Sunday, 15 June 2008

hummus & tabbouleh

OK, so there’s a big photo of lamb on post for a vegetarian event, but hear me out.

My two feature recipes for the Middle Eastern theme are the Lebanese classics hummus and tabbouleh: both vegetarian! I just wanted to show how these dishes can also accompany meat dishes, for those who cannot live without meat.



You can do so much with hummus. Eat it as a dip, mix it through other ingredients to make a sauce, even use it as the base of a pizza (it sounds weird, but trust me it can be very tasty).

Lebanese hummus is my favourite kind of hummus. I must admit I haven’t tasted Syrian or Jordanian, but I certainly like Lebanese hummus better than the Israeli or Palestinian versions.

Why? Because the Lebanese use the perfect balance between the chickpeas and the tahini whereas Israeli and Palestinian hummus uses more tahini.

I hope I haven’t started a war here!

When we make hummus at home, we’re very lazy. We really should use dried chickpeas instead of canned, but who can be bothered soaking and cooking and spending hours fussing over some legumes when you can open a can and have creamy hummus in seconds?

Jonas' very own recipe. Makes about 1½ cups.

400g can of chickpeas
1-2 tablespoons tahini (depends on the strength of the brand)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Paprika or sumac, to garnish


1. Put in food processor with juice, tahini and garlic. Blend.

2. Add oil while processor is on, in small batches to ensure it does not get an oily consistency.

3. Season to taste. Optionally, add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and/or sesame seeds.

4. Before serving, garnish with a sprinkling of paprika or sumac and a little olive oil.


This quick and easy salad is an excellent side dish to any Middle Eastern meal, incorporating parsley and mint, as well as olive oil and lemon juice, all vitally important ingredients in the cooking of the Levant.

Traditionally tabbouleh contains burghul wheat (also known as cracked wheat) to make it more substantial, but I prefer to omit this grain and serve a purely leafy salad version (pictured blow).


Recipe from Meze by Family Circle. Serves 4.

¾ cup burghul wheat
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1½ cups fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic


1. Cover the burghul with ¾ cup (185ml) boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains have swollen.

2. Combine the tomato, onion, parsley, mint and burghul in a bowl and season well.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and garlic then toss through salad before serving.


So how would I serve my hummus and tabbouleh? Alongside lamb, the most common meat used in the Middle East. I suppose the small size of sheep and their hardiness in dry, rocky terrain makes them the perfect farm animal of the Levant!

Here's a great recipe to put your hummus to good use:

Lamb w Hummus & Pinenuts

Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2.


2 lamb chops
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup hummus
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Olive oil, for cooking


1. Fry lamb chops in olive oil until cooked.

2. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, hummus and salt to taste.

3. Plate lamb then spoon over hummus. Sprinkle with pinenuts and parsley then serve.


All these recipes are my contributions to the vegetarian event AWED or A Worldly Epicurean's Delight. Every month we focus on a new country, and this time the theme is the Middle East. Obviously this covers so many countries, but I decided to narrow it down and focus on Lebanon. Our host this month is Siri from Siri's Corner so be sure to check out the round-up and the wide variety of foods from so many countries throughout the broad and general area known as the Middle East.



  1. I am a sucker for Mid. Eastern food. I just love the meat-lovers version ;-)!

  2. I was introduced to Lebanese food by a French friend of lebanese descent. Later on, I lived in the Middle Easte and tasted in situ the many delectable pleasures of the food.
    I love taboule, though in my version, parsely and tomatoes are chopped much, much smaller. I make taboule in hot summer days ...

  3. I love hummus.
    When we were in Egypt, we ate them a lot.
    They give there with everything, meat, vetetables etc....
    My mouth is watterin just looking to you hummus

  4. These are some of my favorite foods!


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