Arabic food...but make it vegan

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 6:55pm

A little over a year ago, I made the decision to switch to a vegan diet. This change has improved my mental and physical health, but it also had the people around me questioning my decision. My friends and family would ask me why I did it and how long I was doing it for, but my least favorite question of all is “what do you even eat?” These questions revealed to me that many of the people in my life thought that without animals, I could not sustain myself. My family members even saw this lifestyle change as a threat to my culture. They believed that a vegan diet meant I could no longer enjoy my mom’s Arabic cooking and that it would take away from my “Arab-ness.” All of these negative views of veganism are rooted in an innocent lack of knowledge, so in an attempt to combat that ignorance I will share some of my favorite Arabic vegan dishes that both sustain me and keep me in touch with my roots! 

 

Loubieh B’zeit 

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This dish is essentially made of green beans and tomato sauce. Although some recipes call for butter, most use olive oil, making it completely vegan and delicious!

 

Kamoune Banadoura 

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This dish consists of tomatoes, onions, olive oil, bulgar, and kibbeh spice. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and is vegan without any alterations.

 

Manakeesh Zaatar

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This pie is basically a soft pita topped with a za’atar spice mix. Most people eat it for breakfast, as it pairs great with Arabic tea in the morning.

 

Hummus

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This classic dish is simply made of chickpeas, tahini, and garlic, making it vegan. It tastes amazing on its own, and even better with pita bread. 

 

Falafel

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This is another classic dish with the central ingredient also being chickpeas. It is a great meat substitute and when paired with tahini sauce, its flavor is unmatched.

 

Vegetable Grape Leaves

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This dish, though typically stuffed with meat and rice, can also be made by stuffing the grape leaves with vegetables and rice. I prefer to eat this cold, however some eat it warm as well.

The list of vegan Arabic dishes does not end here. There are so many vegan options in this cuisine, and even more options in other cuisines as well. Vegan food exists everywhere, you just have to look for it.