on tzatziki for the meze table. I could eat Greek salad everyday.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..My Almond Limoncello cake was in the Huffington Post’s Kitchen DailyMy Profile

  7. Leave it to Joan!
    I am so impressed with this little fun take on traditional flavours that are tried and true. It is BRILLIANT! So cute – I can see myself doing this SOON!
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Black Currant Mascarpone RouladeMy Profile

  8. Brilliant meze makeover. Love the idea of the pita in a muffin mold. An 3 tzatzikis is a great idea. Would love to try them all.

  9. Peter says:

    Joan, love the twists on Tzatziki and the club sounds like lots of fun. I’m not sold on the souvlaki cups but creative.
    Peter recently posted..Lemon Coconut Ice CreamMy Profile

  10. Darn woman! Your creativity is just down right awe-inspiring. I love everything here and nothing makes me happier than seeing your ‘Joan-twists’ on age old classics :))

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..A Good and Proper Victoria Sponge CakeMy Profile

  11. Faith says:

    Oooh, there is nothing more satisfying to eat than a flavorful souvlaki! This looks really delicious and I love how you adapted it to fit a meze table. The 3 tzatziki sauces were a great touch too!
    Faith recently posted..Fresh Tomato Dipping SauceMy Profile

  12. elly says:

    Love those apps, Joan! What a beautiful presentation.

  13. What a fun twist on these classics. I’d love to try all three tzatziki sauces and imagine I have a view of the Acropolis!
    lisaiscooking recently posted..Sour Lemon SconesMy Profile

  14. Shannon says:

    oh man, i would absolutely love this!! tzatziki is wonderful, and you’ve done wonderful things, adding spinach and olives :)
    Shannon recently posted..Greater Nashua TriMy Profile

  15. Great challenge – and I love your take on it Joan.
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..Panna cotta two ways for two special occasionsMy Profile

  16. Tanantha says:

    Yes! the messier, the yummier. 3 tzatziki sauces are a fun way to enjoy souvlaki. I’m glad you made a refreshing salad to go along with!
    Tanantha recently posted..Yum Woon Sen with Pork Loaf (Thai Spicy Salad)My Profile

  17. Oh yesssss!!!!!! I absolutely love this! All of it works perfectly in my eyes…especially the flavoured tzatzikis! Joan you’re a star!

  18. Joan says:

    Thank you all for your complimentary comments! I had such with this challenge.

  19. Laz says:

    Awesome Joan. You knocked it out of the park.

  20. I love all the components of these wonderful unique meze! Especially the three different tzatziki sauces, how neat!

  21. Victoria says:

    These are awesome!! I love the little pita cups, I love the Greek salad salsa, and I love the three tzatzikis! The kalamata would probably be my favorite too :)

  22. Wow, Joan what a great Meze. I love Meze, specially during the hot summer months. Yours looks amazing!
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Nectarine Goat Cheese Galette, Made with Olive Oil Pastry DoughMy Profile

  23. deana sidney says:

    Another great dish. Why have I never made souvlaki? It has all my favorite things in it and the dipping sauces and those little cups are amazing. Perfect refreshing food for a hot summer day.
    deana sidney recently posted..Gorgeous Greeks and their Honey Glazed ShrimpMy Profile

  24. I just love the little pita cups…what a fun dish! Scrumptious addition to the party Joan!

  25. Lori Lynn says:

    Super-creative Joan. Love the 3 tzatzikis. The pita cups are especially innovative. Pairing with pork sounds so delicious. Terrific original dish for the makeover! Let’s party!
    Lori Lynn recently posted..5 Fabulous Bloggers: Proud Italian CookMy Profile

  26. Katie says:

    I love baking up empanada shells to use as little baskets, but I never thought of using pitas! Beautiful and creative presentation.
    Katie recently posted..Estofado de carne | Beef RaguMy Profile

  27. I’m loving the presentation and flavors in your dish! How creative to create 3 kinds of tzatziki sauces. They must taste incredible when it’s all put together. Amazing job on the challenge!
    FreeSpiritEater recently posted..Fresh Chicken Gyro & Cherry Tomatoes w/ Noshing with the NolandsMy Profile

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