Are you looking to try Lebanese food for the first time? Or, perhaps, you are looking for some inspiration of new and different dishes that you can try?
If either of these is the case, then welcome to our guide to Lebanese food! Below, we have included some insanely good recipe ideas for you to try.
From dishes to include in your very own Lebanese mezze platter, to lunch or brunch ideas, a selection of main dishes and even desserts. You will, hopefully, find something that you will enjoy below.
Table of Contents
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Of course, when we are talking about Lebanese mezze’s, the very first dish that may come to mind is hummus. Not only is it one of Lebanon’s most famous dishes, but it is essentially a cornerstone of the Lebanese cuisine. And, luckily for us, it is incredibly easy to make! Perfect as an additional mezze, dip on the side of your meal or even to be put in sandwiches. It is incredibly versatile.
Perhaps you are looking for something a little more complex in flavor compared to hummus. If so, then the muhammara dip is perfect for you. Combining sweet and smoky roasted red peppers with the spice of chilli flakes provides this rather simple dish with many complex layers of flavors. Yet another perfect addition to any Lebanese mezze board.
No cuisine is complete without its own personal take of this classic dish, the yogurt dip. In Lebanese cuisine, it is called labneh, and it is a staple for chefs and cooks around the country, especially when it comes to mezze’s. It’s fresh and minty taste makes it the perfect dip for vegetables and breads alike, and it is really easy to make.
4. Baba Ganoush
The final dip recipe that has been selected to feature on our list of Lebanese food is the very popular baba ganoush. For those familiar with baba ganoush, then you will know that it is actually quite similar to hummus, especially in terms of how it looks. But, by choosing the right recipe, baba ganoush can actually be levels above hummus in terms of flavor complexity. A true baba ganoush has layers of smoky flavors, through the roasting of egg plants, that you just cannot resist.
After reading about our selection of dips, which all would make perfect additions to any mezze board, you may be wondering about what to accompany them with. Well, you cannot create a recipe guide to any Middle Eastern country without including a recipe on flatbread, and Lebanese is no different. Whether it is a side to a main dish, or to accompany a variety of dips and sauces, flatbread is a cornerstone of Lebanese food. If you are a novice when it comes to making bread, do not worry, flatbread is one of the easiest forms of bread to make and we have linked a super simple recipe for you above. You can even level up your flatbread by adding a variety of herbs and spices to the dough mixture, depending on what other dishes your flatbread may be accompanying.
6. Pita Chips
If you are not a lover of traditional bread, then we have the perfect alternative for you, especially if you are looking for a side for the various dips that we have linked above. Homemade pita chips are not only the perfect dipping food, but it is also claimed by many that they are also the perfect snack. Especially since they are considered to be healthier than traditional chips. They are both super easy to make and are easily customizable, as you can add your very own selection of seasoning, herbs and spices to give them their very own unique flavor.
Yet another one of Middle Eastern cuisine’s most popular dishes, falafel, also originates from Lebanon as well. Not only is this one of the most popular dishes in Lebanese food, but it is also one of its most diverse. Many restaurants will serve falafel balls as part of a mezze selection, which you can easily recreate at home, but you can also use any leftover falafel and use them within sandwiches, wraps or even as part of your favorite salad. They are also vegetarian, and are a very popular substitute at that, and very easy to make.
Moving away from our selection of mezze recipe ideas, we have za’atar manaqish. This popular breakfast or brunch dish is considered to be the Middle Eastern version of pizza, but healthier. Now, depending on where you are from, you may believe it to be quite strange that one might consider to consume a variety of pizza for breakfast. But in many countries, especially those in the Middle East, it is actually the norm to have a savory breakfast compared to the sugary or cereal based ones seen throughout other countries. Za’atar manaqish combines earthy flavors and textures, with the dough and morish flatbread to create the perfect dish to wake up to in the morning. So, if you want to switch it up for breakfast, and try something new, why not give this a go?
9. Shorbet Adas
Shorbet adas, which is a Lebanese lentil soup recipe, is one of our recipe suggestions for either lunch time or a light dinner. You may be aware that lentils are actually a very popular cooking ingredient in Lebanese food. This is mostly due to the fact that you can buy it in bulk and for a reasonable price. Due to this, Lebanese cooks have had to create various different methods and recipes in which to cook lentils in order to make each dish different from those that have been before. And, one of the most popular recipes to come out of this, is shorbet adas. It is actually considered to be a comfort food in Lebanon, with many families opting to make it during Ramadan and colder months. This is due to the layers of spices and thickness of the soup. Maybe shorbet adas will be your new favourite winter warmer.
If you are vegan, or cooking for one, then why not try this Lebanese Chickpea Stew? It has warming spices and smoky flavors which makes it the perfect winter dish. Chickpeas are yet another very popular ingredient in Lebanese cooking, and, similar to lentils, you will want to know as many recipes as possible in order to vary the dishes that you can create with them. Whereas a shorbet adas can be quite spicy, this Lebanese chickpea stew tends to be more fragrant and warming rather than spicy, and therefore perfect for those that do not like quite a lot of spice in their dishes.
