Lebanon: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Lebanon Image

Lebanese cooking represents the heights of Middle Eastern cuisine. This is the Mediterranean diet at its best, with a heady mix of olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, beans and lean meats and fish. Many of the iconic Middle Eastern dishes -- falafel, shawarma, hummus, tabouli -- are basics of the table in this small country. Many meals are served as a variety of mezze, or little dishes. Lebanese sweets and pastries are famous around the world, followed up with a strong cup of coffee or bracing, anise-flavored arak.

Lebanese Recipes

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush Image

(Middle Eastern eggplant dip)

Baba ghanoush is a very popular appetizer and dip in the Middle East. Its smoky, rich flavor of the eggplant goes well with wedges of pita bread or with raw vegetables. Try using it as a sandwich spread or rolled up in wraps. Read more »

Dibs Rumman

(Middle Eastern pomegranate molasses; see Rob e-Anar recipe)


Sides | Falafel Image

(Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties)

Falafel is the original veggie burger and is a common dish throughout the Middle East. It is found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and is especially popular with Palestinians. In Egypt it is known as tamiyah or taamiyah. Israelis sometimes call it the "national food of Israel." Read more »


(Arab tomato and cucumber and bread salad; see Horiatiki Salata variations)

Hummus bi Tahina

Appetizers | Hummus bi Tahina

(Middle Eastern chickpea and sesame dip)

Hummus is popular appetizer, or meze, throughout the Middle East. Serve with grilled or toasted pita bread cut into wedges. Or use as a sandwich or wrap spread. Read more »


Meats | Kefta Image

(Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)

Spiced meatballs are common in one form or another from Morocco in the west through the Middle East (kefta or kufta), to Greece (keftedes), Turkey (köfte), Armenia (kyufta), Iran (kufteh, or koofteh) and all the way to India (kofta) in the east. All names for these little balls of wonder derive from the Persian verb kuftan, which means "to grind." Read more »


(Middle Eastern cultured milk; see Yogurt recipe)


(Middle Eastern lemonade; see Lemonade recipe)

Loubieh bi Zayt

(Lebanese green beans and tomatoes; see Fassolakia recipe)


Sauces | Muhammara Image

(Middle Eastern spicy roasted pepper dip)

Muhummara is popular condiment and dip in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria. Serve muhummara with grilled meats, fish and kebabs, or as a spread or dip for bread or pita. In western Turkey it is called acuka. Other spellings are moohummara or muhammarah. Read more »


Breads | Pita Image

(Mediterranean pocket bread)

Pita bread is common throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Versions of this simple round loaf are found from Northern Africa to as far east as India. The popularity of pita, also known as khoubz araby, is said to have been spread eastward and westward by the conquering armies of Alexander the Great. Read more »


Sandwiches | Shawarma Image

(Middle Eastern spiced meat sandwich)

Shawarma is popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean and is sometimes called the Middle Eastern taco. It originated in northwestern Turkey as döner kebab, which reached its current form and popularity with the Turkish population in Germany. The shawarma sandwich is now found in a variety of forms around the world. Read more »


Salads | Tabouli Image

(Middle Eastern bulgur and parsley salad)

An easy, refreshing and healthy Middle Eastern salad, tabouli is made of bulgur wheat, finely chopped parsley and scallions dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil. The dish goes by various spellings including tabbouleh, taboule, taboulleh, tabouleh, and tabboulleh. Read more »


Sauces | Taratour Image

(Middle Eastern sesame sauce)

Taratour is a favorite sauce in the Eastern Mediterranean. Serve it with shawarma, fish, falafel, kefta or over vegetables. Sometimes spelled taratoor, taratur or tarator. Read more »


Sauces | Zaatar

(Middle Eastern spice blend)

Secret homemade spice mixtures have flavored the food of the Middle East for millenia. Foremost among these is the blend called zaatar. This mix of local herbs, sumac berries and sesame seeds is an all-purpose condiment. Sprinkle zaatar over bread, vegetables or yogurt. Stir it into olive oil as a spread. Or use it as a rub for meat, poultry or fish. Read more »