How to order Middle Eastern food-
The base to much Middle Eastern food consists of whole food staples such as sesame seeds, chickpeas, dates, rice, grains, honey, sumac and herbs. These all happen to be plant-based with plenty of opportunity to enjoy traditional dishes from Israel, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Egypt (and more) within the Whole food, plant-based guidelines. The Middle East is historically very important when it comes to food as fermentation was discovered in the area in order to leaven bread and make beer. The earliest recipes on record also come from this area and wheat was first cultivated there (followed by rye, barley, lentils, beans, pistachios, figs, pomegranates and dates). These ingredients are fundamental for preparing food all over the world and contribute to a balanced, healthy diet. You’ll also find that little to no Middle Eastern dishes include pork because it is against both the Jewish and Muslim religion.
When eating out, we always encourage our users to communicate with their server and make clear that they do not wish to have animal products or oils in any of their dishes.A conversation about removing sauces or having them on the side, adding in some extra greens or replacing an ingredient for something else is all possible if you clearly communicate your dietary guidelines and wishes.
Within the Middle Eastern cuisine, see below for some of our favourite dishes so that you know what to order next time you visit a restaurant. The dishes in Italic are the most low-calorie options.
-Harissa roasted root vegetables and chickpeas
-Grilled Eggplant stacks
-Hummus, tahini dip or Baba ganoush with fresh Pitta bread
-Pomegranate Pilaf rice
-Roasted carrots with Za’atar
-Roasted eggplant soup
-Persian rice with saffron
-Lebanese chickpea stew
-Puy lentil Tabbouleh salad
-Whole roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce
-Stuffed Bulgur eggplant with chermoula
-Mushroom and fermented vegetable shawarma
-Kibbeh with pine nuts
As well as enjoying these dishes when you’re out and about, we recommend the recipe book Vegan Dishes from The Middle Eastby Parvin Razavi to inspire you to cook them from home.