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On Friday we learned how to make ridiculously smooth, creamy hummus.

We skinned beans. It was kinda awkward. But in the end, it was totally worth it.

Now the fun really begins.

It’s time to spice. it. up.

Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad and Hummus |

Ezme has been on my list of things to make for at least a year now. There’s a Turkish restaurant here in Columbus that serves this spicy tomato salad with their homemade hummus. It comes with these great big puffy hunks of pita, and it’s totally addictive. Let’s just say, I’ve turned this appetizer into a main course more than once in my life.

With tomato season about to reach its peak, I decided it was finally time to try my hand at the recipe. I googled a few different versions, but ran into some problems along the way. They all called for hot red pepper paste, or harissa. Harissa is made from dried chilies which are soaked and cored, then blended with spices. It sounds amazing.

The only problem is, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad and Hummus |


After a few frantic trips to nearby grocery stores, the only thing I arrived home with was a bad attitude and a lonesome jalapeno. Luckily, I did happen to have a few dried ancho chilies in the back of my cupboard (a strange impulse purchase which just so happened to prove useful), so I set about improvising the recipe. I used 2 of the dried ancho chilies (which I soaked and then cored), a jalapeno (seeds in baby!), and 2 teaspoons of dried red pepper flakes to spice this salad up.

Somehow, it worked. I’m not sure how authentic this MacGyvered ezme is, but it tastes remarkably similar to my favorite restaurant version.

Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad and Hummus |

The mixture is super fresh, but with a deep, rich heat that tingles the tongue. The blend of herbs, tomato, red pepper, lemon, and spice is light, refreshing, and full of flavor. Just imagine your favorite salsa, only richer…and more Turkish. That totally makes sense right?

This salad, when combined with that dreamy hummus is the perfect marriage of flavors. The hummus cools down the heat of the ezme, while the ezme adds spice and depth to the hummus. A swipe of hummus and a scoop of ezme balanced on a pita chip is the perfect summer bite.

This is an ideal make ahead party appetizer and it plates beautifully. Just swirl your hummus on a pretty plate, spoon some ezme on top, and sprinkle with fresh herbs and paprika.  The Mr. said it looked and tasted restaurant quality. I can’t think of a higher compliment.

Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad and Hummus |

Here are a few tips for MacGyvering your own ultimate Ezme:

1. If you can find harissa, use it. It’ll save you time, and you probably won’t have to add the additional spices. Simply replace 2 Tablespoons of the tomato paste with 2-3 Tablespoons harissa, and eliminate the dried chilies, jalapeno, red pepper flakes, and spices.

2. If you can’t find harissa, but can find dried chilies AND you have a little extra time, you can make your own. Closet Cooking has a recipe I”ll be trying soon.

3. You control the heat. This can be made as mild or spicy as you like, and really, I think you could get away with using any combination of chiles, whether dried or fresh. I think soaking the dried chiles give it a deeper flavor, but this would still be really good with fresh. Anchos will give you a milder flavor while serranos will add more heat. Try mixing and matching to get different levels of heat. You can use this handy chile heat scale to guide your recipe. Remember if you’re using fresh chiles, removing the seeds will reduce the heat significantly.

4. This recipe makes enough for about 8-10 people as an appetizer. If you’re making this just for yourself or for 3-4 people, I suggest halving it.

Serve your ezme with warm pita, pita chips, or pretty much any veggie. You can eat the salad plain (like you would a salsa) or combine it with hummus or other dips to add warmth, heat, and color. You could even serve it as a side with a Mediterranean inspired meal.

I hope you’ll fall in love with this spicy Turkish salad as much as we have. And if you’re looking for more ways to spice it up, check out all the other #SundaySupper ideas below!

