Mar 31st, 2021, 03:40 PM

Lebanese Dishes You Can Try at Home

By Maria Karkour
Image credit: Maria Karkour
Here are three recipes of Lebanese dishes, certified and approved by my family, that will satisfy your taste buds.

Spring weather will be amongst us soon and our tongue's sensory palette will be seeking refreshing flavors. So, of course, it’s easy to go to your usual grocery store and get yourself a plastic box that includes two spoons of hummus or three spoons of quinoa 'tabbouleh'…or as my grandmother would call it, "wannabe fake tabbouleh." But what if I told you that you could save some money on buying that 5€ plastic pack of hummus that will last you two days maximum and make your own Lebanese food at home?

Here are a few easy recipes of dishes that merge both healthiness and deliciousness. You can find these on my Lebanese teta's (grandmother) table at every gathering, if not every meal. 

These are some of my favorite meals, which remind me of a memory, a scent, a burst of laughter. They are the dishes that bring me back to those good times at my grandmother’s table. I hope this food will find its way onto your table and maybe one day take you back in time and remind you of a pleasant memory. A quick disclaimer, note that many measurements are approximate because that’s just how my grandmother told them to us.

  • Tabbouleh – تبولة 


Image credit: Maria Karkour 

On the right side of this picture, you can see this lovely salad with green, red, and white tones, that consists mainly of parsley, tomatoes, and onions. It's real tabbouleh! Fun fact, Lebanon holds the Guinness world record for the largest bowl of tabbouleh, weighing more than 3000 kilos. It’s a dish that is probably found in every household in Lebanon and on every Lebanese restaurant menu. The name comes from the tabbal, تَبَلَ which means, seasoning or to season.

Ingredients (4 servings)

- 2 bunches of parsley (about 400 grams)

- 2 medium-sized tomatoes

- 1 medium onion

- 1 tablespoon of bulghur (crushed wheat)

Don’t panic, it’s easy to find bulghur in every “oriental” grocery shop. But if you don’t have one close by, you can defy my grandmother's statement about quinoa tabbouleh and just substitute the bulghur with that couscous.

- 7 tablespoons of olive oil

- The juice of one lemon

- Salt


- The tabbouleh can be eaten with lettuce or cabbage leaves, that you dip into the salad.


Finely chop the parsley and do the same for the onion and tomatoes until they are thinly cut into small dices. Combine the vegetables in a big bowl. Then, wash the bulghur in a strainer and add it to the bowl where the vegetables are. Mix all these together with a spoon. Then just before serving, squeeze the juice of the lemon in the bowl, then add the seven tablespoons of olive oil and the pinch of salt to taste. And voilà. It’s as easy as that.

  • Baba Ghannouj – بابا غنوج


Image credit: Maria Karkour 

This dip’s name literally means, "the pampered father." I am not sure what is the reason behind this dubbing. My grandmother used to tell me the story of a kid that use to feed their toothless dad mashed vegetables, and one of those vegetables was eggplants. Another term for baba ghanouj is "batenjen bi tahini", meaning eggplant in sesame sauce which is mainly what the recipe consists of. So here are the two competitive dipping plates that you find in a Lebanese Meza, hummus on the left and baba ghanouj on the right. They are usually positioned on both ends of the table far away from each other because, for many Lebanese people, it’s an either-or situation. It’s either you like hummus, or you like baba ghanouj. If you can’t tell which one of the two is your favorite, you’re bluffing. It’s usually eaten as an appetizer but you can turn it into a main dish in itself. Hummus is much more popular, so maybe getting to know what baba ghanouj consists of is good for a change.


- 1 eggplant

- 1 garlic clove

- 1 lemon

- 4 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)

Don’t panic (again). It’s easy to find in every “oriental” grocery shop, or you could substitute it with Greek yogurt. It will have a different flavor but it’s still delicious.

- Salt

- Pepper

- Paprika

- Olive oil

Optional: Add mint leaves or parsley on top for extra taste and aesthetic pleasure to the eye.


Broil the eggplant in the oven with its skin still on. In the oven turn the eggplant from one side to the other every 10 minutes so that it is roasted on all sides. If you don’t have an oven, the same process is applicable for the stove. Turn on your stove and just place the eggplant in a pan on top of the heat until it's cooked evenly and softened. It's normally until you can see its skin has a slightly burned color. Then drop the eggplant in a bowl with cold water, which will make it easier for you to peel the skin off.

When that is done, take a bowl where you add the crushed garlic clove, the juice of the lemon, and the tahini or yogurt. Then mix all the ingredient until it’s well incorporated, then add the spices to taste.

Add the eggplant to the bowl and start mashing it in the mix you prepared earlier. Mix it all to combine it as much as possible.

Serve in a deep dish with a drizzle of olive oil on top and mint or parsley.

Cut cucumber or carrot to serve yourself. Pita bread also does the trick. 

  • Manakish - مناقيش


Image credit: Maria Karkour

Manakish in Lebanon can be eaten at any moment in the day, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it’s always satisfying to eat. Every Sunday morning, the house in Beirut would be filled with the smell of manakish freshly baked from the nearest furn, which is a bakery booth specialized in manakish. In Lebanon, you can buy a manousheh (singular of manakish) for about 2000 Lebanese pounds which are barely worth fifty centimes nowadays. In Paris, however, one manoushe would cost you about four to five euros per portion. So here is the recipe to have it homemade.



- 300 grams of flour (about 2 and ½ cups)

- 75 ml olive or vegetable oil

-150 ml of warm water

- 2 teaspoons of dry yeast

- ¼ teaspoon of salt

-¼ teaspoon of sugar


-Dried thyme mixed with olive oil and sesame seeds. You can even add chopped onions on top.

- Any type of cheese you have. Feta works really well, with fresh mint, tomatoes, and cucumber.


Put all the dried ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Mix it all together and then knead the dough until it gets a smooth consistency. Cover it with a damp towel and leave it to rest for half an hour.

Then separate dough into small or medium balls, depending on your preference. Flatten each one and add the cheese or thyme mix, you can even add both on one flattened dough as you see in the manoushe on the left side of the picture.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 7-10 minutes. If you don't have an oven, you can cook the flattened dough in a pan. 

When it’s out of the oven, you can add all the extra toppings and veggies you fancy.

You can even make it as a dessert and use chocolate with marshmallows as a topping for example. That’s what we use to do with my cousin when we were kids, and even still to this day.

Sahtein to you! "Bon Appetit" in Arabic.