Middle Eastern Inspired Plant-Based Recipes:
Middle Eastern cuisine or West Asian cuisine includes Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azerbaijani, Cypriot, Egyptian, Georgian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli, Kurdish, Lebanese, Palestinian and Turkish cuisines. Common ingredients include olives and olive oil, pitas, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint, rice and parsley, and popular dishes include kebabs, dolmas, falafel, baklava, yogurt, doner kebab, shawarma and mulukhiyah
People living in Middle Eastern and West Asian countries consume a “Middle East” cuisine, a unique diet comprised primarily of hummus, falafel, tahini, tabouleh, baklava, pita bread, baba ghannouj, foul mudammes and lokum.
The specialty of the cuisine of Middle East countries is the use the local herbs and spices. Nutmeg, caraway, cumin, turmeric, parsley, and mint add flavors to the dishes. Saffron, the most expensive in the world, is added in many dishes for its flavor and color.
Very few dishes are fried; grilling or baking are the preferred (and healthier!) methods of cooking. These techniques help minimize a dish’s calories while still adding flavor.
Middle Eastern Inspired (Lebanese) Mushroom Shawarma
|Option #1 Spice Mixture|
1 tbsp sweet paprika1.5 tsp allspice2 tsp cumin1 tsp turmeric1 tsp cinnamon1 tsp garlic powder1 tsp onion powder½ tsp ground ginger1 T Sweetener (Maple Syrup, Agave, Date Syrup)½ tsp Aleppo pepper or hot pepper flakes (optional)
|Option #2 Spice Mixture|
½ tsp turmeric2T Cumin1 tsp coriander½ tsp blk pepper¼ tsp white pepper2 tsp garlic powder 1tsp onion powder½ tsp cloves3 crushed garlic cloves 1 tsp thyme1 tsp rosemary
- 1 Pound of Mushrooms Sliced, Torn or Whole (Portobello, Shitake, Oyster, etc)
- 1 Onion (Red or White) Sliced thinly
- Spice Mixture above (3-4 Tablespoons)
- 2 T Lemon Juice
- 1-2 T Oil
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Chopped Cilantro and/or Mint (Optional)
- OVEN ROAST 400 degrees – Place the portobello mushrooms and onions on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the spice mixture; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer and place the tomatoes cut-side up on the baking sheet. Roast until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes (Rotate halfway through).
- SAUTE – Add a touch of oil to your heated pan. Place onions in a pan and caramelize, then set aside. In a bowl, drizzle Mushrooms with 1-2 tablespoons of oil, and the spice mixture; toss to coat. Heat your pan, add your seasoned mushrooms to your pan. Saute until caramelized. Deglaze pan with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add back in the onions.
Optional: Drain 1 can of Garbanzo beans and drizzle with Oil and a few spoonfuls of Seasoning Mixture. Roast in a 400 Degree oven for 30 min.
- 1 cucumber, grated and drain
- 1 cup unsweetened plain plant based yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Mix all the ingredients above in a bowl
- 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or additional white vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
- Pack the onions into a 1-pint mason jar or similar heat-safe vessel. Place the jar in the sink, to catch any splashes of hot vinegar later.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, both vinegars, sugar, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat to dissolve sugar, then carefully pour the mixture into the jar over the onions.
- Use a butter knife or spoon to press the onions down into the vinegar and pop any air bubbles in the jar. Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes), at which point they should be sufficiently pickled for serving.
- Cover and refrigerate leftover pickled onions for later. Quick-pickled onions are best consumed within three days, but they keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Pita, Cherry Tomatoes, Pickled Onions, Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Drizzle with Tzatziki
- Serve on top of Hummus with Roasted Chickpeas and Pickled Onions
Lebanese Inspired Zucchini Fritters
- 2 medium Zucchini, about 2 cups shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Vegan Eggs (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of warm water to replace 1 egg)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion- halved
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if necessary
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Make your vegan egg and set aside
- Shred the zucchini in your food processor fitted with the shredding disk (or on a box grater). Transfer the zucchini to a fine mesh strainer and set over a bowl. Wring all of the excess liquid out of the zucchini with your hands, then set aside
- In a medium bowl, whisk the vegan eggs, salt and ground black pepper.
- Chop or Puree (Food Processor) Onion and Garlic.
- Combine the shredded zucchini, vegan eggs, pureed onion and garlic mixture. Mix well until combined.
- Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the mixture and stir until uniformly incorporated. (If the batter is too loose sprinkly additional flour)
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop 2-tablespoon sized portions into the pan, then use the back of a spoon to gently press the batter into 2-inch-wide fritters.
- Pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary, then repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately hot (or cold) with a dollop of plant based sour cream or yougurt, your favorite dipping sauce and lemon wedges.
OVEN BAKED Method
- Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Follow instructions above 1- 6
- Place a Spoonful of the mixture on the pan and create a patty.
- If the mixture is too liquid add more flour.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them once midway through. They are ready when both sides are nicely browned and they are cooked through.