Levantine cuisine

Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant.

Ottoman Syria (in purple) rest of visible Ottoman Empire (red)

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Levantine cuisine is meze including tabbouleh, hummus and baba ghanoush.

Levantine dishesEdit

Fattoush is a Levantine pita bread salad that includes mixed greens and other vegetables[1]
  • Arabic coffee (قهوة عربية)—made from finely ground coffee beans with cardamom
  • Awameh (عوامة)—a fried-dough Levantine pastry similar to doughnut holes, made of deep-fried dough soaked in sugar syrup or honey and cinnamon, sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds
  • Baba ghanoush (بابا غنوج)—a dip made from baked, mashed eggplant mixed with lemon, garlic, olive oil and various seasonings
  • Baklava (بقلاوة)—a dessert made of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in syrup
  • Bamia (بامية)—a stew prepared with chunks of lamb meat with okra in a tomato-based sauce, served over rice
  • Basbousa (بسبوسة)—a Middle-Eastern small, sweet cake of cooked semolina soaked in rose water syrup, topped with almonds or walnuts
  • Challah (חלה)—a Jewish egg-bread, primarily eaten on Shabbat and holidays
  • Dolma (محشي)—vegetables, typically aubergines, courgettes, onions, peppers or tomatoes, stuffed with minced meat and rice
  • Falafel (فلافل)—spiced mashed chickpeas formed into balls or fritters and deep fried, usually eaten with or in pita bread with hummus
  • Fasoulia (فاصوليا)—a stew prepared with white beans and meat served over rice
  • Fatteh (فتّة)—chicken over rice, topped with yogurt and pita bread
  • Fattoush (فتوش)—a salad of chopped cucumber, radish, tomato and other vegetables, with fried or toasted pita bread
  • Freekeh (فريكة)—a cereal food made from green durum wheat that is roasted and rubbed to create its flavour, then served with cumin, cinnamon, and fresh lamb-tail fat
  • Ful medames (فول مدمس)—ground fava beans and olive oil
  • Ful medames salad (سلطة فول مدمس)—a salad with fava beans, chopped tomatoes, onion, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and salt
  • Halva (حلاوة)—a flour- or nut-based confection including fruit or nuts
  • Hamin—a Jewish stew made with beef, chickpeas, beans, chicken stock, spices, lemon juice, garlic, barley, yellow potato, white onion, and sweet potato
  • Hummus (حمّص)—a thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and olive oil, lemon, and garlic; also common in Egypt
  • Hummus salad (سلطة حمص)—an Arab salad with cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, olive oil, and cumin
  • Jerusalem mixed grill (מעורב ירושלמי)—chicken hearts, spleens and livers mixed with bits of lamb cooked on a flat grill, seasoned with onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, olive oil and coriander
  • Ka'ak (كعك)—a type of biscuit/cookie shaped into a ring, occasionally sprinkled with sesame seeds
  • Kabsa (كبسة)—a rice-based dish commonly eaten with meat, lamb or chicken, cooked in a variety of spices and topped with nuts over rice
  • Kanafeh (كنافة)—a dessert made with shredded filo and melted cheese soaked in a sugary syrup
  • Kebab (كباب)—a dish of ground beef or lamb, grilled or roasted on a skewer
  • Kebab karaz (كباب كرز)—a type of kebab made of lamb meatballs in a cherry-based broth with pine nuts and sour cherries over pita bread
  • Kibbeh (كبة)—a dumpling-like dish of ground lamb with bulgur wheat or rice and seasonings, eaten cooked or raw
  • Kibbeh nayyeh (كبة نيئة)—a mezze of minced raw meat mixed with fine bulgur and various seasonings
  • Kousa mahshi (كوسا محشي)—courgettes baked and stuffed with minced meat and rice in a tomato-based sauce
  • Labneh (لبنة)—yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey; most popular as a breakfast food
  • Lentil soup (شوربة عدس)—may be vegetarian or include meat, using brown, red, yellow or black lentils, with or without the husk
  • Levantine salad[clarification needed]—a salad of diced tomato, cucumber, onion, sometimes parsley, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil; other popular salads include artichoke salad, beet salad, avocado salad, fattoush and tabouli
  • Limonana (ليمون نعناع)—lemonade made from freshly-squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves
  • Ma'amoul (معمول)—semolina shortbread cookies filled with dates or walnuts, commonly sprinkled with sugar
  • Makdous (مكدوس)—stuffed oil-cured baby aubergines
