Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb

Well hi there! It’s been a while…

This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board features slow-cooked pulled lamb, pomegranate arils and refreshing sliced cucumber to make the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together!

Can I offer you a Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb to make up for it? I promise it’s just as good as it sounds (and more) and will quickly become a favorite meal of yours. Might I also add it would make a great, healthy option to feed the troops during Super Bowl this weekend?

If you were a reader before, or perhaps have been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that the reason for my recent hiatus was because my husband and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Raia Marie, into the world in October. I had a good amount of content lined up for when she was first born, but then (as I’m sure you’ve heard) the perfect storm of unfortunate events hit our little community of Santa Barbara, first with the Thomas Fire and then with the Montecito Mudslide. Add to that a 10-day trip to Hawaii (where we infamously had a near miss with a ballistic missile attack) and you can see why it’s taken me a little longer than anticipated to get back in any sort of groove.

This is the first time since mid-November that we’ve been home for an entire week, and I’m slowly figuring out a schedule (if you can call it that) with little Miss Raia where I can occasionally get a little bit of work done and, most importantly, get back in the kitchen!

A Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb can serve as a healthy appetizer to feed a crowd or a light dinner for you and your family.

My new favorite method of cooking is, understandably, batch cooking. Since my time in the kitchen is quite sparse these days, when I DO have the time I love roasting up a huge tray of veggies or throwing a big cut of meat or various other ingredients into the slow cooker and letting it do most of the work. Bonus if I can figure something out using healthy ingredients because, man, breastfeeding is no joke and I’m way hungrier these days than I ever was while I was pregnant.

This Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb fits my need for easy to cook, filling and delicious recipes that, let’s be honest, can just as easily pass as an easy weeknight dinner as it can for a show-stopping appetizer for your next get-together.

I’ve simply created THE most delicious slow-cooked lamb recipe that then gets dumped on top of creamy hummus which is then garnished with pomegranate seeds, fresh rosemary, cucumbers and the like. And don’t forget the pita bread! You could also go hog wild and throw on some fresh veggies like beets, carrots, radishes or whatever you prefer to enjoy your hummus with.

Since my time is a bit limited as far as recipe development goes, I went with premade hummus and pita bread wedges for this go-around, but I know this whole setup will be equally (if not more) delicious if you decide to take the time to make all of these things from scratch.

Loaded hummus is the perfect healthy snack that can easily pass as a meal!

If you’re feeling ambitious, my friend Becky over at Baking the Goods has mastered the Creamy Dreamy Hummus from Tusk in Portland and you can click here for the recipe. Or, you can try one of the other hummus recipes I’ve shared on this site like this Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary and Garlic or this Pumpkin Curry Hummus.

I haven’t yet come up with my own recipe for homemade pita bread, but I’m sure you can’t go wrong with this Golden Pita Bread Recipe from King Arthur Flour or this tutorial on How to Make Pita Bread from The Kitchn.

But for those of you who (like me) don’t have a lot of time on your hands, store-bought is just fine. Just be sure to find hummus and pita with as few ingredients as possible!

As far as the lamb goes, it really couldn’t be easier since you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand in the pantry. Just head to your favorite local butcher and ask for the boneless leg of lamb (or lamb shoulder would work, too) and you’ll be well on your way to a tasty, healthy protein made in quite possibly the least hands-on way possible.

This hummus is loaded with all your favorite Mediterranean flavors from a juicy pulled lamb to refreshing pomegranate seeds.

Before I leave you with all the deets on how to create your own Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb, be forewarned that this lamb recipe will leave you with wayyy more lamb than you will ever need piled on top of your hummus. Well, I’m giving you permission to use the extra to whip up lamb tacos, a Greek casserole, or even pulled lamb sandwiches to get ya through the week. I’m learning now more than ever that there is so much power in leftovers!

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs 55 mins
Total Time
7 hrs 10 mins
 

Not-your-average-hummus recipe! This healthy appetizer has way more going on than a simple chickpea spread - it's loaded with juicy pulled lamb, fresh rosemary and pomegranate seeds!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the pulled lamb:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 pounds boneless leg of lamb (or lamb shoulder), trimmed of any large pieces of fat
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
All other ingredients:
  • Hummus (I used two tubs of store-bought)
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Pita bread, cut into wedges
  • Other vegetables such as carrots, radishes, etc. (as desired)
Instructions
  1. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil in bottom of a large slow cooker. Add lamb and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over top. 