Homemade Hummus and Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad #SundaySupper
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 recipe Ultra Smooth Homemade Hummus (or storebought if you prefer)
  • 2 dried ancho chilies, soaked for 30 minutes in boiling water then cored
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds intact
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons canned tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  1. Option 1:
  2. Finely chop ancho chilies, jalapeno, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, red onion, and garlic. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Option 2:
  4. Place each of the first six ingredients into a food processor one at a time and pulse until uniformly chopped. Place ingredients in a large bowl along with all the juices.
  5. Finely chop tomatoes and parsley by hand and add them to the bowl.
  6. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, dried red pepper flakes, tomato paste, salt, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Serve with pita, hummus, and fresh vegetables.
  7. Note: If desired, you can replace the chilies, jalapeno, red pepper flakes, and spices with 2-3 Tablespoons harissa paste.

Recipe adapted from The Well Seasoned Cook

Snappy Starters & Snacks

Hatch Chile, Grape & Grilled Onion Salsa from Shockingly Delicious
Spicy Tempeh Chips from The Urban Mrs
Sriracha Popcorn from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Cheese, Smoked Paprika and Fennel Crackers from What Smells So Good?
Baked Banana Pepper Poppers from Daily Dish Recipes
Spicy Black Bean and Corn Stew from Mama’s Blissful Bites
Caldo de Camaron y Pescado (Shrimp & Fish Soup) from girlichef
Bajia with Tomato and Chili Chutney from My cute bride
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Salad from Casa de Crews
Sriracha and Parmesan Fries from Mess Makes Food
Smoky Salmon Chowder from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Hummus with Spicy Turkish Ezme Salad from Neighborfood
Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppedew Peppers from Healthy. Delicious.
Tofu Hariyali Kebabs-(Tofu Kebabs in Cilantro Sauce) from Soni’s Food

Fiery Main Dishes

Spicy Stuffed Mexican Peppers from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Jalapeno Popper Fettuccine Alfredo from Chocolate Moosey
Baked Tilapia en Escabeche from La Cocina de Leslie
Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings with Two Dipping Sauces from Runner’s Tales
Chorizo and Scallop Skewers from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Cookin’ Mimi
Thai Cashew Chicken from Doggie at the Dinner Table
Skillet Jambalaya from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Firecracker Chicken from Juanita’s Cocina
Spiced Turkey Burger Patties from Cook the Story
Aubergine and Chickpea Curry from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Savory Tomato & Poblano Pie from An Appealing Plan
Venison Mole Rojo from Curious Cuisiniere
Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush from Food Lust People Love
Crispy Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Tenders from In The Kitchen With KP
Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips from Webicurean
BBQ Chicken Pizza with Poblano Peppers and Pepitas from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Spicy Thai Beef Salad from Magnolia Days
Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Spicy Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs from Family Foodie

Searing Sauces & Seasonings

Homemade Buffalo Sauce from Growing Up Gabel
Whole grain Mustard recipe – Moutarde à l’ancienne from Masala Herb
Homemade Sriracha Sauce from kimchi MOM

Zesty Sweets & Sips

Cinnamon Streusel Scones from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Fiery Pomelo from My Other City By The Bay
Cinnamon Monkey Bread from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Skillet Blondies with Ice Cream from Vintage Kitchen Notes
Goldilocks and the 3 Asian-Fusion Bars from

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Leave a Comment

  • Jennifer Drummond August 11, 2013, 9:20 AM

    Now this is the perfect hummus! Looks wonderful! I would love this for dipping pita chips in!!

  • Nichole C August 11, 2013, 9:52 AM

    I absolutely love hummus! This looks amazing.

  • Helene Dsouza August 11, 2013, 9:58 AM

    I turned the appetizer into a main course too ^.^ too good right? Thanks for sharing your recipe, I can’t wait to give it a shot soon.

  • Jen @JuanitasCocina August 11, 2013, 10:39 AM

    Hummus…and then that delicious tomato-y goodness? YUM!

