Healthy Lebanese Recipes to Give You a Taste of the Middle East
Greens with Crispy Onions (Hendbeh b' Zeit)
Wilted greens topped with fried onions is a mezze must. Bitter dandelion greens are the most flavorful, but chard or kale--really any green or a combination of them--tastes delicious.
Chard Stalks in Tarator (Dlou' Selee' Mtaballeh)
Tarator is an easy-to-prepare tahini sauce that often accompanies baked fish, shawarma, falafel or cooked vegetables like these chard stalks.
Chickpeas with Garlicky Yogurt & Toasted Pita (Fatteh Hommos)
Fatteh means "broken" and signifies a dish of toasted bread pieces mixed with other ingredients. In this easy recipe, the yogurt is also "broken" with tahini, garlic and oil. Enjoy it immediately, before the crispy bread gets soggy from the yogurt.
Freekeh with Grilled Vegetables (Frikeh bel Khodra)
Soaking the freekeh and cooking it with caramelized onions results in an almost risotto-like texture. Grill up your favorite vegetables in place of the zucchini, carrots and scallions, if you like--or skip the vegetables altogether and serve it as a simple whole-grain side. It's really that good on its own.
Stewed Okra (Yakhnet Bemyieh)
Simmered in a tomato sauce fragrant with garlic and cilantro and finished with pomegranate molasses, this okra recipe might be just the dish that turns okra haters into lovers.
Pumpkin Kibbeh (Kebbet Laa'tin)
"Kibbeh" describes dishes made with bulgur, onions and spices. That mixture is combined with everything from tomatoes to goat. It's layered and baked, shaped into balls or footballs, stuffed, deep-fried or eaten raw. This vegetarian kibbeh recipe is made with pumpkin and stuffed with seasoned greens. Sorrel adds a lemony flavor, but you can use chard or kale and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling. Use fine bulgur or the texture of the dough will be gritty.
Carob Molasses Cake (Sfouf b' Debs)
With all due respect to baklava, we've found a new favorite Lebanese dessert. This rich, moist cake is sweetened with carob molasses and has a hit of anise. We may or may not have fought over it in the Test Kitchen.
Lebanese Cabbage Rolls
These Lebanese cabbage rolls are stuffed with lamb and infused with the flavors of turmeric, ground ginger and allspice.
Middle Eastern Braised Cauliflower
In this healthy vegetable side dish recipe, the flavors of Lebanese lubiyeh (green beans and lamb braised in a flavorful tomato sauce) are applied to cauliflower with delicious results.
Lentil & Bulgur Pilaf with Green & Yellow Squash
Based on a traditional Lebanese Lenten dish, this recipe makes a terrific meatless meal. Serve with warm whole-wheat flatbread or pita and a dollop of tangy plain yogurt.
Lamb & Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves
These traditional Lebanese lamb-and-rice stuffed grape leaves are fragrant with mint, marjoram, cinnamon, cumin and allspice. Serve with lemon wedges and plain yogurt for dipping.
Lamb Chops with Lebanese Green Beans
Simple pan-roasted lamb chops are served alongside deliciously spiced stewed green beans and tomatoes in a riff on a Lebanese favorite, lubiyeh. Serve with: Bulgur or rice pilaf.