Lebanese street food is a safe choice for a tasty meal, but sometimes we crave something more authentic and traditional. That’s why I’ve put together a list of 20 mouth-watering dishes from Libanese cuisine that are often overlooked outside of Lebanon and the Middle East.
Forget the usual suspects like tabbouleh and hummus, and skip the popular falafel and shawarma. These are authentic dishes that were passed down from village grandmothers and have variations throughout the Levant region.
So, whether you’re enjoying a cozy night in or celebrating a special occasion, try one of these lesser-known but delicious traditional dishes that are sure to impress.
Here is the list of 20 best Lebanese dishes:
Table of Contents
1. The Cream of Kecheck
It is a soup prepared with boulghour (cracked wheat) and goat yoghurt (or cow yoghurt depending on the villages where it was made) that has been dehydrated and reduced to a very fine powder; as well as garlic sautéed in butter…
Kecheck tastes absolutely amazing, strange, almost disturbing and yet divine. This is not a neophyte’s dish, its texture and taste are not accessible to unseasoned palates.
It is a real peasant soup, ultra rich, which provides a particular and immeasurably unique pleasure.
2. Lebanese moussaka
In the same genre as the previous dish, the Lebanese moussaka is a vegetarian dish with eggplant, tomato, and chickpeas.
The Lebanese moussaka and the sheikh el mehchi are two dishes so succulent that the eggplant is incredibly sublimated, to the point of transforming any aubergine-skeptic into true vegetarian.
This dish is eaten both hot and cold. But hey, “Moussaka” means “Cold” in Arabic, so…
3. Sheikh el Mehchi
Eggplant stuffed with minced meat cooked Lebanese style. It’s a typical grandma’s meal and, you can believe me, it’s finger licking good. One of my favorite dishes.
This dish is made from white beans and is found in various forms across the Arab world and the Balkans.
Like many Lebanese dishes, Fassolia fits the theme of being both ultra-rich and ultra-healthy at the same time. However, it’s important to practice moderation when enjoying this delicious stew.
5. Molokhia– Lebanese spinach
One of the musts of grandmother’s cooking is Molokhia, also known as “Lebanese spinach”.
It’s actually vegetable dish (and not spinach per se), which is cooked in such a way as to visually give a stew of greenish leaves, served with chicken and vermicelli rice.
6. Mujaddara- Lebanese lentil rice
A vegetarian dish made with lentil rice (Mjaddara or Mujaddara) covered with caramelized onions which brings a succulent taste to this dish.
This peasant dish exists both in solid form and in puree. And contrary to its unsavory look, believe me, it’s a pure delight.
El Moghrabieh, literally “The North African” in Arabic, is precisely a kind of Levantine couscous. Much heavier than the previous dishes, for once, but which has its followers.
8. Stuffed vine leaves
Stuffed vine leaves are a typical and ancestral dish of the Lebanese diet .
Not only are grape leaves anti-inflammatory, but they are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C and K, and folate, iron, manganese and magnesium. Healthy and tastes really good.
9. Koussa Mahshi
Koussa is a typically ancestral Lebanese dish, made with stuffed zucchini. A pure delight and healthy.
10. Riz a djej -Rice with Chicken
A festive dish or a Sunday family meal, chicken rice is one of the traditional Lebanese dishes. It is distinguished by the pine nuts that often adorn it.
It is a particularly healthy dish, which allows you to fill up on protein and good carbohydrates, provided you opt for a good basmati rice.
11. Kebbeh bi Laban
Another ultra-nutritious, elaborate dish typical of the Lebanese countryside: kebbeh.
It’s a variation of the previous dish, except that instead of meat, we choose kebbeh, these dumplings made from a mixture of bulgur and lamb or raw ground beef topped with cooked ground meat.
12. Laban Emmo- Shakriye
Laban Emmo, literally “mother’s yoghurt”, is a particularly tasty leg of lamb. It is a super rich dish, typical of Lebanese mothers.
13. Daoud Basha
Minced meatballs (lamb or beef), pine nuts, vermicelli rice and tomato and onion based sauce. The dish must be successful, otherwise it may be a bit heavy.
14. Samkeh Harra -Spicy fish
Samkeh harra is a typical dish from the Lebanese coast, made with fish (pollock or line-caught hake), cooked with onion fondue, tomatoes, sesame cream, spiced to your taste with a hint of harissa .
It is an ultra-healthy dish, typical of the Mediterranean diet.
15. Kafta bil Sanieh
Literally, “Kafta in the dish”, Kafta bil sanieh is a dish made from minced meat with herbs, served with potatoes, tomatoes, and incidentally vermicelli rice.
There, we enter the theme of the ultra-satisfying, rich and complete, it is the kind of dishes of a Lebanese mothers make.
16. Loubieh Bi zeit
Flat beans in sauce that can be eaten cold or hot, with or without rice, according to your desires. Like many other Lebanese dishes, it is a vegetarian dish, and it couldn’t be more healthy!
The Lebanese fatteh is one of the components of the mezze. It is a yogurt-based sauce with tahina (sesame cream), garlic, and flavored with spices and dried mint, all served with cooked chickpeas.
This is a particularly nutritious dish.
Admittedly, the Jelleb is not a dish. But I had to share this ultra-refreshing drink with you. Mix grape molasses with water, ice cubes and a handful of pine nuts. So Lebanese…
A kind of oriental cheesecake, the Knafeh is a dessert made with cheese, kadaif and syrup flavored with orange blossom or rose water. Consumed in the Middle East, this dessert is an absolute killer… To be consumed in moderation, of course!
20. Kibbeh nayeh
A raw meat tartare, decorated with cracked wheat (bulgur), onions, mint and spices (pepper, cumin, cinnamon). The whole thing is usually pounded again and served with olive oil, fresh mint and white onions and eaten with pita bread.