Recipe: Roasted zucchini and labneh dip with mint

Recipe: Roasted zucchini and <i>labneh</i> dip with mint
Recipe: Roasted zucchini and labneh dip with mint for Ramadan (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
Total time: About 1 hour, plus cooling and chilling times

Servings: 4

Note: You can find semi-hot Aleppo red pepper and labneh, Middle Eastern strained yogurt, usually labeled kefir cheese, at Middle Eastern markets. When pomegranate seeds are in season, they are a popular garnish for this type of dip.

1 1/4 pounds small Mexican zucchini (also called Mexican squash or white squash) (6 squash), unpeeled, divided

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional olive oil for drizzling if desired

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Paprika (for sprinkling)

1/2 teaspoon dried mint, plus more for garnish

1 1/4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

1/2 cup labneh, Greek yogurt or additional plain yogurt

2 cloves garlic, minced about 2 teaspoons

4 teaspoons chopped fresh mint

Fresh mint sprig (for garnish)

Aleppo pepper or cayenne (optional, for garnish)

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the 2 smallest zucchini in rounds about three-eighths-inch thick and put them side by side in a small roasting pan or a foil pan. Cut the remaining zucchini in one-fourth by one-fourth by one-half-inch dice. Put them in another small roasting pan in a shallow layer.

2. Drizzle the zucchini dice with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the rounds with 2 teaspoons olive oil, without seasoning them.

3. Roast the zucchini rounds and the dice for 10 minutes. Turn over each zucchini round; stir the diced zucchini. Continue to roast the zucchini until the rounds are just tender, about 7 more minutes, and the dice are very tender, about 15 more minutes.

4. Heat the broiler. Sprinkle the zucchini rounds lightly with paprika. Broil them, checking often, until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the rounds to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer the zucchini dice to a medium bowl and add one-half teaspoon dried mint. Cool to room temperature.

6. Add the garlic, yogurt, labneh and fresh mint to the diced zucchini. Mix gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to marry the flavors.

7. To serve, spread the zucchini-yogurt mixture on a plate or platter. Drizzle with olive oil if you like. Garnish by sprinkling a ring of dried mint about halfway to the center of the plate. If you like, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper or cayenne. Set a mint sprig in the center. Arrange zucchini rounds around the edge.

Each serving: 160 calories; 6 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 11 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 55 mg sodium.