Popular Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes

Popular Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes (11 Must-Try Recipes)

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Updated on January 12, 2024

Reviewed by Fatma Mohamed

When you hear about Egyptian Cuisine, you usually think about Ful Medames, Falafel, Mahshy and Koshary Masry. These Egyptian favourites are among several dishes that you will find in every Egyptian house, at any given time during the week.

Tasty, affordable, fast-friendly and mouthwatering, we will talk about Egyptian Vegetarian dishes that will make you want a piece of Egypt, in your home. This is why I’ll include some recipes, some are simple, and others are a bit trickier, but they’re all delicious just the same.

Why Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes?

Delicious, savoury and right down sumptuous don’t begin to describe Egyptian cuisine. If there’s one word you can use to describe Egyptian cuisine, it is heart-filling. Many dishes in Egypt have a meaty version, and the vegetarian version is equally tasty.

One of the main elements in Egyptian cuisine is legumes, which are used in making many Egyptian staples, which happen to be vegetarian staples as well. These include Ful Medames, Falafel, the famous Koshari Masry and the all-time favourite, Hummus. Some of these dishes have had their place in Egyptian cuisine since the 13th century, and Egyptians exported them to the entire world.

There are a couple more reasons why there are many vegetarian dishes in Egyptian cuisine. The first is the affordability of the ingredients of these dishes; many of them are made using fava beans, for example, with a variety of leafy greens, elements that can be found in any Egyptian household.

The other reason is that Egyptian Coptic Christians fast for long periods of time during the year, during which they abstain from any meat-based proteins. Dishes that are packed with nutrients are ideal to cook during Christian fasting.

Regardless of any reason, Egyptians love good food, and whether it is vegetarian or not, you will find it on their table, at any given time during the year.

Are Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes Worth Trying?

I believe there’s only one way to find out: by giving them a try. There are some tricky dishes to make at home, perhaps just for the first time, and then you’ll know the recipe by heart that you can make it anytime.

But YES, Egyptian vegetarian dishes are worth a try. These dishes vary from main courses to dips, meze and soups. Some traditional Egyptian dishes originally contained meat, but they were altered where the meat was removed to make a vegetarian version, more suitable for the reasons mentioned above. Such dishes include the famous Egyptian Moussaka, Kofta Kadaba and Hummus.

What are the best Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes?

1.    Egyptian Koshary (Koshary Masry):

Origin Country: Egypt.

What about Koshary Masry?

An interesting mix of rice and pasta with the star ingredients is brown lentils, covered in a rich tomato sauce and garlic vinegar, then garnished with fried onions and sometimes chickpeas. This rather funny mix tastes even better when you add the usual sides; garlic vinegar, garlic juice and the tiniest drizzle of hot sauce. Koshary Masry is the national dish of Egypt and is one of the most favoured by Egyptians.

Koshary was first served at street stalls and carts, until recently when it made its way onto restaurant menus, with some specialising only in Koshary Masry, such as Koshary Al-Tahrir. The once “Food of the Poor” had been famous all along, even before the existence of specialised restaurants.

There are wide varieties of Koshary in the Mediterranean area and inside Egypt itself, such as using curry and cumin in making the rice of the Koshary in Alexandria. In recent years, Koshary began to become popular in other Arab countries, such as Yemen, with additions pertaining to that country’s cuisine, such as the use of basmati rice and even chicken, allowing similarities with kabsa.

The furthest Koshry has reached in Japan, where it is sold in karts in the streets while adding the Japanese touch as well. This includes adding raw tomatoes, basil chicken, fried eggs, sour cream, avocado slices, Cheddar sauce, and spicy powder with jalapeno.

The same with instant noodles, there’s also instant Koshary, where you only need to add hot water. Not the same as the fresh one, I tell you that.

Recipe and How to Make Koshary Masry at Home

Despite the fact there seem to be a lot of ingredients going into making Koshary Masry, it’s not that complicated to make. The dish mainly consists of cooking everything separately and combining them all together. Simple as that!

