The Lebanese cuisine has both Mediterranean and Arabic influences. The dishes are shared by the guests, just like at Tapas. In Lebanese cuisine they are called “Mezze”. Lebanese cuisine not only has delicacies of chicken, lamb, fish and nuts. A large part of the dishes are vegetarian. So there is something for everyone.
The Lebanese cuisine is a very healthy and refined cuisine, which is also extremely suitable for vegetarians. But what makes it so healthy? In this article we will elaborate on this. Do you read along?
Commonly used ingredients in Lebanese dishes are: yogurt, fresh mint, parsley, pomegranate, lemon, zucchini, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, onion, garlic and olive oil. All of them healthy ingredients.
As a vegetarian searching for meat substitutes is not always easy, but Lebanese cuisine certainly offers a solution through, among other things, the extensive use of legumes. The best-known vegetarian Lebanese cuisine is hummus.
In Lebanon, meat is not the most commonly used main ingredient, but is often present on the table in smaller quantities. Especially chicken and lamb. These are often spiced and filled on the table, rolled as minced meat in filo pastry or strung on skewers.
The chickpea is a legume and is widely used in Lebanese cuisine. Not only does this legume have the benefits that you would expect from any vegetable, but there are a number of major plus points. Let’s just list them all.
- They help to increase the feeling of satiety, promote digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Increase protection against metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
- The nutritional value of chickpeas is a powerful combination of proteins, vitamins and minerals.
- They are often included in many healing diets, including the Ayurvedic diet and the Mediterranean Lebanese recipes.
- They are part of popular recipes, which are eaten all over the world and is the main component of hummus.
Another super food that is widely used in Lebanese cuisine is pomegranate. Several studies have shown that the pomegranate is one of the most nutritious fruits. This fruit contains large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B (pantothenic acid), natural phenols, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E and folic acid. In addition, according to a study at the University of California, the fruit is rich in antioxidants, which counteract free radicals and slow cell aging.
Yellow, red, orange, green or brown: there are lentils in (almost) all colors of the rainbow. Lentils are full of iron, fiber and proteins. They are becoming increasingly popular and are used all over the world for delicious and nutritious meals. Lentils are, contrary to what many people think, not vegetables but legumes. Just like rice and potatoes, they contain starch. This starch gives us long-lasting energy and ensures good blood sugar levels. Lentils contain many trace elements and vegetable proteins, vitamins B and also a good dose of antioxidants.
Traditional Lebanese Spices
Have you noticed it yet? The Lebanese cuisines are hot! With ingredients such as pomegranate, za’atar and sumac you get a true taste experience. Many call Lebanese cuisine the best in the world, and for good reason. It is a very varied kitchen, rich in flavors, scents and colors. Traditional herbs are used and we have selected a few of the most important ones for you.
The basic ingredient of za’atar is a kind of wild oregano with the taste of thyme and oregano. Mmm! After drying, the herbs are crushed and mixed with sumac (dried sour berries) and sesame seeds. Za’atar is not only the name of the spice mix but also of the herb itself. The special spice mixture is used in various Lebanese dishes. For example, it is mixed with olive oil and used as a dip for bread, but vegetables, fish and meat are also seasoned with herbs.
Tahin is a pasta made from sesame seeds. Dishes such as hummus (chickpea puree) and Baba Ganoush cannot do without tahini. Tahin is also used as a sandwich filler. There is also a Syrian version of this fish dish. Hummus is also one of the most popular dishes around the world. Even Restaurants in New Brunswick also serve Hummmus with pride.
Sumac is a mixture of the various red berries of the sumac plant. For the spice, the berries are dried and then ground into a coarse powder. The taste is fresh-sour (almost like lemon), but even more aromatic. Sumak is also one of the main constituents for za’atar.
Cumin is often confused with caraway, which is also called wild cumin. The two herbs not only have almost the same name, they also look and taste almost the same: warm, spicy and anise-like. There is a difference: caraway tastes twice as strong and is sharper, while cumin is a bit more bitter.
The best part is, you can also try these dishes in your own hometown. Yes, Restaurants in New Brunswick offer the same great taste of Lebanese food, and Mediterranean fare with the freshest herbs and ingredients.
What is More Pupular in Lebanon
A nice fact to tell your guests at the table: the Romans often used it in love drinks, because they were convinced that this spice provided a loyal partner.
Breakfast in Lebanon
In Lebanon, breakfast is simple and very light. Often breakfast is even skipped by many people. The population that does have breakfast usually eats toasted bread with some jam. This usually involves drinking coffee, but tea or fruit juice is also a possibility.
Lunch in Lebanon
In Lebanon, lunch is the most important meal of the day. The whole family often eats together and they really take the time to do this. The lunch consists of many small snacks that can be compared to tapas from Spain. In Lebanon it is called Mezze. The snacks are usually well seasoned, but not too spicy. Fruit or baklava is the final dish that ends the lunch.
Drinks of Lebanon
Residents of Lebanon drink a lot of coffee with meals. In addition, people like to drink beer, wine or rack. Arak is a strong brandy made from palm, which is produced locally, and it is a typical drink from Lebanon. Arak used to be drunk a lot when the meat was eaten raw. Bacteria were killed by the alcohol. There is also lemonade that is drunk a lot. This is called jellab and is made from raisins and pine nuts.