How to Host a Middle Eastern Food Party on a Budget

Mediterranean mezze
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Gather all your friends and family for a celebration of Middle Eastern cuisine that won't break your budget. Middle Eastern party foods, for the most part, aren't that expensive—as long as you skip the wallet-busting lamb and high-end beef kebabs! With a little preparation and perhaps some help from friends, you can throw a Middle Eastern fete that will seem luxurious.

  • 01 of 05

    Make Your Own Hummus

    Hummus, olives and pita wedges
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    When it comes to Middle Eastern party foods, hummus is a staple. However, it can be pricey when bought at a regular grocery store. Hummus is easy to make on your own, and once you've mastered the base recipe, you can create a bunch of varieties to serve with pita chips and raw vegetables.

    However, tahini is an essential ingredient in recipes like hummus, and the sesame seeds used to prepare it can be expensive. Prepared tahini is a good option if you don't use a lot of it regularly and need it for only one of two recipes. If you do use large quantities of tahini, it is really a money saver to make it in your own kitchen.

  • 02 of 05

    Assemble Kebabs Yourself

    Grilled vegetable skewers
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    Don't give those already-assembled kebabs in the grocery store meat department a second look. They may look pretty, but how good are they going to taste if they have been sitting there for two days? Refrigerated or not, chopped vegetables lose their flavor in a day, at most. It is much cheaper to assemble them at home. Better yet, offer a kebab bar where guests assemble their own and you grill them! Provide a variety of veggies, such as chopped onion, bell peppers, and squash, as well as marinated chicken, fish, or tofu, and let the guests thread them onto a soaked wooden skewer before you throw them on the grill.

  • 03 of 05

    Skip the Lamb

    Mezze on a table
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    Lamb may be a staple in Middle Eastern food culture, but skip out on the fresh lamb meat as the cuts are expensive, in most cases. The same goes for high-quality beef, so stick to chicken, fish, and tofu for the kebabs and other entrees.

  • 04 of 05

    Use Real Dinnerware

    Ready to serve lunch
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    It may be tempting to pick up a pack of paper plates, but think twice—you are paying for convenience. Paper plates may be handy, but have you ever tried to cut a steak on one or fit a decent meal on a paper plate? They are unsightly and tacky unless you are grilling out informally. If you're not fond of your mismatched dinnerwear, check out a local dollar store. They usually sell solid colored plates for only $1! Mix and match colors for a bright dinner table spread.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Consider a Potluck

    Pot luck

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    Invite your guests to bring their favorite Middle Eastern dish to share with others—add this on the invitation by calling it a "community party." Just make sure you don't get 10 tubs of hummus and no side dishes or desserts!