The following recipe will make up to three large servings or four medium servings.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 2 hours.
2.    Ingredients for the base:
  • 1 cup white Egyptian rice.
  • 1 cup small pasta noodles, your choice, but the smaller, the better.
  • 1 cup brown lentils.
  • 3 teaspoons of salt.
  • Water.
  • Precooked chickpeas.
3.    Ingredients for the tomato sauce:
  • 3 large tomatoes.
  • 1 medium-sized onion.
  • 4 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil.
  • Salt, black pepper and paprika.
  • 3 cups of water.
4.    Ingredients for the garlic sauce:
  • 6 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 TBS of white vinegar.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 3 teaspoons salt.
5.    Ingredients of the hot sauce:
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 cup of water.
6.    Ingredients for the fried onion garnish:
  • 2 large onions.
  • 3 cups of regular flour.
  • 2 teaspoons salt.
  • Vegetable oil for frying.
7.    Preparing and cooking the base:
  • In a small pot, add water to boil to make the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt, then the pasta.
  • Wash and rinse both the rice and the brown lentils, and drain them well.
  • In another small pot, add two cups of water and a cup of brown lentils, with a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let the lentils cook on low heat.
  • Add the rice cup with a cup and a half of water and one teaspoon of salt in a third small pot, bring to a boil, then let it cook on low heat.
  • Usually, the lentils will take more time to cook than the rice and the pasta, you can move on to making the remaining parts of the dish, while the lentils continue to cook.
  • The chickpeas are already cooked, you can add them while assembling them right away.
8.    Preparing and cooking the tomato sauce:
  • Dice the tomatoes, and the onions and mince the garlic cloves.
  • In a medium-sized pot, add the vegetable oil, then start by sauteeing the onions.
  • When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and the garlic.
  • Stir the mixture well, until the tomatoes are soft, then add the water.
  • When the mixture comes to a boil, take the pot off the heat and use a hand blender to blitz everything together.
  • Put the pot back on the stove and season according to taste.
  • Lower the heat and let cook beside the lentils slowly.
9.    Preparing and making the garlic sauce:
  • In a jug or a jar, mince the garlic.
  • Add the white vinegar and the salt.
  • Finish by adding the water, close the lid of the jar and shake well until the ingredients have combined and the salt starts dissolving.
10.  Preparing and making the hot sauce (You can use a ready-made hot sauce and skip this step):
  • In a blender, add the tomatoes, garlic, chilli powder, salt and water. Blitz everything together until they’re well combined.
11.  Preparing and making the fried onion garnish:
  • Thinly slice the onions, the thinner, the crispier when fried.
  • In a large bowl, add the onion slices, try separating the slices as much as you can.
  • Mix the flour and salt before adding them to the onions, and make sure they’re well coated.
  • Prepare a frying pan, you’ll need a lot of oil to ensure the onions are fried well and do not burn easily.
  • On medium heat, start adding patches of onions. Remove each patch when the onions have a golden colour.
  • Repeat until you’ve fried all the onions, be aware not to raise the heat on the frying pan, so as not to burn the onions. Also, dust the onions lightly before adding them, as extra flour will darken the colour of the frying oil and will give a burning taste.
12.  Assembling your Koshary:
  • Add a spoonful of each: rice, pasta, the brown lentils and the chickpeas.
  • A large spoon of the tomato sauce.
  • Another large spoon of garlic sauce.
  • Garnish with the crisp onion slices, and have the hot sauce on the side.
  • Add a bowl of tomato sauce and the jar of garlic sauce by your side as you eat, you won’t be able to get enough of them, nor of the fried onion slices.

And your homemade Koshary Masry is all ready to dig in. I promise you; it’s easier than it seems; there are only a lot of ingredients involved. Though, after you make it once, you will be able to speed up the process the following times.

Interesting Fact about Koshary Masry:

“Food of the Gods” is what the word “Kosheir” meant back in Ancient Egypt, where the current name Koshary came from. The dish was popular to eat after the 11th of Pachons, one of the months in the Ancient Egyptian calendar, as described by a priest from Heliopolis.

2.    Mahshy (Stuffed Vegetables and Leaves):

Origin Country: Regions that were once a part of the Ottoman Empire.

What about Mahshy?

Otherwise known as Dolma, this word of Turkish origin literally means “something stuffed” and all vegetables you can think of, even some fruits and leaves of vegetables have been stuffed as well. Green peppers, long eggplants, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, grape leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves. This version of Dolma; the wrapped leaves, is known as Sarma.

Stuffed grape or vine leaves is one of the most popular Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes

While in many places around the world, Dolma can be served as a small dish; a part of a meze menu, in Arabian cuisine, and in particular the Egyptian one, it is a beloved main course. Let me tell you this, Egyptians take Mashshy very seriously; it is the most common dish served for guests, as Mahshy takes a lot of effort into making it, it is a sign of importance and appreciation of the welcomed guests.

The traditional recipe of Mahshy in Egypt includes ground beef, but this doesn’t mean that the all-vegetarian version isn’t as tasty; it’s even better. Not only is ground beef taken out of the recipe during the fast of Egyptian Coptic Christians, but also the meat can be pricy. So, if the vegetarian version is still delicious, then why not?

