The country of Lebanon has a rich and colorful culinary history as it sits on the eastern side of the Mediterranean. Many consider the Lebanese charcoal chicken as a star of the main course, something so simple yet leaves one craving for more. The garlicky flavor of the poultry rubbed with lemon, herbs, and other spices can make any Sunday barbeque extra special. It’s truly wonderful that one need not travel thousands of miles to get a taste of Lebanese cuisine. There are already restaurants in Sydney that serve it!
But Lebanese food is more than the best chicken and chips you’ve grown to know. As with Mediterranean cuisine, the influence came as far west in Italy and Spain to the Eurasian region where Turkey, Cyprus, and Lebanon reside. Here are some of the best Lebanese dishes you must try and they’re very healthy too!
When it comes to food from the Middle East, nothing is more iconic than the tahini and hummus. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. It is the base for many other dips and sauces in the Mediterranean and Lebanese cooking. While this can be easily bought from a store, many claim that homemade tahini is even better.
This is a no-brainer. Hummus – that creamy and savory dip made from tahini and chickpeas, is an absolute gem in Lebanese dining and food in the whole of the Mediterranean coast. Not only is hummus praised for being a healthy dish, it just goes so well with so many other dishes. But the eternal combination? Tear a piece of Levantine bread, wrap some charcoal chicken in, and dip into the hummus!
Baba Ghannouj / Baba Ganoush
Vegetarians know this so well. Baba ganoush is the relative of the hummus. It’s basically the same except that it is made from eggplant. It has tahini, lemon juice, and salt as well. The recipes vary slightly with some adding extra herbs and spices. But the flavor is the same with hummus, garlicky, smoky, and best paired with charcoal chicken and Levantine bread (or fries for the more Western palette!)
Tabouli / Tabbouleh
This is the salad that will balance all the creaminess and intense flavors coming from your dips, sauces, and chicken! Tabbouleh or tabouli is a refreshing ensemble of finely chopped cucumber, garlic, onions, lettuce, parsley, tomato, mint, and other herbs. The leafy ingredients may slightly differ but the olive oil and lemon juice are a staple. It’s a delightful summer salad, very light and healthy.