Sassool Mediterranean Cafe launched their Cary location’s new grocery and retail section on November 27th. To commemorate this, they invited me to be one of the participants in their Sassool Grocery Challenge. Sassool provided a $25 gift card to spend on at least three items from their grocery section to be used in the recipe we develop. Their new grocery and retail section boasts an impressive selection of yogurt and cheeses, frozen foods, olive oil, tahini, beans, pasta, coffee, tea, cookies, candies, dried fruits, assorted nuts and seeds and spices. With such a large variety to choose from, I decided my three main ingredients would be dates, olive oil and labneh.
I was inspired to make this dish by my Mom’s Polish and Hungarian heritage. Growing up, my mom said it was popular to have prunes stuffed with cream cheese as a holiday appetizer or snack. Using her childhood memory of the dish helped me transform it with a Lebanese twist to create Mom’s Date & Labneh Dip with Smoked Paprika Pita Chips.
Mom’s Date & Labneh Dip with Smoked Paprika Pita Chips
Makes roughly 24 servings of the Date & Labneh Dip of 2 tablespoons per serving
For the Date & Labneh Dip:
1/2 cup pitted dates, finely chopped (also known as baking dates)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups labneh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Smoked Paprika Pita Chips:
10 whole wheat pitas, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1. In a small saute pan, heat the dates until they’ve softened over low heat.
2. Add in the honey and olive oil. Continue heating over low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Remove mixture from heat and let cool for a few minutes before putting it
into a food processor.
4. Process the mixture until the dates are smooth.
5. Add in two cups of labneh and process again.
6. Season dip with salt and pepper.
7. Refrigerate dip while preparing the Smoked Paprika Pita Chips.
8. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place pita pieces on a lined sheet tray.
9. Sprinkle olive oil and smoked paprika onto the pita.
10. Bake pita for 8-10 minutes until Smoked Paprika Pita Chips are crispy and
serve with the chilled Date & Labneh Dip.
As you can see, this dip is easy to whip up and keep on hand throughout the holiday season or anytime you need an appetizer to bring to a potluck. I hope you try out this recipe and give your feedback! Fingers crossed it will be featured throughout the month of January at both Sassool locations!