Have you decided to adopt a plant-based diet? Do you sometimes feel limited with options especially when it comes to deciding where to eat? This will never be a problem when you indulge in Lebanese cuisine.
The trend in vegetarian eating continues to grow — with 2.5 million people (12.1% of the population) in Australia now eating all or almost all vegetarian. – Roy Morgan
The popularity of the ‘vegetarian diet’ means increased demand for dishes that are ‘vegetarian-friendly.’ Lebanese dishes are made of a variety of vegetables, fresh ingredients and spices, transforming each meal into a mouth-watering treat.
At Sahra by the River, we have a variety of both vegetarian and vegan options, guaranteeing a dish that you will love. We thought it would be fun to get your mouth-watering and taste buds going with a description of some of our top plant-based dishes at our restaurant in Parramatta.
Middle Eastern Lebanese Cuisine: Our top 3 vegetarian picks
A delightful and unique Lebanese ‘mezza’, shanklish is a type of cheese that has been rolled in a ball, aged and thereafter covered in spices. It is usually made from goats or cows milk and involves the complex process of separating butter from yoghurt.
This delicate crumbly cheese originates from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt and is found mostly in the coastal and mountainous areas of Tartous and Homs (Syria) and the adjoining northern region of Akkar (Lebanon).
It has a very similar texture to feta but gives off a spicy, strong aroma. The traditional process for making shanklish requires technique and hard-work! The skimmed yogurt is curdled to form white cheese which is then rolled into tennis sized balls to dry in the sun for a week. This ageing process causes mould to form on the outer part of the ball but is later washed off and coated in herbs like thyme and dried zaatar.
Do you want to create this at home? Here is one method you could try:
- Put your desired amount of greek yogurt into a saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat the yogurt over medium-low heat until it separates or for around 15 minutes.
- Once separated, pour the mixture into a muslin or lined bowl and drain out liquid for 2 hours or until mixture is firm and dry. Discard liquid.
- Add paprika, chilli and zaatar into a bowl and combine spices and mixture into balls. This can be transferred into a jar and covered with oil and chilled. These balls can be stored for up to three months.
Shanklish is best served on a mezze plate with tomato, onion and enjoyed with pita bread. Don’t want to make it yourself? Pop into Sahra by the River and try our delicious version. We promise it will not disappoint.
A must-have Lebanese dish when you visit a Lebanese restaurant in Parramatta. This salad is full of flavour and leaves you feeling fresh after one mouthful. Tabouli is mainly a herb salad, with its base ingredient being parsley. What makes this tantalising salad so special is it’s simple yet effective dressing. Just a generous amount of lime juice and olive oil is what makes this salad a Lebanese staple.
In addition, a little bulgar wheat, finely chopped tomatoes and onions are mixed through to add flavour and texture. You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy this dish. The next time you are at Sahra by the River make sure you order Tabouli to accompany your mezze plate. A dollop of hummus, a couple of falafel balls and some pita bread and you are in for a treat.
3) Baba Ganoush:
Resembling a similar texture to hummus, this dip is another great addition to your Lebanese Mezze. Translated to ‘spoiled dad’ in Arabic, this creamy dip is made of eggplant, tahini, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
After roasting the eggplant, remove the skin and use a food processor to combine eggplant with all of the spices and juices. Drizzle with some olive oil, a dash of parsley and serve with fresh pita bread. Easy but delicious.
You don’t have to be limited to food choices if you are vegetarian. Lebanese Cuisine is packed full of appetizing dips, main meals, salads and nibbles.
Looking for your next lunch or dinner date? Check out our menu to get a more of a glimpse of what we have to offer.
What are you waiting for? Call us on (02) 8865 6363 to reserve a table.