Yet another one of Lebanon’s famous dishes that you may have heard of, tabbouleh, is enjoyed the world over as a fresh bulgur and herb salad. Perfect as a lunch dish, or on the side of your main at dinner, you have to try tabbouleh if you want an authentic taste of Lebanese food. It is packed full of healthy ingredients, from cucumber and tomato to your favorite leafy greens, with a healthy dressing.
While tabbouleh is a very popular and just as healthy salad, some people may wish to have a greater substance within their salad dishes and that is where fattoush comes in. Fattoush is also known as a Lebanese bread salad and is actually rapidly growing in popularity in restaurants all around the world. Originating from southern Lebanon, fattoush is known for its earthy and rich flavors and is usually made with seasonal vegetables, therefore making it a ‘no rules’ salad that you can make your own.
Perfect for a light dinner meal, kibbeh are little mini meat croquettes that you can serve with a variety of dips, perhaps even one of the dips that we have mentioned above. You could even prepare these kibbeh’s as part of a Mezze platter. They are packed full of all the best Middle Eastern spices and flavors, and it is definitely a dish to try if you are a meat lover. The recipe linked above recommends serving kibbeh with a yogurt-like dip, so maybe consider pairing it with the labneh dip mentioned above.
14. Warak Enab
Yet another famous dish from Lebanese cuisine, warak enab which is also known as Lebanese stuff vine leaves, is yet another classic dish from the Middle Eastern region. Taking the vibrant green vine leaves, you traditionally stuff them with a fragrant spicy ground beef and rice concoction. You can either serve this as an appetizer, or as part of a mezze selection.
For those that may be looking for a fish alternative, then look no further. You may really enjoy the Lebanese dish, sayadieh. Made popular by its caramelized onions and warming spices, this is the perfect dish for fish lovers. You can even choose your personal favorite white fish, as sayadieh has been made with a variety of species of fish from cod to halibut previously.
Maghmour, also known as Lebanese Moussaka, which you may know as a famous Greek dish, is a traditional dish that is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Actually, you may be interested to know that the Greek version of moussaka may not actually be the original version, but that the Lebanese version came first. It is considered to be a classic comfort food dish in Lebanon, and perfect to feed all the family as well as being brilliant to keep you warm during the winter months.
A very popular southern Lebanese dish, which is perfect for vegetarians, kamounit banadoura is full of healthy ingredients with an abundance of health benefits. Quite similar to a couscous, kamounit banadoura is alternatively made with bulgur wheat and can be quite filling. The beautiful home-style dish is perfect for all the family and with its incredible flavors and textures, everyone will enjoy it.
Out of all the various Lebanese dishes, the one you may have heard of is shawarma. Made internationally popular by Tony Stark in the Avengers movies, chicken shawarma is a delicious Lebanese dish that is also quite easy to make yourself at home. Quite similar to a kebab, with many cuisines having their own version of this dish, it is a take-away favorite but also incredibly easy to make at home for yourself (and much healthier).
You have now reached the dessert portion of our Lebanese recipe guide. The first one we have for you is mahalebia, which is perfect for when you are looking for a light dessert to finish your Lebanese feast, and you do not want anything too heavy. This delicious milk-based Lebanese dessert, with its crunchy pistachios topping, is also incredibly easy and quick to make. So when you have had a long day of cooking, you do not have to spend the rest of your time crafting a dessert, this is perfect!
On the other hand, you may have quite the sweet tooth and would much rather prefer a slightly more substantial dessert. If this is the case, then why not try Awamat? These delicious small crispy doughnut balls are perfect to end the night with a little sweet treat and, due to their small size, you can have as many or as little as you wish to. Their sweet syrupy, but also crispy outside, contrasts with their soft and spongy inside, making them truly the most perfect dessert.
The final dessert that we have included within our guide to Lebanese food, is shaabiyat. Rather similar to baklava, which is very popular, particularly in Greek and Turkish cooking, shaabiyat could be considered to be the Lebanese version. Made with crunchy filo pastry, and a creamy filling with hints of rose and orange, top with crumbled pistachios, this dessert is an absolute dream.
And that concludes our list of 21 Lebanese foods that you absolutely must try. Whether it is a quick meal idea, party food or you simply wish to try something new and different, the Lebanese cuisine has it all! Especially since some of the most famous and popular Middle Eastern dishes actually were created in Lebanon itself.
I’m Maria and I love cooking—and mostly EATING—food from all around the world. I’ve been sharing my abuela’s secret Latin-American recipes for the last 7 years with the world on this blog. I’ve been a full-time food blogger for many years and I’m always trying new delicious meals that don’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef. I also love traveling, cats, and knitting.