A Look at Arabic Vegetarian Dishes

arabic vegetarian dishes

There are many fascinating Arabic vegetarian dishes that are popular with food buffs in the Arab world. There is the famous Hummus which is a type of chickpea soup enjoyed all over the Middle East and parts of Asia. The dish is made with chickpeas and is served with pickled cabbage (see above). But other dishes are also common, such as a delicious combination of rice and vegetables with eggplant or hummus with eggplant – again, the dish is enjoyed all over the Middle East and parts of Asia.

Arabic Vegetarian Dishes

A close up of a plate of food

Another delicious dish from the Arabic region, Bakula, is a type of rice cake stuffed with vegetables, meat and spices. The name means “dish of bakoula” in Arabic and literally means “belly cake”. The dish is made with chickpeas and is usually served during the weekdays when there is no lunch break in most Arab nations. A special variation on the classic Bakoula is a type called the desert ole, which is cooked in an oven.

In addition to the standard vegetables and meat used for Arabic vegetarian dishes, the wide variety of beans and legumes found in the Arab world has given rise to many interesting vegetarian dishes. The halachic term translated literally means “lion” in Hebrew and refers to any large herb, similar in appearance to an ox. In Arabic, the halachic term is often used to refer to cabbages. This is not a surprising concept because these large plants are used to prepare a large number of dishes, including a popular soup called hummus. Cabbage soup is a favorite of many Arabs as well as vegetarians worldwide, probably due to the similarities between the word cabbage and the Arabic term hummus.


A bowl of food on a plate

Typical vegetarian dishes in Arabic cuisine do not contain any meat; they are usually served alongside rice or other grains and with some salad and sometimes raw vegetable dish. Unlike in many parts of the world, meat is seldom found on the Arabic table. Some vegetarian dishes are based on crops such as barley and wheat. Although it is not clear when the switch to plant-based foods began, the practice became more widespread during the time of the Talmud when it was forbidden to eat meat or even to touch the carcass of an animal. By adopting a vegetarian diet, the Jewish people were able to uphold their tradition of ritual animal slaughter while also respecting their respect for animals.

Although the consumption of plant-based foods is prohibited, certain groups of people are allowed to consume certain types of milk products. These products are made from cow’s milk and are used in most Middle Eastern dishes. The Arabic Muslims, who used to be the largest consumer of these animal products, gradually adopted more liberal views on animal products once they were allowed to continue eating meat. Today, nearly half of all adult Arabs and almost half of all young Arabs are vegetarians.

Things To Know

A number of Arab dishes include meat and poultry as ingredients but also include vegetarian versions of many of the popular meat dishes. The most popular vegetarian dishes include the much-loved hummus, which is made with chickpeas and tahini, or lemon juice, water, garlic and parsley; this dish may be served as a dip, a sandwich, or as part of a dessert. Other popular vegetarian dishes include hummus, which is a mixture of chickpeas and tahini, and various types of meat dishes, including kebabs and hummus.

Not all Arabic vegetarians live in the Middle East. In fact, in some areas of Morocco, there are very few vegetarians, and the ones that exist may be of strictly vegan habits. The area around Rabat is considered one of the most progressive cities in the Arab world in terms of vegetarianism. There, however, are also areas of Morocco where the Muslim religious laws forbid vegans from using animal proteins in any form, including milk products.

Bottom Line

In addition to the Middle East, several other countries in the world have their own varied vegetarian traditions. In India, people follow a more vegetarian lifestyle than the general Hindu population, although they also eat beef and pork. In Bangladesh, meat is rarely eaten, although it is occasionally eaten in curries. In Indonesia, a number of families eat meat, but the number is very small and not substantial enough to make a difference. The same is true of Sri Lanka, which like the other Asian countries mentioned above, also prohibits the consumption of meat.

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