Lebanese cuisine is amongst the freshest and tastiest in the world – so why wouldn’t you start introducing it to your own kitchen? Grilled meats like shawarma, gorgeous pastries like baklava, even the classic combination of pita bread and babaghannouj, are all memorable Lebanese dishes that you can serve right at home.
Before you embark on your Lebanese odyssey, there are some basic ingredients that you should have close to hand.
Olives: Olive oil, and olives as they are, heavily present in Lebanese menus. There are over 170,000 olive producers in Lebanon because there is clearly a market for them! Olives and olive oil help to lower our ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise our ‘good’ cholesterol.
Onions & Garlic: Onions are an integral part of Lebanese stews, and garlic is undoubtedly the most common flavouring. You can find it in dips, sauces, pesto and stews.
Lemons: Lemons and lemon juice are another crucial components of Lebanese food. You’ll need copious lemon juice to make a truly tangy, tasty hummus or fresh tabouli.
Herbs & Spices: The essential herbs and spices you’ll need for authentic Lebanese dishes include mint, coriander, cinnamon, sumac, and parsley.
Amongst the best dishes to attempt as a beginner are:
Kafta – Lebanese mince meat skewers made of lamb or beef.
Babaghannouj – creamy eggplant dip that’s perfect with a piece of soft pita bread.
Tabouli – the vegetarian salad that consists of finely chopped parsley, Bulgar wheat, tomatoes, mint, onion, with lemon juice and olive oil mixed through (delicious!)
Shawarma – juicy, well-seasoned grilled meats.
Ingredients (Serves 4)