  2. Add garlic cloves, rosemary, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. 

  3. Cook on low for 7 hours. 

  4. Remove lamb from slow cooker and place in a large bowl, reserving the lamb’s juices in the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the lamb until no big chunks remain.

  5. Drizzle on just enough of the reserved juices from the slow cooker so that the lamb is nice and moist without having too much extra liquid in the bowl. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

  6. To assemble, scoop hummus onto the center of a large cutting board or serving platter, swirling to create a sort of a well in the middle.

  7. Add pulled lamb to the well in the center. Top with pomegranate arils and fresh rosemary.

  8. Surround the hummus with sliced cucumbers, pita bread and any other vegetables you’ve decided to use and serve!

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Holiday Appetizers

Coming at you today with one final “best of” roundup before Christmas – today we’re talking all about the holiday apps!

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com

Before I get too carried away with CGC’s most popular holiday appetizer recipes, I wanted to give you a quick update on our sitch: We’ve been away from our home in SB for a week and a half now, escaping the smoke to save our precious baby girl’s lungs. As I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, things aren’t looking great for our beautiful oceanfront town. Winds have been terrible since early this AM, which when combined with the very dry conditions in our area have made for a massive amount of evacuations in our area. Although our home is not in an evacuation zone yet, we are certainly surround by them and at this point can only keep our fingers crossed that the firefighters get SOME sort of break in the weather ASAP.

A couple of days ago it had been looking like we might be able to come home tomorrow, but now we’re second guessing that and thinking we may be up here in the Bay Area until Christmas. It’s certainly not what we had envisioned for our first holiday with the babe and the pup, but we’re trying to keep our heads up and make the most of this extra time we get to spend with our families. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as best as possible on social media but, in the meantime, let’s all get our mind off of things with some delicious apps. Shall we?

Without further ado, here are my 15 most popular holiday appetizers!

All-Dressed Party Mix | CaliGirlCooking.com

1. ALL-DRESSED PARTY MIX
2. BEST EVER WINTER VEGETABLE PLATTER
3. CREAMY MUSHROOM PATE

A fresh baguette is the perfect accompaniment to this Creamy Mushroom Pate.

4. FIVE INGREDIENT SMOKED SALMON AND CUCUMBER ROLL-UPS
5. PUMPKIN WALNUT PATE
6. BUTTERNUT SQUASH CROSTINI WITH CRISPY PROSCIUTTO AND SAGE

Curry-Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

7. CURRY ROSEMARY ROASTED MIXED NUTS
8. GOAT CHEESE, APRICOT AND PISTACHIO CROSTINI WITH HONEY
9. HOMEMADE ROSEMARY AND OLIVE OIL CRACKERS
10. HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS – TWO WAYS

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

11. PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED PEARS WITH CREAMY BLUE CHEESE
12. ROASTED CAULIFLOWER HUMMUS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC
13. BACON WRAPPED STUFFED DATES
14. SPICED ROSEMARY BAR NUTS

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

15. PORTOBELLO HUMMUS

What are your favorite holiday appetizer recipes? Share them with me in the comments below!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups

Let’s kick off the week with another easy appetizer recipe!

A tray of Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups will be a huge hit at your next holiday party!

I hope you all had a restful, relaxing weekend filled with lots of fun and holiday cheer. Ours was about as exciting as can be with a one-month old and was made even better by the enjoyment of these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups, which I am officially dubbing the “it” easy, healthy recipe of the season.

That’s right, these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are incredibly simple to make, yet so full of flavor you’d never guess they’re actually one of the healthiest appetizers you can add to your repertoire in this month of endless get-togethers and celebrations.

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are an easy, healthy appetizer for any get-together.

Oh, and did I mention they only require five ingredients? That’s right! No special grocery store trips or endless hours slaving over the stove to whip up these delicious bites of heaven. You can grab everything you need at your neighborhood grocery store and have a beautiful tray of Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups ready to bring to your next holiday party in less than 20 minutes.

Speaking of those easy-to-find ingredients, here they are!

