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6 Easy Vegan Recipes from the Middle East

Running a cooking school for 11 years has made me realize that Arabic food has got to be one of the easiest foods to translate to vegan recipes.

This by no means qualifies me as a local guide, but let’s consider it a recommendation from a local friend. First, let’s begin with vegan breakfast options. 

A typical Jordanian breakfast consists of a whole range of vegan dishes, most notably falafel, hummus, and foul; they are hearty, healthy, full of nutrients, and definitely give you a bang for your buck. For not more than 2 dollars, you will be able to scratch your itching craving for falafel along with the traditional company dishes of hummus and foul, not to mention free Arabic bread, tea, and pickles to go with it.

My favorite falafel and hummus street stalls in Amman:

  • Falafel Al Quds: This place in Rainbow street offers, what I like to call, the ultimate falafel sandwich, with your option of sesame bread or just plain, the owner specializes only in making addictive falafel sandwiches. Forget the foul and hummus, after this sandwich you will be too full for them.
  • Al Kalha: The cleanest of the falafel vendors, this place is like the 5-star version of street food with their rebranding. They are more of a luxury falafel, hummus, and foul shop… let’s call it a suave street stall.
  • Hashem: Downtown Amman is not my favorite in terms of taste, but it is in terms of atmosphere, it definitely wins. The whole vibe is ‘Ammani’ downtown and if you want to eat like a local, head there for breakfast.  
  • Abu Jbara: You will find this place on many street corners, just google it and you will find the closest one to you! Savour the best falafel, hummos, and foul combo.
  • Abu Mahjoob: This is where we used to go when we skipped school. Well worth the Bs Cs and Ds.

If you’re not in Jordan (or even if you are), try our homemade falafel recipe for a flavor to make you feel like you are on the streets of Amman.

Homemade Falafel Recipe:

2 cups chickpeas (pre-soaked overnight)

4 cloves garlic

1 bunch coriander 

1 hot pepper 

(as many extra herbs as you want and you can also add an onion) 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 bunch coriander

1/2 tsp allspice

1 bunch parsley 

1 tsp sodium bicarbonate


  1. Soak 250 grams of dried chickpeas in water overnight.
  2. In a food processor or meat grinder, add garlic, coriander, and parsley.
  3. Once the texture is a paste, add cumin, black pepper, and allspice. 
  4. Preheat oil in a pot to fry the falafel in.
  5. Grab a small amount of paste and roll it in the shape of a ball using your hands or put water on a spoon and using another spoon form an oval-shaped ball and then dip it into the hot oil to fry.
  6. Once the falafel ball starts turning brown at the edges, turn it around so that it cooks on the other side.
  7. Leave to fry for another 1 minute and place on a paper towel to cool.  

You can eat it with some hummus and pita bread for a great vegan meal. Enjoy!

Hummus recipe:

Hummos and foul are available almost everywhere in Jordan. If you’re not here and want to feel like you are, try recreating this globally popular vegan dish at home.

For the perfect hummus, all you need is:

1 cup of boiled or canned chickpeas

Lemon to taste (I would go for 2 lemons)

1 tsp of salt 

1/cup of tahini 

Crushed garlic

Foul recipe:

The same applies to the foul recipe. This recipe is one I learned from a food stall owner who specialized in a foul for more than 36 years in Lebanon, and yes you guessed it, his name is Tony and his appetite for foul supersedes his passion. Let’s just say he knows this Middle Eastern vegan dish inside out. 

Follow this simple recipe for a delicious vegan meal.

1 can of fava beans






  1.  Wash the beans and put in a pot to cook on low heat until warmed. 
  2. Smash the garlic using a pestle and mortar with salt and add some lemon. 
  3. Mix together well, add your fava beans and gently mash together.
  4. Finish off with a bit more salt and tahini.

The second topic at hand is vegan main courses that are packed with flavors and nutrients.

Lentil Soup:

Almost anywhere in Amman, you will find vendors who sell hot lentil soup on winter nights. They sell it like coffee on the side of the street when it’s cold and it tastes superb. Don’t forget to add some sumac and lemon juice, along with fried croutons to make it hearty and filling.

For a great lentil soup recipe, follow this recipe:


Mujadara Recipe:

The vegan lunch dish that takes the cake and honestly tastes superb is Mujadara. This delicious lentil, rice and caramelized onion dish is made to tantalize all your senses, served with a side of tangy farmer’s salad. Nothing says home like this dish.

2 cups brown lentils

2 cups Calrose rice

1-kilo onions 

½ cup vermicelli noodles 

½ tsp salt

Vegetable oil


  1. Cut 3 onions into thin slices and fry until golden, then place on a paper towel covered plate.
  2. Saute a finely chopped onion in olive oil until translucent then add 1 cup brown lentils (presoaked in cold water). After you saute the brown lentils, add water and bring to a ½ boil.
  3. Pre-soak the rice for 30 minutes in hot water and then add it to the pot along with the brown lentils.
  4. Add  1 tsp of each: salt, black pepper, and cumin.
  5. Leave on low heat until the rice is cooked and ready.
  6. Plate the rice neatly on the serving dish and sprinkle the deep-fried onions on top.

Arabic terrain calls for olive oil, tomatoes, and beans (green beans, white beans, or okra) cooked in a lovely tomato sauce.

Some main courses that could be considered vegan are galayet bandora, fasolia bi zeit, and bamyeh bi zeit. We eat these vegan meals with either pilaf rice or with pita bread. Follow my recipes below for a quick vegan stew that will surely tantalize your taste buds. 

Galayet Bandora Recipe:

Makes 5 portions.

3 cloves garlic

5 ripe tomatoes

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

Olive oil

2 hot pepper


  1. Sauté finely chopped garlic in olive oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Add hot pepper and let sweat to get juices out.
  3. Peel and dice tomatoes and add to the pan, bring to a boil, then let simmer.
  4. Salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Top with freshly chopped parsley for garnish. 

 This dish can be made with diced meat and tastes great as a side to freekeh  

Fasoulia bi Zeit and Bamyeh bi Zeit (Green Beans and Okra):

 3 cloves garlic

2 Cups green beans cleaned and cut into quarters / or okra cleaned and washed (whole)

5 ripe tomatoes

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

olive oil


  1. Sauté finely chopped garlic in olive oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Add green beans or okra and let sweat to get juices out.
  3. Peel and dice tomatoes and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and let simmer.
  4. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Top with freshly chopped parsley for garnish.

Jordanian food is the ultimate comfort food, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One of our staple ingredients for anything vegan is zaatar. It can be eaten with a piece of fresh pita bread dipped in olive oil followed by zaatar or with our sumac topped on a salad.

When it comes to Arabic dessert, get ready for some vegan galore. Baklava from any shop downtown, especially my personal recommendation, “Tamriyet Omar”, will satisfy any sweet-lover’s cravings. Their vegan doughnut is one for the books (Thank me later).

Halaweh (tahini mousse) and Asabe’ Zeinab (fried dough with simple syrup) and Awameh, are also found in most of the dessert shops downtown. 

Finally, my favorite dessert of all time is one that will shock you. Mughli (check out our Mughli post to learn more about it).