  • Malfouf salad (سلطة ملفوف)—a salad of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and mint
  • Manakish (مناقيش)—a pizza-like flatbread garnished with minced meat, thyme or za'atar, commonly eaten for breakfast or dinner
  • Mansaf (منسف)—lamb or chicken cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served over rice
  • Maqluba (مقلوبة)—a rice-based casserole with meat, rice, and fried vegetables in a pot, which is flipped upside down when served, hence the name, which literally translates as "upside-down"
  • Markook (مرقوق)—a thin, unleavened flatbread baked on an iron griddle known as saj
  • Mfarakeh (مفركة)—an Arab dish made of potato, egg, ghee, cumin powder, salt and pepper, with chopped coriander leaf as garnish
  • Muhammara (محمرة)—a hot pepper dip made from fresh or dried peppers, breadcrumbs, olive oil, spices and ground walnuts
  • Mujaddara (مجدرة)—cooked lentils with groats, generally rice, garnished with sautéed onions
  • Mulukhiyah (ملوخية)—a stew cooked with mallow leaves, mucillagenous like okra, eaten with chicken in a thick broth
  • Musakhan (مسخّن)—a classic Palestinian dish, a whole roasted chicken baked with onions, sumac, allspice, saffron, and fried pine nuts served over taboon bread
  • Pita (خبز عربي)—a soft, slightly leavened flatbread baked from wheat flour
  • Ptitim (פתיתים)—literally "flakes", a type of toasted pasta shaped like rice grains, developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce
  • Qamar al-Din (قمر الدين)—a thick, cold apricot drink typically served during the month of Ramadan
  • Qarymutah (القريموطة), a simple way to prepare bulgur in rural areas of Homs, Hama and Salamiyah. Bulgur is cooked with vegetables and wrapped in grape leaves
  • Qatayef (قطايف)—a dessert commonly served during the month of Ramadan, a sweet dumpling filled with cream or nuts
  • Qidreh (قدرة)—a lamb stew with chickpeas, garlic and spices, commonly served over rice
  • Quzi (قوزي)—a hearty dish of roasted lamb with raisins, nuts and spices over rice or wrapped in taboon bread
  • Raheb (سلطة راهب)—a salad with aubergines and tomatoes, popular in the Middle East.
  • Sabich (סביח)—an Israeli sandwich, in pita, filled with eggplant, spices, salads, hard-boiled eggs, and amba
  • Sambusac (سمبوسك)—a triangular savory pastry fried in ghee or oil with spiced vegetables or meat
  • Sfiha (صفيحة)—open-faced meat pies made with ground mutton, lamb or beef
  • Shanklish (شنكليش)—cow's or sheep's milk cheese formed into balls, rolled in Aleppo pepper and za'atar, then aged and dried
  • Shashlik (شاشليك)—skewered and grilled cubes of meat
  • Shawarma (شاورما)—roasted meat, cooked on a revolving spit and shaved for serving in sandwiches
  • Shish kebab (شيش كباب)—grilled or roasted chunks of meat on a skewer, commonly served over flatbread or rice
  • Sumaghiyyeh (سماقية)—ground sumac is soaked in water then mixed with tahina (sesame-seed paste), water and flour, added to sautéed chopped chard, pieces of slow-stewed beef, and garbanzo beans
  • Tabbouleh (تبولة)—a salad of bulgur mixed with finely chopped parsley, minced onions and tomatoes
  • Tahini (طحينة)—condiment made of ground and hulled sesame seeds, primary ingredient baba ghanoush and hummus
  • Tepsi (تبسي بيتنجان)— a casserole baked with minced meat, aubergine, potato and tomato slices, served with pickles, rice and salad
  • Toum (توم)—a paste containing garlic, olive oil and salt, typically used as a dip
  • Warbat (وربات)—a sweet pastry with thin layers of phyllo pastry filled with custard, popularly eaten during Ramadan
  • Za'atar (زَعْتَر)—a condiment of dried herbs mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices
  • Zalabia (زلابية)—a fried dough pastry shaped as balls or discs, often dipped in a sweet syrup
  • Zibdieh (زبدية)—a clay-pot dish of shrimp baked in a stew of olive oil, garlic, hot peppers, and peeled tomatoes

Geographical varieties of Levantine cuisineEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wright, 2003, p. 241


  • Wright, Clifford A. (2003). Little foods of the Mediterranean: 500 fabulous recipes for antipasti, tapas, hors d'oeuvre, meze, and more (Illustrated ed.). Harvard Common Press. ISBN 1-55832-227-2.

Further readingEdit

  • Sami Zubaida, "National, Communal and Global Dimensions in Middle Eastern Food Cultures" in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4, p. 35.
  • Jean Bottéro, The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia, University of Chicago Press, 2004, ISBN 0226067343

External linksEdit