Four Quebec foodies reveal how to bring the flavours

of a Middle Eastern souk to your kitchen.

Jonathan Garnier

Katrine Paradis

Sébastian Benoit

Manon Lapierre

Although the cuisine of the Middle East and North Africa is the least known of the Mediterranean diet, it is characterized by equally simple and hearty dishes enhanced with healthy and tasty ingredients, usually grilled or baked. New Al’Fez sauces, pastes, marinades and side dish sets are taking over the grills of La Belle Province this spring, just in time for barbecue season.

Al’Fez challenged four foodies – Jonathan Garnier (La Guilde Culinaire, Salut Bonjour), Katrine Paradis (K for Katrine), Sébastien Benoît (Coups de food, Rythme FM) et Manon Lapierre (La Petite Bette). Their mission? Create a tasty dish that will seduce the palates of Quebecers while highlighting healthy Middle Eastern cuisine.

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Al’Fez Shish Taouk Crispy Chicken

by Jonathan Garnier

Portions: 4
Marinade: 30 minutes to 24 hours
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes

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4 thighs, boneless and cut in half
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking oil as needed for frying

Cabbage and Cucumber Salad
1 clove garlic, chopped
8 Tbsp. (120 mL) lemon juice
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) mayonnaise
4 Tbsp. (60 mL) AL’FEZ TAHINI
4 Tbsp. (60 mL) olive oil
1 cucumber, sliced into rounds
2 cups (500 ml) grated kale
6 Tbsp. (90 mL) fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

4 Tbsp. (60 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) harissa
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a dish containing the chicken, add the SHISH TAOUK MARINADE and allow to marinade for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oil in deep fryer to 325 °F (160 °C), or in a saucepan with 2 inches of oil.
  3. In a bowl, combine the FALAFEL MIX and cornstarch.
  4. Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade, and coat with the prepared dry mixture to bread the chicken.
  5. Cook each piece in hot oil for 6‒8 minutes, remove and place on absorbent paper towels. Season if necessary.


For the salad:

  1. In a bowl, mix the garlic, lemon juice, mayonnaise, tahini and olive oil, then the cucumber, kale and mint.
  2. Check the seasoning.


For the dip:

  1. In a bowl, mix maple syrup, harissa, garlic, salt and pepper. Check the seasoning.
  2. Place the prepared salad on each plate, top with a piece of chicken and then drizzle with the dip.


Note: Make this recipe healthier by preparing your chicken in the Air Fryer: add a little oil to the breaded chicken pieces, place them in the Air Fryer, and start the fried chicken cooking cycle.

Recipe calls for:

Moroccan-Style Shrimp and Corn Balls (Al’Fez)

Portions: 4 
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Can be frozen

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Shrimp and Corn Balls
1 1/2 lbs. (675 g) small raw shrimp, tails removed, deveined, peeled and dried with a paper towel
1 cup (250 mL) corn kernels
2 tsp. (10 mL) Al’Fez Harissa sauce
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) tomato paste
1 egg
1 cup (250 mL) gluten-free Rice Krispies-type breadcrumbs made in the blender
1 tsp. (5 mL) turmeric
1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) cumin
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) salt

Tahini Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup (60 mL) tahini
1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
2 tsp. (10 mL) honey
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) salt
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) water

1 jar Al’Fez Moroccan Style Meatball Sauce
4 Lebanese cucumbers sliced into ribbons
2 avocados, finely sliced into half-moons
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) fresh dill


Shrimp and Corn Balls

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F and place rack in centre. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place shrimp and corn in a blender and pulse until the texture is semi-smooth, with a few small pieces remaining. Scrape the sides of the blender if necessary.
  3. Place shrimp mixture in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients, except for the meatball sauce. Mix well.
  4. Form balls into golf ball size. Place balls on the cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the balls with oil.
  5. Cook in the oven for 20‒25 minutes or until the balls are golden brown.


Tahini Vinaigrette Dressing

  1. In a bowl, using a whisk, mix all the ingredients for the dressing.



  1. Heat the Al’Fez Moroccan Style Meatball Sauce and divide it between 4 soup plates, taking care to cover half the surface of the plates with the sauce. Place the shrimp balls on top of the sauce.
  2. Add the cucumber ribbons and avocados, and serve with tahini vinaigrette dressing. Garnish with a few sprigs of dill.


Handy tip: The meatballs are also delicious with tahini vinaigrette dressing!

Recipe calls for:

Moroccan Lamb Meatball Sauce and Flatbread Topped with Crunchy Salad

Portions: 4 to 5
Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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1 box Al’Fez Moroccan spiced flatbread mix or 1 box Al’fez couscous

1.7 lbs. ground lamb (800g)
2 eggs
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint (43 g)
1/4 cup chopped chives (32 g)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. (1.4 g) cinnamon
1/2 tsp. (1.4 g) cumin
1 tsp. (2.8 g) salt

1 jar Al’Fez Moroccan Style Meatball Sauce

4 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced into ribbons
5 small red radishes, very finely sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint
Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the rack in the centre of the oven preheated to 400°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients, and form balls that are slightly smaller than golf balls. Place onto baking sheet.
    Cook them in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the Moroccan spiced flatbreads or Al’Fez couscous according to the instructions written on the side of the box. Set aside.
  4. Mix all salad ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  5. Pour the Moroccan meatball sauce into a small saucepan. Heat the sauce over low heat.
  6. Place a flatbread or a portion of couscous on a plate.
    Add 5‒6 meatballs on top.
    Cover with Moroccan meatball sauce to taste.
    Top with crunchy salad.
Recipe calls for:

Grilled Shawarma Cauliflower steak

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One large whole cauliflower
3 Tbsp. Al’Fez Shawarma Marinade
3 Tbsp. 4% Icelandic yoghurt
Freshly ground pepper

Tahini Dressing 

⅓ cup (80 mL) water
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) lemon juice
5.5 Tbsp. (80 mL) tahini Al’Fez
2 tsp. (10 mL) maple syrup
½ tsp. (2.5 mL) tsp. salt


Fresh cilantro
Roasted salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Lemon wedges
Pomegranate berries or currants


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high with a direct heat section and an indirect heat section. Clean and oil your grill.
  2. Remove the tough outer leaves from your cauliflower. Cut off the base so that it will remain flat. Place your cauliflower on its base, and cut it into 3 or 4 large “steaks.”
  3. Mix the Al’Fez Shawarma Marinade and the yoghurt in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, apply sauce liberally over the cauliflower steaks, on both large surfaces, and then add pepper generously.
  4. Sear the cauliflower steaks over direct heat for 3‒4 minutes, or until they are toasted, and then turn them over for another 2‒3 minutes. When your cauliflower steaks are nicely grilled on both sides, transfer them to indirect heat, covering them loosely with foil or a cooking dome for 10‒15 minutes or until cooked as desired.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the water, Al’Fez Tahini paste, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt in a container, and combine well using a whisk or a blending attachment.
  6. Chop the pistachios and cilantro.
  7. When the cauliflower steaks are well cooked, transfer them to a serving plate decorated with a vinaigrette drizzle and garnish with the chopped pistachios, cilantro, pomegranate berries or currants, and lemon wedges.
  8. Bon appétit!
Recipe calls for:

Cook with Al’Fez to bring the flavours of the souk to your kitchen this summer.

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