Tag Archives: Lebanese food

Easy-Peasy (Vegan) Lebanese-y

This entry is part 23 of 23 in the series World Kitchen

I have a slight obsession with Lebanese food that was born in a Lebanese restaurant I visited on my trip to Dubai. I was so elated to finally find an abundance of vegetarian food whilst abroad, especially after days of eating nothing but plain boiled rice. This obsession has been nurtured by many evenings of rustling up my own hummus and tabouleh variations, as well as jumping on any opportunity to steer the restaurant choice towards Middle Eastern.  Let’s just say it doesn’t take much persuasion — the food is incredible, and there are plenty of options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Here are a few of my quick, go-to dishes, with recipes that will make enough food for 3-4 people to share (depending on how hungry/greedy you are, of course). I am still lamenting the fact that I can’t eat fried halloumi or feta now that I’m vegan, but these make great additions if you do eat cheese.

Hummus finished with harissa, smoked paprika and olive oil © Janine

Hummus finished with harissa, smoked paprika and olive oil © Janine

Hummus

You will need:

1 tin of chickpeas

1 tablespoon tahini paste

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

Optional extras: harissa paste, sundried tomatoes, chilli, roasted red pepper, anything you like!

Method:

Drain the chickpeas and add them to a blender/food processor with all of the other ingredients and blend until smooth. You may need to stop and stir a few times depending on your blender. You can be very experimental with hummus, and I usually taste mine several times before it’s done to see what else needs to be added.  A swirl of harissa paste added at the end or a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of smoked paprika make an excellent garnish and add even more Middle Eastern flavour to the dip.

 

Tabouleh

You will need:

A large bunch of fresh curly leaf parsley

A slightly smaller bunch of fresh mint

1 cup cooked bulgar wheat/cous cous/quinoa

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tomato, cubed

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

½ cup cucumber, cubed

Optional extras: pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, olives, peppers

Method:

The trick to a good tabouleh is to chop the parsley and mint very finely so that all of the flavours get mixed up together.  Once you’ve chopped everything up, mix it all together in a large bowl, adding the bulgar wheat/quinoa/cous cous once it has cooled down.  An original tabouleh recipe would call for bulgar wheat, however I have found that cous cous or quinoa also make tasty alternatives.  Finally, add the lemon juice and olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste.  I sometimes make a larger bowl and add more cous cous and some extras like the pomegranate seeds, olives and more chopped tomatoes and cucumber to make a salad that is perfectly filling on its own.

 

Perfect Pitas

You will need:

6 pita breads, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sumac spice

Method:

This is a simple way to spice up your pitas — cut them in half or into smaller pieces, depending on if you want to use them for dipping or filling.  Get the pitas on a baking tray and cover them in olive oil and ground sumac (a delicious lemony spice from the Middle East).  You might have to get your hands involved to make sure that they’re all evenly covered.  Pop them in the oven on 180°c for 7-8 minutes.

Try a cool glass of refreshing mint lemonade with your feast © Elizabeth Bawel

Try a cool glass of refreshing mint lemonade with your feast © Elizabeth Bawel

Mint Lemonade Shake

You will need:

¼ cup sugar

2 ¼ cups water

1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Ice cubes

Method:

To make the syrup, heat the sugar with ¼ cup water in a pan until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then remove from the heat.  Once the syrup has cooled, add it to a blender with some ice cubes and add the lemon juice, 2 cups of water and the mint leaves.  Blend until the ice is crushed and serve with a garnish of mint leaves and a slice of lemon.

Grab some olives and invite some friends over to share your quick and easy Lebanese feast!

Featured image © me moi

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