Hummus is Yummus! Here Are 12 Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes to Make at Home
Middle Eastern cuisine is a delicious and diverse culinary tradition that offers a wide variety of dishes that are vegan by default, which makes ordering them at a restaurant or following a recipe at home super easy. And with its emphasis on fresh ingredients, bold spices, and complex flavor combinations, Middle Eastern food has something to offer everybody—whether you are a seasoned vegan or just looking to eat more plant-based meals.
Here are 12 of our favorite vegan Middle Eastern recipes:
Tofu Shawarma Skewers
Shawarma is a dish traditionally made with thin slices of meat (usually chicken or lamb) marinated in a blend of spices and roasted on a spit. The meat is then wrapped in pita bread with a variety of toppings and sauces. This dish is super fun to veganize, and some restaurants even offer vegan meat on a spit to recreate the traditional experience. This recipe uses a shawarma marinade so you can enjoy shawarma tofu at home.
A classic vegan dish made with ground chickpeas or fava beans that are mixed with herbs and spices, formed into balls or patties, and deep-fried. Falafel is often served in a pita wrap or on a plate with vegetables and sauces.
Fattoush is a fresh, tangy salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes dressed with a vinaigrette containing lemon juice and sumac. This recipe includes pomegranate.
A traditional Levantine dish, kibbeh is made with bulgur wheat, minced onions, and ground beef or lamb. The mixture is formed into balls or patties and can be served raw, fried, or baked. The classic dish can easily be veganized simply by subbing your favorite vegan ground meat for beef, as in this recipe.
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)
Warak enab is commonly found in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Greece. It is often served as an appetizer but can also be a main course. The grape leaves are traditionally filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes meat. The leaves are rolled around the filling and cooked, usually by boiling or steaming. Warak enab can be served hot or cold, and it is often accompanied by yogurt, tomato sauce, or tahini.
Baba ganoush is a dip made with roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. This delicious dish is similar in consistency to hummus and often served with pita.
Hummus is a classic dip made with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. In fact, it’s every new vegan’s rite of passage to put hummus on just about everything! Hummus is often served as an appetizer or a snack with pita or vegetables but works great as a spread for sandwiches too. There are tons of variations. This recipe uses roasted red peppers to give the hummus an extra kick.
Maklouba, also known as mahloubeh or “upside-down rice,” is a one-pot dish made with rice, chicken, and vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, and onions. The ingredients are layered in a pot and cooked together. This delicious and naturally gluten-free dish is one of Palestine’s national dishes.
Muhammara is a popular dip that originated in Syria. It’s made with roasted red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, garlic, and a blend of spices, such as cumin and Aleppo pepper. It can be served as a dip for pita bread or raw vegetables or used as a spread on sandwiches or crackers. The sweetness of the pomegranate molasses and the nutty flavor of the walnuts combine with the smoky roasted red peppers to create a complex and delicious flavor.
Tabouli is a popular salad made with parsley, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.
Similar to Greek baklava, Lebanese baklawa is a sweet, flaky pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and syrup flavored with rose and orange blossom water. This yummy dessert is often served with tea or coffee.
Koshari (also spelled “kushari” and “koshary”) is the national dish of Egypt made with brown lentils, rice, spicy tomato sauce, pasta, and crispy onions. Like many Middle Eastern staples, koshari is vegan by default, which makes finding and following a recipe easy. This one tweaks a classic recipe to make the dish as healthy as it is delicious.
These are just some of the many Middle Eastern dishes that are either already vegan or easily veganizable. Looking to spice up your life even more? Check out our list of plant-based seasonings that everyone needs in their cabinet!