Meatless Recipes. Lebanese Style.
The Lebanese know how to make all food taste great; this we know and unapologetically love about ourselves. Call it ingenuity; call it hereditary culinary genes–whatever it is, we’ve got it.
Our tastes-great finesse is especially strong with the meatless recipe. The Lebanese diet fits so perfectly under the Mediterranean diet umbrella, due in large measure to our doting attention to vegetables, grains, and legumes often cooked with our favorite healthy fat: extra-virgin olive oil.
We use herbs and spices to great flavor effect, which means we aren’t always reaching for more salt and fats to doctor everything up.
Most every old-school Lebanese cookbook has its “special season” chapters, not referring to the equinoxes but to the religious practices that so influenced the cooking of most every household. The biggest fuss by far is made over Lent, and all the meatless ways to feed the family. Here are some of my favorite meatless recipes, Lebanese-style, that I make often, and especially during Lent. This is Friday food, of the sort that Meatless Monday is inspired by.
These may be meatless foods for a fast, but all of that Lebanese ingenuity, or those hereditary culinary genes, or whatever it is, found a way to make them taste like anything but a sacrifice.
Fresh Herb Falafel with Tahini Sauce
Fattah: Chickpeas with Yogurt, Pita Chips, and Garnishes
Leeks in Olive Oil (try it with imported Lebanese Olive Oil!)
Mujadara: Lentils and Caramelized Onions with Rice or Bulgur
Sumac Roasted Sweet Potatoes (spicy-sweet!)
Toasted Bulgur Pilaf with Zucchini and Onion
And don’t forget: hummus, baba gannouj, labneh, a big romaine salad, olives, pickled turnips, and the pita bread to go with it all!
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I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!
Is it a sin to look forward to Lent and the meatless dishes that are sooooooooo delicious??
Your photos are amazing Maureen. I agree with Geoff in his comment above – – it seems like a sin to be enjoying all of these wonderful meatless dishes!
Ny niece and I made spinach fatayers last week. Could have eaten the filling on its own all night! Made za’atar bread with left over dough. Yum!
BTW, did you see this article on za’atar in Huffington Post? Surprised they didn’t mention Lebanon. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/28/benefits-of-zaatar_n_7463500.html
Thanks Elaine! Interesting from Huff Post. It’s not really the case that you can easily make za’atar at home. That unique za’atar flavor comes from wild thyme imported from Lebanon and the Middle East!