Cream cheese
Dried dill
Fresh chives
Persian cucumbers
Smoked salmon

See what I mean? Never been easier.

These Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are the best holiday appetizer to make this year!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear why I love these tasty tidbits and want to make them for every occasion for the foreseeable future – they’re easy, healthy, composed of just a few ingredients and yet so full of flavor. Plus, I really missed my regular intake of smoked salmon when I was preggo with our baby girl so I’m making up for lost time 😉

I’m not going to keep you long today because, if there’s anything that’s a constant this time of year, it’s that we don’t have much spare time on our hands to sit reading blogs all day. There are more important things to do and people to spend time with!

But, in case you’re looking for a few other appetizer ideas to whip up this season, here are a few of my favorites from the archives…

These Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

This Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage

These Spiced Rosemary Bar Nuts

This Creamy Mushroom Pate

And these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese.

Read on for the Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Up recipe!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups
Prep Time
15 mins
 

This easy, no-cook appetizer is full of flavor yet requires just five ingredients. It's the perfect healthy contribution to your next get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 30 pieces
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 4-5 Persian cucumbers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 30 strips
  • 30 toothpicks
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the whipped cream cheese, dill and chives until combined. 

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers lengthwise to form long, wide strips and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag and cut off the tip. Squeeze a line of the cream cheese onto each strip of cucumber. 

  4. Place a strip of smoked salmon on top of each cream cheese-lined cucumber and roll up the cucumber, securing at the end with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve!

 

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese

Mixing it up with some hors d’oeuvres-y things today!

A tray of Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese ready to be devoured!

Because, I mean, what are the holidays without some delicious appetizers to snack on throughout the day? These Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese are certainly topping my list of delicious bites to get me through the day RN, especially as an extra-hungry breastfeeding mom. It doesn’t hurt that I am also completely reveling in the fact that I can enjoy charcuterie and moldy, stinky cheeses again!

Yes, these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears do involve some pungent, creamy blue cheese (my favorite) but I do understand that not everyone is as freaky about stinky cheese as I am. That being said, you could easily sub in something a bit mellower like brie or even your favorite hard cheese. Just do me a solid and try the prosciutto-pear-cheese combo roasted up in the oven ASAP…You won’t be sorry!

I have always been a fan of fruit and cheese. After all, we’re all about balance here on this site and mixing in some fresh fruit with sometimes slightly more indulgent (although still arguably with some health benefits) cheese is a great way to cut back on the crackers and breads and get in some extra fiber and nutrients at the same time. A win-win in my book!

A platter of Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese is the perfect appetizer for entertaining.

In fact, you can rarely find my entire family getting together for any sort of occasion without some sort of cheese and charcuterie selection making an appearance, so you can bet these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese will be one of our hors d’oeuvres selections for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more!

They’re sweet, salty and creamy all in one (or maybe two) bites and will absolutely just melt in your mouth. Plus, they’re pretty darn easy to assemble, so almost anyone should be able to assist in putting them together. I made a batch for my mother-in-law’s birthday at the beginning of October and they disappeared quicker than you can say “prosciutto.”

So let’s talk about the recipe for a minute. I decided to bake said Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese to give the pears a nice roast-y flavor and the prosciutto a little crispy crunch, but I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t end up being a little messy. That being said, if you love warm, oozy, roasted hors d’oeuvres, definitely give these babies their time to shine in the oven. But, if you’d rather keep things neat and simple (and also leave room for more important things, like a roasted bird or green bean casserole, in the oven) than it’s perfectly acceptable to serve these uncooked as well.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese can also be served completely raw for an even easier hors d'oeuvres recipe.

Tell me, besides making these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese, what are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you traveling to visit family and friends or staying put and entertaining on your own at home?

We’re gathering up the babe and headed up to NorCal on our first road trip with her. So far our game plan is to just take things slow and stop when needed (it’s normally about a four-hour drive) but I’d love to hear any suggestions you have for taking a newborn on a long car ride.

Delicious roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese ready to be enjoyed as a holiday appetizer.

I hope you have a wonderful week filled with lots of delicious food!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

The flavors of sweet, salty and creamy all come together in this quick and easy appetizer that is perfect for entertaining. 