Another important factor in making Egyptian Mahshy so tasteful is that it is cooked using chicken or meat soup, which are rich in flavour themselves. On the other hand, since this is an all-vegetarian recipe, vegetable soup, without the vegetables of course, can be used to cook the Mahshy. Or you can use tomato juice after spicing it up.

Recipe and How to Make Mahshy at Home

While the process of making Mahshy, namely assembling the ingredients and stuffing the vegetables or rolling the leaves, but it’s all worth it. This is a recipe for the making and the filling of the Mahshy, and you get to choose what vegetables or leaves to stuff. You can find grape leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves at the supermarket, all ready to stuff. Egyptians like them freshly prepared at home, though!

Long eggplants, green peppers and zucchini are prepared for stuffing by removing the pulp from the inside, after cutting the top off. Don’t throw any of the pulp or the cap of the green peppers away. We’ll need that for extra flavour. Also stuffing vegetables is an easier task than stuffing and rolling leaves, so you can give the vegetables a try first, if you’d like.

Let’s get on with it!

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 2 hours, including preparation.
2.    Ingredients for the filling:
  • 2 cups Egyptian rice.
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes.
  • 2 medium-sized onions.
  • 1 cup parsley.
  • 1 cup dill.
  • 1 cup cilantro.
  • 1 TBS tomato sauce.
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil.
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint.
  • 2 teaspoons salt.
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper.
  • 2 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander.
3.    Preparing the filling:
  • Wash the rice very well to drain as much of the starch as possible.
  • Puree the tomatoes.
  • Finely chop the onions or just whizz them up in the mixer.
  • Chop the parsley, dill and cilantro.
4.    Making the filling:
  • To the rice, add all the other ingredients, from the pureed tomatoes to all the spices, the tomato sauce and the vegetable oil.
  • Mix everything well together, and your Mahshy filling is ready. You can taste the filling, of course, it’s quite tasty on its own.
5.    Ingredients for the Mahshy:
  • ½ kilo grape leaves or cabbage leaves, ready to stuff and roll.
  • 1/8 kilo long eggplants.
  • 1/8 kilo zucchini.
  • 4 cups vegetable soup or tomato juice, spiced with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
6.    Preparing the vegetables:
  • Drain the grape or cabbage leaves from their brine and rinse.
  • Wash and cut the eggplants and zucchini, into twos or threes to make each piece the same size as your thumb.
  • You can use a small knife or spoon to remove the core of the eggplants and zucchini.
7.    Stuffing and cooking the vegetables:
  • In a medium-sized pot, add the core you removed from the eggplants and zucchini at the bottom. Choose two grape or cabbage leaves to cover the core you placed at the bottom.
  • Start by stuffing the eggplants and zucchini and arranging them symmetrically at the bottom.
  • When done, start by placing each grape or cabbage leaf on its face on the counter, add a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the leaf, bring the bottom of the leaf up first, then the sides to meet in the middle, then roll the entire leaf.
  • Arrange the stuffed leaves on top of the eggplants and zucchini.  
  • When you’re done, add the vegetable soup or the tomato juice and make sure it covers the Mahshy by about 1 centimetre.
  • Place on high heat until it starts to bubble; lower the heat and cook for additional 45 minutes or until the leaves are completely cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the Mahshy to cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to serve it. This allows the rice to cool down in the filling and for the vegetables to come out intact.

Mahshy is another great Egyptian dish that somehow becomes more delicious when eaten cold or the next day. Typically, Mahshy is eaten beside proteins such as meat or chicken. Though, it is equally delicious on its own.

Interesting Fact about Mahshy:

There’s no better time to taste the best Mahshy in Egypt, than the first day of Ramadan. Almost every household in Egypt cooks Mahshy on the first day, to mark the beginning of the holy month and to give strength and sustenance to the fasting population. And, if you’re invited into an Egyptian home, and they serve you Mahshy, know you are truly welcomed into their home.

3.    Koshary Asfar (Yellow Lentil):

Origin Country: Egypt.

What about Koshary Asfar?

Widely known among many as a poor man’s meal, Koshary Asfar, literal for Yellow Lentil, comprises only two ingredients. However, these two ingredients, when combined, and eaten with the tasteful side dishes traditionally served with it, make for the most filling, mouthwatering meal.

Koshary Asfar is made using rice and yellow lentils, with a pinch of salt for seasoning, and you’re done. The side dishes completing this meal are usually boiled eggs, fried eggplants and green peppers and fried onion slices. According to where you are in Egypt, the side dishes may vary, some like to fry the boiled eggs, serve onion slices soaked in vinegar on the side, along with some sweet dates to counteract the savoury taste of the entire meal.

