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Top 5 healthy Lebanese mezze

Top 5 Healthy Mezze in Lebanese Restaurants!

Contributor: Nadiya Ibrahim

Lebanese Mezze is a collection of dishes that are not only tasty but also excellent choices for those looking for healthy food options. The handful of wholly vegetarian dishes prepared from locally produced fresh ingredients with minimal processing and cooking, sparkled with carefully selected local herbs, spices and other condiments make it hard for any other cuisine to have a healthier appeal. Topping the dishes with a magical ingredient, olive oil, can do wonders in lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels and boosting overall heart health. The relatively limited consumption of red meat and starch, the high consumption of fiber rich foods and the extensive use of lemon juice all make the Lebanese Mezze a highly appreciated cuisine by food lovers.

We propose to you a list of the top 5 Lebanese Mezze dishes in terms of health benefits:

#5: Tabbouleh:

Parsley, the main ingredient in Tabbouleh, is a very rich source of vitamin K essential for bone health, and of fibers which are good for the overall cardiovascular health. Parsley aids in digestion and is extremely high in antioxidants which can prevent some types of cancer and protect the heart health. Lemon juice, generously added to this dish, boosts the immunity by providing vitamin C; and olive oil, with all its health benefits, is also an ingredient of this amazing dish!

Tabbouleh has always a place at the heart of the Lebanese table

#4: Greens (such as in rocca / arugula salad, dandelion and chard etc.)

Greens are a source of incredible amounts of vitamin K, fibers and anti-oxidants. Vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions. Greens can lower cholesterol, preserve vision health and are also sources of B vitamins such as vitamin B5 good for cardiovascular health. The Lebanese Rocca salad is usually served with walnuts and pomegranate seeds both are a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants consecutively. Dandelion is seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic; and chard leaves are usually stuffed with rice and vegetables.

Hindbeh decorated with caramelized onions (Photo ©Foodonclick)

#3: Hummus

Chickpeas are high in protein and starch. Chickpeas are folate rich which makes them especially good for pregnant women. They are a vegetarian source of iron and are also rich in fiber. Tahini, a second ingredient in hummus mutabbal, is made from sesame seeds rich in protein and omega-6 fatty acids good for the heart health. Tahini is also a good source of copper, methionine, calcium and manganese.

Beiruti hummus

#2: Beans (Balila, Fasolia Mutabbaleh etc.)

Beans are used in an array of Lebanese dishes. They can aid in weight loss because they give a feeling of satiety over long periods, and they may decrease the risk of heart diseases, colorectal cancer and diabetes due to their richness in antioxidants and fibers. Beans are good sources of protein and B vitamins. They are also a good vegetarian source of iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc.

Cooked broad beans served with lots of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic!

#1: Grilled fish

Fish, high in protein and low in fat, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which help maintain heart health.  Fish are also rich in iodine, vitamin D and various other vitamins and minerals such as Zinc and phosphorus. Enjoy a grilled fish with a dash of lemon juice or with tahini sauce!

Our #1 healthiest Lebanese mezze: Grilled fish (Photo ©

Eggs with tomato – Bayd b banadoura

Serve “bayd b banadoura” for breakfast or as a hot appetizer ©Tori Avey

Bayd b banadoura” or eggs with tomato can be served either for breakfast or as a hot mezze (appetizer). It can be found on the menu of certain restaurants serving Lebanese food. According to preference, the eggs can be scrambled and mixed with the tomatoes or just dropped in.

Serving: 5

Caloric content: 115 calories/serving


2 onions, finely chopped

5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced

4 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preparation method:

  1. In a saucepan, fry the chopped onions with the olive oil, until golden
  2. Add the diced and peeled tomatoes and cook for 15 mns
  3. In a bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper
  4. Add the beaten mixture to the saucepan
  5. Cover and cook on low fire until the eggs are set
  6. Decorate with parsley leaves and serve hot with Lebanese bread

Jabaliyeh Tomato seasoned with garlic & sumac

Green and red “banadoura jabaliyeh”

In Lebanon, Jabaliyeh Tomatoes, or Heirloom tomatoes, are commonly served in local restaurants as mezze. However, they can also be served as a salad or decorate any other salad with the seasoned tomato slices.

Caloric content: 190 calories / seasoned tomato


1 Jabaliyeh Tomato (200 g)

4 garlic cloves

1 Tbsp of olive oil

½ tsp of salt

1 pinch of sumac

Preparation steps:

  1. Wash the tomato and cut into slices (~ thickness of 1 cm approx.)
  2. Place the tomato slices in a plate and refrigerate
  3. In the meantime, crush the garlic cloves and mix them with the oil and salt to obtain a paste
  4. Spread the garlic paste on each tomato slice
  5. Sprinkle some sumac on each slice as well
Tomato seasoned with crushed garlic and sumac ©NadiaenMerijn

Shanklish salad

Shanklish balls  ©Rana Tanissa
Shanklish balls ©Rana Tanissa

Shanklish is an aged cheese covered with thyme, sumac or dried mint. It is made either with goat’s or cow’s milk.
Shanklish is traditionally made in the region of Akkar, and shanklish salad is a common mezze dish served in
Lebanese restaurants.

Total servings: 5
Calories: 150 Kcal/serving


1 shanklish ball

2 tomatoes, diced

1 red onion (or green onion if available), finely chopped

1 green belly pepper, finely chopped

Extra Virgin olive oil

Preparation steps:

  1. Crush the shanklish ball with a fork
  2. Stir in the red onion, green belly pepper and tomatoes
  3. Sprinkle with olive oil
  4. Decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve





Muhammara decorated with pomegranate seeds, chopped green onions ans walnut
Muhammara decorated with pomegranate seeds, chopped green onions and walnut

Originally from Aleppo-Syria, muhammara is a red pepper dip, which has invaded the Levant cuisine, including the Lebanese of course, gaining different versions of its recipe and culinary uses. The name “muhammara” means reddened in Arabic, and refers to the red color of this dish obtained from the roasted red pepper. Muhammara is served as an appetizer, dip and spread. It has recently become a main item on the Lebanese restaurants’ menu.

Total Servings: 5 ( 245 calories / serving)


2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
1 cup of walnuts, toasted
2/3 cup fresh bread
2 tsp of pomegranate molasses
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ tsp of chili powder
2 tbsp. of lemon juice
1 tsp of paprika
½ tsp of cumin
1 tsp of salt
¼ tsp of pepper
4 tbsp. of olive oil

Preparation steps:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, in a food processor and blend for about 7 mns until a “grainy” paste is obtained.
  2. Serve in a plate, at room temperature or after chilling.
  3. Decorate with halved walnuts and sprinkled with olive oil.
Muhammara decorated with walnuts
Muhammara decorated with walnuts

Btata harra (spicy potato with coriander)

Batata harra
Batata harra


4 potatoes of medium size

½ cup of coriander, finely chopped

2 large garlic gloves, minced

½ tsp of black pepper

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of dry coriander

½ tsp of chili

3 tbsp. of olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Vegetable oil for frying


Preparation steps:

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop them into medium-sized cubes
  2. Deep fry the potato cubes in the vegetable oil and remove on a paper towel
  3. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and add the coriander, garlic and spices
  4. When the coriander is well cooked, add the fried potatoes and lemon juice
  5. Serve hot and decorate with fresh coriander leaves