Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes: How to Create Delicious Plant-based Dishes from the Middle East

Veganism is on the rise, and so are the delicious vegan options becoming available in various cuisines. Middle Eastern cuisine offers a diverse range of flavors and ingredients that can be easily adapted to fit a vegan diet. From spicy dips to sumptuous stews, there are numerous vegan Middle Eastern recipes that will leave your taste buds satisfied. In this article, we will explore some of the best vegan Middle Eastern recipes that you can make in the comfort of your own home. These recipes are not only incredibly flavorful but are also healthy and nutritious.

What are Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes?

Veganism is a dietary lifestyle that does not consume any animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. On the other hand, Middle Eastern cuisine is characterized by the use of herbs and spices, including cumin, mint, parsley, and sumac, as well as meats such as lamb and chicken, and dairy products like cheese and yogurt. However, despite this culinary tradition, the cuisine also features many vegetarian dishes that are perfect for vegans looking for a new flavor experience.

Vegans often wonder what kind of food they can eat, especially when they want to try out new flavor experiences from other countries. The good news is that vegan Middle Eastern recipes offer several tasty options that are both nutritious and delicious. These recipes are vegan adaptations of traditional Middle Eastern dishes that use meat or dairy products. They incorporate plant-based alternatives, such as beans, lentils, nuts, and vegetables.

Spiced Chickpea Stew

Chickpea stew is a popular vegan dish that is commonly served in Middle Eastern countries. This recipe features chickpeas as the main ingredient, which are high in protein, fiber, and essential micronutrients. The recipe is easy to prepare and combines chickpeas with an array of spices, including cumin, paprika, and turmeric, to create a fragrant and aromatic stew.

  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato paste, cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper, mixing well. Add the chickpeas and vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the stew thickens. Add the lemon juice and mix. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve hot with rice or bread.

Popular Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes

The Middle East is known for its unique and flavorful cuisine, which is enjoyed by many around the world. However, many traditional dishes contain meat or dairy products and may not be suitable for vegans. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious vegan options that still capture the essence of Middle Eastern flavors. Here are some of the most popular vegan Middle Eastern recipes that you won’t want to miss!


Falafel is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and for a good reason. These crispy, golden-brown balls are a delicious and satisfying vegan alternative to meatballs. Made from ground chickpeas, onion, garlic, and a blend of spices, falafels are packed with flavor. They are traditionally served in warm pita bread with fresh vegetables and tahini sauce. Plus, they are easy to make; all you need is a food processor and a few simple ingredients.


If you’re looking for a refreshing and healthy salad, look no further than tabbouleh. This colorful dish is made from fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat. It’s then seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Tabbouleh is a great vegan option that’s easy to make and perfect for a picnic or potluck. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is another classic Middle Eastern dish that’s perfect for vegans. This creamy dip is made from roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. It’s usually served as an appetizer with warm pita bread or fresh vegetables. Baba ghanoush is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Plus, it’s a delicious and flavorful alternative to traditional dips like hummus.


Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip that’s made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s a great vegan option that’s packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Hummus can be served as a dip with fresh vegetables or pita bread. It can also be used as a spread on sandwiches or wraps. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be customized with different flavors like roasted red pepper or sun-dried tomato.


Shakshuka is a popular Middle Eastern breakfast dish that’s easy to make and delicious. It’s made from eggs cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions, garlic, and spices. For a vegan alternative, you can replace the eggs with tofu or chickpeas. You can also add different vegetables like spinach or zucchini to the sauce for extra flavor and nutrition. Serve with warm pita bread or crusty bread for a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Ingredients Commonly Used in Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes

Whether you’re vegan or just looking for some plant-based options, Middle Eastern cuisine has a lot to offer. From savory dips to hearty stews, vegan Middle Eastern recipes are packed with flavor and nutrition. Here are some key ingredients you’ll find in many of these dishes:

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, and for good reason—they’re versatile, flavorful, and packed with protein and fiber. You’ll find them in everything from hummus to falafel to soups and stews.

One of the most popular chickpea dishes is hummus, a dip made from pureed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Hummus can be used as a dip or a spread, and it’s a great way to add flavor and nutrition to sandwiches, wraps, and salads.

Falafel is another popular dish that features chickpeas. These fried or baked balls are made from a mixture of ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices, and they’re often served with tahini sauce and pita bread.


Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, and it’s a key ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes. It’s used in dips like hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as sauces like tahini sauce and tarator sauce.

Tahini is rich in healthy fats, protein, and minerals like iron and calcium. It has a nutty, slightly bitter flavor that pairs well with savory and sweet dishes alike.


Bulgar is a cracked wheat that’s a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s used in salads like tabbouleh, as well as in pilafs and stuffing for vegetables like peppers and tomatoes.

Bulgar is a good source of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. It has a nutty, chewy texture that adds substance and flavor to dishes.


These are just a few of the many ingredients you’ll find in vegan Middle Eastern recipes. By experimenting with different spices, sauces, and cooking methods, you can create a wide variety of delicious and nutritious meals that are packed with flavor and plant-based protein.

Tips and Tricks for Making Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes

Middle Eastern cuisine is known for its bold flavors, aromatic herbs, and exotic spices. As a vegan, it can be a bit challenging to find dishes that cater to your dietary needs. However, with some clever substitutions and creative twists, you can make some of the most delicious vegan Middle Eastern recipes right in your own kitchen. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

1. Master the Art of Making Falafel

Falafel is one of the most iconic dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a deep-fried ball made of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Falafel can be eaten on its own, as a sandwich filler or with a side of hummus. To make the perfect falafel, you need to start by soaking the chickpeas overnight to make them soft enough to blend. Once the chickpeas are ready, you can add in parsley, coriander, garlic, and cumin to give it a unique flavor. The right texture is also important; falafel should have a crispy outside and a moist but not too dense interior. Once the falafel balls are prepared, deep-fry them in hot oil until golden brown.

2. Spice Things Up with Za’atar

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that’s made of thyme, sesame, salt, and sumac. It’s used in various Middle Eastern dishes to add a savory and tangy flavor. You can sprinkle it on top of your vegan salads, use it as a rub for roasted vegetables, or add some to your pita bread for an extra kick. Za’atar is also a great alternative to salt; it’s a low-sodium seasoning that can make your dishes more flavorful without increasing your sodium intake.

3. Learn How to Properly Stuff Grape Leaves

Grape leaves are another staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. Stuffed grape leaves, also known as dolmades, can be filled with seasoned rice, vegetables, and herbs. However, stuffing grape leaves can be a bit tricky. You need to boil the grape leaves until they’re soft and pliable, then you can start stuffing them. The trick is to use a small amount of filling for each leaf to avoid overstuffing. You also need to fold the leaves tightly to prevent them from falling apart. Serve your stuffed grape leaves with a side of vegan yogurt or tahini sauce.

4. Experiment with Traditional Desserts

Traditional Middle Eastern desserts are often made with dairy and eggs. However, you can make vegan versions of these desserts with a bit of creativity. For example, you can make a vegan version of baklava by replacing butter with coconut oil and using maple syrup instead of honey. You can also make a vegan version of halva by using tahini, agave syrup, and nuts to replace the traditional ingredients. Experiment with different recipes to find the one that suits your taste buds.

  • Bonus tip: Pair your vegan Middle Eastern dishes with homemade pita bread for an authentic experience.

Benefits of Eating Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes

Veganism is a dietary lifestyle that has gained popularity over the years. It requires a lot of discipline and patience to follow a vegan diet, especially when it comes to finding foods that fit the diet. One of such diets is vegan middle eastern recipes. The vegan middle eastern diet is based on traditional ingredients, spices, and herbs that have been used for centuries to create healthy, nutritious dishes. This article highlights the benefits of eating vegan middle eastern recipes.

Improved Heart Health

One of the benefits of eating vegan middle eastern recipes is that it helps to improve heart health. Many Middle Eastern vegan recipes are based on whole foods like beans, chickpeas, and lentils, which are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and nutrients. These foods help to reduce bad cholesterol levels, which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. The use of heart-healthy spices like turmeric, garlic, and cumin also contributes to the overall health benefits of Middle Eastern vegan recipes.

Improved Digestion

Another benefit of eating vegan middle eastern recipes is that it helps to improve digestion. Middle Eastern vegan foods are typically low in fat and high in fiber, which makes them easy to digest and helps to prevent constipation. Furthermore, the inclusion of herbs and spices like parsley, mint, and coriander help to stimulate digestion and reduce bloating.

Weight Management

  • Middle Eastern vegan recipes can also aid in weight management. Many Middle Eastern vegan recipes are based on whole foods that are naturally low in calories but high in nutrients. These foods help to keep you full for longer periods, which reduces the likelihood of overeating and promotes weight loss.

