Being dairy free and eating out is not always the easiest thing hence this list of twelve vegan Arabic mezze. Why twelve? Because ten is not enough (they are all so good!). Having lived in Dubai for the past six and a half years I have eaten at my fair share of restaurants and, baring vegan places, eating at Arabic restaurants is sometimes the easiest option when having to avoid dairy. Did you know that a lot of Arabic mezze are already vegan and by extension dairy free?
So let us take a little journey through the amazing and delicious world of vegan Arabic mezze. Just a note though it is good to check first especially if you have any serious allergies. The reason for this is that just because the traditional recipe may be vegan or dairy free that does not mean that someone else’s interpretation will be. For example I once had a Baba Ganoush in Switzerland and for some reason there was mayonnaise in it! Yes mayonnaise.
Twelve Vegan Arabic Mezze
- Hummus: this little power house is on literally every list of vegan, healthy, dairy free, gluten free, unicorn approved foods and with good reason. It is delicious, nutritious and super versatile. Plus it is so easy to make yourself.
- Falafel: just like our friend hummus these balls of joy are also made from chickpeas. Dip them hot in tahini or have them in a wrap they are great! They are so popular that entire restaurants are devoted to them.
- Fatoush: this is a lovely Levantine bread salad made with mixed greens and other vegetables and deep fried pieces of Arabic flat bread. The sauce contains sumac (which I adore) and pomegranate molasses.
- Tabouleh: probably not something I would eat on a first date, on account of the chopped parsley, but this is also a delicious salad. In addition to the parsley you will also find bulgar wheat, mint, tomato and onion rounded off with a zesty lemon based sauce.
- Manakeesh: one word – bread. Delicious soft bread topped with a za’atar mix is a great addition to any mezze platter. I prefer mine folded but you can slice it as well. Oh and pro tip top it with some silky smooth hummus for a treat.
- Warak Enab: this is the Lebanese version of Greek Dolmas. They are commonly known as vine leaves. You can eat them hot or cold just check that the restaurant does not make them with meat if you are looking for a vegan option. A good friend of mine taught me how to make Warak Enab.
- Baba Ganoush: this is a dreamy eggplant based dish which contains garlic, vegetables and lemon. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of your Baba Ganoush for an added treat.
- Moutabel: is the creamier cousin of Baba Ganoush. It contains roasted eggplant, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic and lemon. This is delicious when you eat it with warm flat bread.
- Foul: odd name, great taste. Foul has Egyptian roots and it a beautiful dish made with fava beans. This is great for breakfast and keeping you full during the day.
- Lentil soup: who goes to a Lebanese resturant and does not order the lentil soup? This is so nice especially during the winter. Throw some fried flat bread on top and a squeeze of lemon juice and you are good to go.
- Muhammara: you probably heard about this dish the first time in the second SATC movie (or at least I think that is what Aiden was trying to say). Muhammara is a hot pepper dip originally from Syria which also contains bread crumbs and walnuts.
- Batata Harra: these spicy little potato cubes are great for sharing but I can understand if you don’t want to share. Take any left overs home and enjoy them cold the next day. So good!
Arabic mezze are wonderful because they are designed to be shared. Do not restrict yourself to just one or two make sure to share and enjoy all of the flavours. A great tip when eating out is to focus on combining starters as oppose to trying only for a main course. Often it is easier to find a starter which is dairy free or vegan than it is to find a main.
Check out the below for some great vegan Arabic mezze ideas.