Mediterranean food has a lot going for it: it’s delicious, it can easily be adapted to a vegetarian/vegan diet, it’s fantastic for sharing, and it’s really good for your health.
In fact, Mediterranean food is so famously healthy that there are stacks of books and research papers dedicated to eating the Mediterranean way.
The ingredients are fresh and seasonal, the meals are packed full of fruits, veggies, grains and legumes, and everything is prepared simply but deliciously.
But it’s not just the taste that makes eating the Mediterranean way so appealing. It’s the rich cultural traditions that go right alongside those mouthwatering dishes.
Why is Lebanese food one of the most popular Mediterranean cuisines and how can you eat the Mediterranean way by embracing some Lebanese cultural traditions at home?
Let’s answer those questions now!
How To Eat Food The Mediterranean Way
A Brief History Of Lebanese Cuisine
The Mediterranean sea is surrounded by many beautiful countries with their own unique cuisines, but Lebanon is arguably one of the most famous.
Because of its rich history, this small but spicy country is a melting pot of flavours and dishes.
Before becoming an independent country in 1943, Lebanon had centuries of being ruled by a range of foreign nations – from Egyptians and Persians to the Romans and French. So, the nation picked up a wide array of culinary influences over the years.
Lebanon also straddles the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions, so Lebanese food blends the best features of each of these influences. However, the Mediterranean influence is the most prominent.
What Does A Mediterranean Diet Look Like?
Mediterranean meals tend to be created from ingredients that are minimally processed. Think fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, with plenty of fresh fish. Lebanese food is no different.
Many dishes are plant-based, although this is not always the case: meats like lamb and poultry feature in some of the most well-known dishes.
Cooking the Mediterranean way involves lots of fresh olive oil and not so much dairy, which means less saturated fats.
If it sounds delicious, that’s because it really is. If you’d like to know more about why Lebanese food is so good, pop over and read our blog What Makes Lebanese Food So Delicious.
How To Eat Food The Mediterranean Way
Now that we’ve covered what to eat in a Mediterranean diet, let’s move on to some of the cultural traditions you can bring to your own table.
Here are our top tips to help you get started:
Embrace herbs, spices, and fresh ingredients – Lebanese food is always fresh and full of flavour. Instead of heavy sauces, use mint, parsley, oregano, and garlic to add flavour to your food.
Always include pita – in Lebanon, pita bread is served with pretty much every meal.
Eat mezze style – If you can’t decide what to eat, why not try a little bit of everything! Mezze style eating involves serving up a wide variety of hot and cold dishes – sometimes as many as forty appetizer-type meals are presented at once. Think hummus, salads, grilled meats, olives, nuts and of course, pita bread.
Serve everything together – forget about first and second courses; Lebanese meals are usually presented all at once.
Don’t forget dessert – healthy eating doesn’t have to mean skipping dessert! You can still enjoy a sweet treat eating the Mediterranean way. Baklava is a popular dessert; in Lebanese cuisine, it is usually prepared with drizzled rose-water syrup and pistachio nuts. Alternatively, it’s common to serve up a variety of fresh fruits to round off the meal. Strong Turkish coffee is a common accompaniment.
Have a long, late lunch – Lunch is usually the largest meal of the day. It is served around 2 pm, and it’s not uncommon for it to be followed by an afternoon nap.
Share your meals – Like many Mediterranean cuisines, Lebanese dishes are meant to be shared among friends, families, and colleagues. Hospitality is highly valued, so welcome your guests into your home to share the joy of the food with you.
Eat The Mediterranean Way At Home
Want to try eating the Mediterranean way at home?
Kohkoz makes it easy to do with our delicious range of Lebanese staples. From our authentic, flavour-filled dips and falafel to our soft, freshly-baked pita bread. Pop over to our store to get your hands on some today.