I’ve been reconnecting with my Lebanese roots through cuisine recently…and I think I’m going to continue at least through the end of the year. Many of the dishes are already close to (if not fully) W30, paleo, or primal. Well, at least half of them are. Thirty percent of them are just hovering on the border (as in, they are entirely primal other than beans or lentils, or something like that). The remaining 20 percent of them include hot, delicious, steaming loaves of pita bread. To. Die. For. I will eventually be making some, but I won’t include it as a main item on these blogs. I’m really kind of teetering on the beans though: I mean, the husband is allergic to pretty much all beans except for maybe three types…so they will never be a “staple” in our household. I’m thinking the occasional inclusion of them isn’t a game-changer, but we’ll see. I’m planning on a bean salad this week, so if I blow up after eating it, I’ll know I can’t include those anymore! 😛
Anyway, I’m still looking for the perfect Lebanese cookbook to use on my cooking journey. I have a few in mind, but I want to look at a few of them at the store before I commit to one. Besides Lebanese cooking, I also recently got a Turkish cookbook and a Moroccan cookbook. All three countries have almost identical food, so that’s somewhat interesting. A word on Lebanese food (or Middle Eastern food in general): if you don’t like the flavors of parsley, lemon, seven-spices, and natural yogurt, there is a lot of Middle Eastern food that you either (a) won’t like, or (b) will need to develop a taste for. Just dropping that here as a warning!
Beef Kafta (Whole30 Compliant)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/4 C chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp Aleppo pepper
1/2 tsp Lebanese 7-spices (or allspice)
1 1/4 tsp dried mint
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small onion, finely diced (liquid pressed out)
salt and pepper
1.- In a large bowl, mix beef, parsley, tomatoes, aleppo, 7-spices, mint, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, onions, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly.
2.- At this point you can either form them into small logs and grill them on small skewers, or form them into small meatballs and bake or pan-fry them.
Tabbouleh, minus Bulgur (Whole30 Compliant)
1 C chopped parsley
1/2 C chopped mint
1/2 C chopped onion
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.- This one is easy. Put everything in a bowl and mix it well.
Batata Harra (Whole30 Compliant)
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in a 1/2″ dice
1 1/2 + 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne (less if you don’t like a little kick to your food)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1.- Preheat oven to 450. Peel potatoes and cut into a 1/2″ dice. Toss them in a large bowl with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Toss to coat evenly and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast 40-45 minutes. For even roasting, flip potatoes after 20-25 minutes–but this isn’t absolutely necessary if you forget about it or don’t have time.
2.- During the last 10 minutes of roasting, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir together.
3.- In large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil and garlic mixture. Coat potatoes evenly. After coated, mix in cilantro and serve immediately. Caution: these potatoes are like crack. You might want to make enough to have leftovers for a few days.