Lebanese food is pretty darn tasty.
Often, the recipes used to create our favourite meals have been honed and perfected by generations of talented cooks.
That sure is the case here in our Kohkoz family.
A big part of making those meals super delicious is the ingredients used (and the love and skill needed to craft them, of course!)
So, if you are making a Mediterranean menu, what kind of staples should you have in your pantry and fridge?
Let’s explore the most popular and essential ingredients in Lebanese cooking now.
The Most Popular Ingredients In Lebanese Cooking
Lebanese Cooking Essentials
Every meal needs a base to start with. And in Lebanese cooking, there is no other foundational ingredient as important as olive oil. It is used as a meal starter, for dressing salads and even for marinating meat. If you are cooking Mediterranean meals, you need a bottle of good quality olive oil in your cupboard!
An absolute staple ingredient in Lebanese cuisine is none other than the humble bulb of garlic. Crushed, minced, roasted… it is all used! The most popular way to use garlic in Lebanon is to flavour dishes such as hummus, baba ghanoush and meat marinades.
Known for their freshness, Lebanese dishes often feature lemon juice. Adding zestiness, acidity and fresh flavour, lemon juice is a key ingredient in marinades, hummus and salad dressings. It also goes really well in a lemon cooler drink!
An excellent source of protein, chickpeas are another staple ingredient in Lebanese cooking. Great news for vegetarians and vegans, these nutritious beans form the basis of popular dishes like hummus and falafel.
Fresh parsley is used to add a fresh and herbaceous flavour to lots of Lebanese dishes. The most well-known would be Tabbouleh salad, Fattoush and Labneh.
Yoghurt is often used to add richness or creaminess to a Lebanese dish. Popular in dips like tzatziki, accompaniments like labneh, and as a core ingredient for marinating grilled meats.
Another herb that features heavily in Lebanese cuisine is Mint. It is often included in salads and meat dishes, as well as in drinks and dips. Also used generously as a garnish, you’ll want some of this growing in your garden!
Eggplant is a really popular vegetable in Lebanon and it forms the base of many well-known and delicious dishes. Probably the most common eggplant dishes are baba ghanoush and moussaka. But, it’s also great on veggie skewers, mezze platters and in roasted vegetable salads.
Za’atar Spice Blend
A combination of oregano, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt, Za’atar adds a tangy and aromatic touch to any dish. Popular in salads, on flatbread, on roasted vegetables or to season meat and seafood, this versatile spice blend is a Lebanese pantry staple.
Cumin & Cinammon
Adding depth and warmth to a meal, cumin and cinnamon are popular spices used in Lebanese cuisine. Featuring most commonly in meat dishes and shawarma, the smell alone will leave your tummy rumbling and mouth watering!
Right, so now you have a fairly comprehensive list of Lebanese ingredients to add to your shopping list. But, how can you turn these delicious starters into meals the whole family will enjoy?
Well, here are just a few of our favourite Lebanese meals that you can create at home:
Riz a Djej (Rice with Chicken)
Lahem Meshwi (meat and onion skewers)
Sliced chicken generously marinated in a mixture of spices, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and salt, shawarma is perfect in wraps or a salad. Or, get creative and serve it on rice, on a sandwich, or any other way you like to enjoy chicken!
Lebanese Food Favourites
Try some of these delicious Lebanese staples: