You have probably heard that the Middle Eastern diet is one of the world’s healthiest diet. It has been touted to have all sorts of benefits including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and protecting against type 2 diabetes.
This is because it is majorly Meat & plant based, includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. In addition, it emphasizes the use of ultra-healthy olive oil. There is something for meat lovers too: delicious meats and fish are a huge part of the diet.
It is not hard to see how one can eat Middle Eastern food every day, and if not, at least over a 3 course meal. Here’s a little inspo for you.
Cooking and eating should always be fun so feel free to swap and replace some dishes for ones that you like better.
Call it a starter or an hors d’ouevre like the French do, an appetizer should be a small light meal that is served before the main course. Its purpose is to stimulate the appetite and prepare you for your meal. It shouldn’t be so heavy that it satisfies you, nor should it over power the main course. Sometimes, appetizers are shareable finger foods.
Middle Eastern cuisine excels in appetizers. Whether dinning alone or with company, there is something you can choose from. Hummus, Baba Ganoush served with crackers or pita bread are a famous choice, as well as plate of falafels that a group can share.
Since the Middle Eastern diet is big on vegetables, the hummus might also be accompanied by chopped vegetables or crudités or the appetizer might be an eggplant dish with pita bread. Toss in some olives to complete the Middle Eastern vibe.
In the 3 course meal, the main course will be the centre piece and both the appetizer and dessert should follow the theme it sets. For instance, if the appetizer you selected was Hummus dip with pita chips, it might follow that your main course is a delicious meat dish like Chicken Tawook, Beef Kababs or Chicken Shawarma.
Middle Eastern cuisine favours Beef & Lamb so a beef kabab dish might pair well. If you are seeking something heartier, consider the beef kafta which is a ground beef barbecue that filled with fat and flavour.
If beef isn’t your style, you cannot go wrong with chicken. Fire roasted Chicken Shawarma, Baked chicken rubbed with fresh herbs and accompanied by toasted vegetables & basmati rice is a go to. Vegetarians need not despair; a vegetarian falafel dish on rice toped with hummus, vegetables, tahini & garlic sauce can make the perfect main.
And finally, the dessert. There is still no consensus on if a dessert strictly needs to be sweet and it is lucky that the Middle Eastern diet offers a lot to choose from when it comes to dessert.
From famous dishes like Baklava, Konafa & Om Ali there are no shortages in Middle Eastern desserts. However most people in the Middle East keep the dessert healthy by eating some of the most delicious fruits in the world
The Middle Eastern diet is known to promote being physically active. End your 3 course meal with a short walk and maybe after that, a nap.