  • Additionally, the high-fiber content in these foods helps to slow down digestion and regulate blood sugar levels, which is essential for maintaining a healthy weight.

Better Immune System

  • Eating vegan middle eastern recipes can help to boost your immune system. The use of herbs and spices in Middle Eastern vegan foods is well known for their immune-boosting properties. For example, turmeric, a staple spice in Middle Eastern cooking, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which are essential for supporting a healthy immune system.

  • Moreover, the phytonutrients in Middle Eastern vegan foods help to support the body’s natural defense mechanisms against diseases, which keeps you healthy and strong.

Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

Finally, eating vegan middle eastern recipes may also help to lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The high concentration of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients in Middle Eastern vegan foods help to reduce inflammation, a major contributor to chronic diseases. Furthermore, Middle Eastern vegan diets are often naturally low in saturated fats and high in unrefined carbohydrates, which also plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health.

Overall, adopting a vegan middle eastern diet can bring about a lot of health benefits. From improved heart health, better digestion, weight management, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of chronic diseases, the benefits of eating vegan middle eastern recipes are numerous.

FAQs on Vegan Middle Eastern Recipes

If you’re looking for delicious vegan Middle Eastern recipes, you may have some questions about the cuisine. Here are some answers to common questions to help you navigate through the variety of dishes available.

Why aren’t all Middle Eastern dishes vegan?

While Middle Eastern cuisine has a variety of plant-based dishes, such as hummus and falafel, many dishes traditionally contain animal products. This can include meat-based broth or cream sauces, as well as dishes that use butter or yogurt for flavor. However, with some creative substitution, it’s possible to make tasty vegan versions of these dishes.

What are some vegan substitutes for animal products in Middle Eastern dishes?

  • For meat-based broth, vegetable broth can be used as a substitute. Some people also like to use mushroom broth for a more savory flavor.
  • For cream sauces or yogurt-based dips, coconut cream or cashew cream can be used instead. These will provide a similar creamy texture with a nutty undertone.
  • When butter is used for cooking, it can often be replaced with olive oil or a non-dairy butter substitute such as margarine or Earth Balance.
  • For meat in dishes, tofu or tempeh can be used as a substitute. These are both high-protein plant-based options that can provide a similar texture to meat.

What are some traditional Middle Eastern dishes that can easily be made vegan?

Here are some dishes to try that are traditionally vegan or can easily be made vegan:

  • Falafel – a popular street food made from ground chickpeas and spices formed into a ball and fried.
  • Hummus – a dip made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Baba Ghanoush – a dip made from roasted eggplant, tahini, and lemon juice.
  • Tabouleh – a salad made from parsley, mint, tomatoes, and bulgur wheat.
  • Shakshuka – a spicy tomato stew with poached eggs; can be made vegan by omitting the eggs or using tofu instead.
  • Moussaka – traditionally made with ground meat, but can be made vegan using lentils or mushrooms as a substitute.

What should I look out for to make sure a Middle Eastern dish is vegan?

When dining out or looking at recipes, watch out for dishes that may include meat or animal products that are not immediately obvious. For example:

  • Many rice dishes are made using chicken or beef broth for flavoring.
  • Some dips and sauces may contain mayonnaise or other dairy products.
  • Pastry dishes like baklava may contain honey or clarified butter.

Always read ingredient lists and ask questions if you’re unsure about a dish’s contents.

Can vegan Middle Eastern food still be flavorful?

Absolutely! There are plenty of flavorful spices used in Middle Eastern cuisine, such as cumin, coriander, and sumac. Many dishes also use fresh herbs like parsley, mint, and cilantro for added flavor. By using fresh, high-quality ingredients and experimenting with spices, you can create delicious and flavorful vegan Middle Eastern dishes.

Time to Embrace Your Inner Vegan and Amaze Your Taste Buds with Delicious Middle Eastern Recipes

Thank you for taking the time to explore these amazing vegan Middle Eastern recipes. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just curious about trying out some meat-free dishes, Middle Eastern cuisine offers plenty of flavor and variety. With the recipes outlined above, you can create delectable vegan dishes that appeal to your taste buds and satisfy your appetite. We hope you enjoyed reading our article and that it has inspired you to experiment with new flavors in the kitchen. Please visit us again soon for more exciting vegan recipes!

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