  • Ruthy August 11, 2013, 11:04 AM

    Ohhh.. this looks so good! the spicy heat with cool hummus- I’m tucking this one away to make. And I’ve definitely McGyvered my way through a few recipes in my time, I’m with ya there!

  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife August 11, 2013, 11:08 AM

    I want to dig right in!!

  • Liz August 11, 2013, 11:38 AM

    I’ve never heard of ezme before, but now I’m dying to try it. And your ultra smooth hummus looks terrific, too!

  • Mama F August 11, 2013, 12:06 PM

    Not even joking, my mouth is salivating with anticipation looking at this right now! I am going to have to go get all the ingredients this afternoon and make it or I might go crazy dreaming of how it tastes!!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 13, 2013, 5:07 PM

      Haha! I know exactly the feeling you describe! I hope you get to try it soon. Let me know how you like it!

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen August 11, 2013, 1:24 PM

    I had the same thing a year ago with not finding harissa for a recipe, until I made it at home, SO easy! Now I always have a jar in the fridge. And hummus is part of my routine too. This recipe is beyond amazing! I´m pinning it right now!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 13, 2013, 5:06 PM

      I’m definitely going to have to try making it. Just need to get a good mix of dried chiles first!

  • Shannon R August 11, 2013, 1:46 PM

    It may not be traditional but it looks awesome. Since I don’t really love love love creamy hummus (I like a more rustic style or else I get a “paste” feeling) this would add the perfect texture.

  • Webicurean August 11, 2013, 2:03 PM

    I fully planned on making your hummus, and now I have a beautiful relish to go with it!

  • The Ninja Baker August 11, 2013, 4:19 PM

    Congratulations Courtney on your culinary feat! The hummus and ezme salad is truly inspired. I so admire how you simply improvised the ingredients to create success =)

  • Hezzi-Ds Books&Cooks August 11, 2013, 4:20 PM

    Hummus is something we eat all the time and I’m always looking for new recipes. This spicy version sounds great!

  • The Wimpy Vegetarian August 11, 2013, 5:26 PM

    Oh I’m definitely making this one! I make my own harissa and always keep it around, so this should go pretty quickly. And pairing it with hummus is genius! I love this!!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 13, 2013, 5:05 PM

      Definitely! With the harissa, you could eliminate the dried chiles, jalapeno, red pepper flakes, and spices. The harissa will do most of the work for you!

  • Laura Hunter August 12, 2013, 3:40 AM

    I love harissa paste so much after discovering it a year ago. I have always bought store bought but actually now I am excited to make it home made. I am obsessed with hummus so this is going to be a must try for me.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 13, 2013, 5:00 PM

      I’m definitely going to try making my own now that I have a recipe. It seems like the kind of thing that’d be nice to have around to throw in pretty much anything.

  • Soni August 12, 2013, 11:52 AM

    Oh I’m loving the look and spices in your ezme!I love homemade hummus!!So much fresh than store bought ones!I’ve been wanting to try harissa for sometime now and I think I need to make it sooner than later 🙂 Lovely pics!

  • kimchi_mom August 12, 2013, 2:11 PM

    Wow. This looks absolutely amazing and your hummus looks perfect. I love making my own hummus…such a great snack. I also just made my own harissa so I have this recipe bookmarked. Thanks for sharing!

  • Renee Dobbs August 13, 2013, 3:31 PM

    Thanks to you I now have a new food mission which is to taste and find out all about Ezme. It certainly looks like it and the hummus would make a nice meal for me. Love the color and I can only imagine the texture is just as nice.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 13, 2013, 4:57 PM

      Thanks Renee! I’m glad I could inspire your search. There are a lot of different recipes online, but this one looked the most like the one I had tried in a restaurant. If you get a chance to try it at an Authentic Middle Eastern/Mediterranean place, that’s definitely the way to go!

  • Jane's Adventures in Dinner August 13, 2013, 6:03 PM

    Gorgeous addition to a beautiful hummus-yum!

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