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 7 ounces creamy blue cheese (or your favorite cheese to pair with pears)
  • 4 pears, cut into 6 wedges each
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

  2. Take one strip of prosciutto and spread on a small amount of creamy blue cheese. Wrap around a slice of pear and place on baking sheet.

  3. Repeat this process with the rest of the pear wedges.

  4. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the prosciutto looks slightly crispy and the pears slightly roasted.

  5. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

You can also just assemble the pears and skip the roasting part for an even easier method!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bruschetta Bar

Who’s ready for a party??

A Bruschetta Bar is perfect for entertaining guests, with tons of options for toppings like Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella, Mushroom Bruschetta and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

Because today I’m bringing you a fun, inventive way to serve up some light snacks to your next party guests – a homemade Bruschetta Bar!

In all honesty, today’s post should only be considered the tip of the iceberg, because the possibilities are endless. I’ll get you started with some of what I consider the “must-have” basics for any Bruschetta Bar, and then leave it up to you to get creative from there and come up with some of your own toppings. You could even add these Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage or these Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey to the spread if you really want to wow everyone. There are endless possibilities!

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I came up to the Bay Area last week for a friend’s baby shower. She’s due just a few weeks before me (another girl!) and I am so excited to be going on this journey with her. It has been great to have someone to talk to and compare stories with as we both experience pregnancy for the first time. It is a pretty big life change, after all!

So when my friend asked if I’d be willing to help with some food for her shower, of course I jumped at the chance. She’s been having a little rougher time with morning sickness than I have, so I was sure to ask her what types of food were sounding best to her before planning the menu. I would hate to show up to her shower with a bunch of food that made her feel sick!

A Bruschetta Bar would not be complete without both a sweet and savory option: Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines!

After a little discussion back and forth, we decided on a Bruschetta Bar. We thought it would be the perfect “light snack” to have available for a mid-afternoon shower, would hold up well in the heat (this was an outdoor shower in the month of August, after all) and actually sounded appetizing to her.

So how do we create a Bruschetta Bar?? Well, my friends, it is incredibly easy (like, you’re going to smack yourself in the forehead after reading this if you have never thought of serving a Bruschetta Bar at a get-together before.) You simply put out a bunch of different topping options (or, better yet, have your friends each bring a topping, potluck style), toast up a big batch of crostini and set it all out for your guests to go to town. That’s it, no last-minute frantic rush in the kitchen or need to dish out plates for your guests. My favorite kind of entertaining!

A Bruschetta Bar is an easy entertaining idea that will keep all guests happy, especially with a Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

As you can see by now (and as I mentioned before), there is really a myriad of directions you could go for your Bruschetta Bar. Here are the basics I settled on for my friend’s shower:

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Mushroom Bruschetta
Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines

Each topping is incredibly easy to make, with minimal ingredients and not a lot of cooking required. At first glance it may seem intimidating, but I promise you it’s a breeze to throw together. You can also prep a lot of the toppings ahead of time, which means less pressure on you to be in the kitchen and more time to sit and enjoy the company of your guests.

A Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Spread stars in this super-easy Bruschetta Bar.

Read on for the topping recipes, toast up some crostini and be sure to tell me about some of your other favorite variations in the comments below!

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil come together to form the perfect topping for golden crostini when paired with creamy mozzarella.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices the size of your crostini
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl with a platter of mozzarella alongside.

 

Mushroom Bruschetta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Finely chopped mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with a touch of fresh tarragon make the perfect addition to a fun Bruschetta Bar.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add mushrooms, stirring over medium heat until they begin to sweat. Add tarragon and garlic and continue stirring until mushrooms are cooked through. Squeeze in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Roasted eggplant and white beans come together to form a smooth, silky spread that is perfect to spread on toasted crostini.

Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the eggplant, garlic, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

  2. Add roasted eggplant and garlic, cannellini beans, olive oil and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth puree forms. Add salt and pepper to taste, pureeing between each addition to incorporate. 

  3. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

 

Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This sweet, tangy and creamy spread is delicious when paired with fresh nectarines and used to top crunchy crostini.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 fresh nectarines, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Stir together ricotta, goat cheese, cream cheese and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl alongside a platter of the freshly sliced nectarines.