A sauce made of minced garlic and salt diluted in some water enhances the taste of the fried eggplants and green peppers, served beside the yellow lentils, if that’s even possible. Egyptians eat Koshary Asfar occasionally since its ingredients are easy to come by and are available in every household.

Recipe and How to make Koshary Asfar at Home

All you need to make Koshary Asfar are two ingredients; here’s the recipe for this simply delicious dish.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 30 minutes.
2.    Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Egyptian rice.
  • ½ cup yellow lentils.
  • 1 ¼ cups of water.
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
3.    Preparation:
  • Combine the rice and the lentils and wash them thoroughly to drain the starch out of the rice.
  • Drain the water out of the rice and lentils.
4.    Cooking Koshary Asfar:
  • In a large pot, add the oil and when it starts to warm up, in about a minute, add the water.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add the salt.
  • Add the rice and lentil mix and stir well.
  • Wait until the mixture starts to boil, then lower the heat, and cover.
  • In 15 minutes, your Koshary Asfar will be ready, turn off the fire and leave for 5 minutes before opening the lid.

In the time the Koshary Asfar is cooking, you could’ve made your boiled eggs, fried the eggplants and green peppers and sliced up some onions, whether for frying, serving with vinegar or adding to your salad.

Interesting Fact about Koshary Asfar:

 Adding a spoonful of the garlic sauce of the fried eggplants to your plate of Koshary Asfar, will transform the taste completely. You should definitely give it a try.

4.    Shurbat Al-Adas (Lentil Soup):

Origin Country: The Mediterranean.

What about Shurbat Al-Adas?

Lentil Soup is made in many parts of the world, using different kinds of Lentils as the main component. These Lentils can be yellow, red, green, brown or black, sometimes with and without their husk. The soup can be made with and without meat, pureed or served whole. Whichever way it is made or served, Lentil Soup is a staple in many cuisines around the Middle East, Latin America and Europe.

Yellow Lentil Soup is a favourite Egyptian Vegetarian Dish

In Egypt, Lentil Soup is a staple in two cases. During the cold winter seasons and when you have a cold and are in need of something to fill your soul, as well as satisfy your appetite. Ingredients of Lentil Soup in Egypt can be found in every home and can be changed using the vegetables you have in your fridge.

Recipe and How to Make Shurbat Al-Adas at Home

All you need are Yellow Lentils and the vegetables from your fridge. Here’s a basic Yellow Lentil Soup recipe.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 1 hour.
2.    Ingredients:
  • 1 cup yellow lentils.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 1 small tomato.
  • 1 small green pepper.
  • 1 small zucchini.
  • 1 small potato.
  • 1 small carrot.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric.
  • 1 litre of water.
3.    Preparation:
  • Wash the lentils and drain them.
  • Roughly chop and dice all the vegetables.
4.    Cooking Shurbat Al-Adas:
  • In a pot, add 1 litre of water, until it heats up.
  • Start adding all the vegetables.
  • When the water starts to boil with the vegetables, add the yellow lentils and lower the heat.
  • Yellow lentils will dissolve in the water and the vegetables would’ve cooked fully in about 20 minutes.
  • Take the pot off the heat and wait for it to cool a bit and whizz everything together using a hand blender.
  • Put the pot back on, add the spices and bring to a simmer.

Then your delicious homemade Shurbat Al-Adas is ready to serve. A slice of toasted bread is perfect for dipping into the soup as well.

Interesting Fact about Surbat Al-Adas:

Even though there are green lentils, your Yellow Lentil Soup can turn green if you add eggplants to the soup mix. Give it a try; I promise the taste gets even better! Adding red or yellow peppers gives a sweet taste to the soup as well.

5.    Kosbareya (Green Fava Beans):

Origin Country: Egypt.

What about Kosbareya?

Many Egyptians love to eat green fava beans; it’s a very healthy and filling snack. Green fava beans don’t just have some sweetness to them, but they’re also loaded with nutrients such as fibre, minerals, vitamins and protein as well as nutrients to boost immunity. Modern science discovers more benefits to these legumes day after day, including in the medical field, where green fava beans are said to help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

There’s another type of Kosbareya known in Egypt. However, this one is known as Kosbareyt El-Samak or Fish Kosbareya, and it has nothing to do with our green fava beans Kosbareya; it doesn’t even have green fava beans in it. So be sure if you’re ordering in a restaurant, what Kosbareya you’re talking about.

Recipe and How to Make Kosbareya at Home

To make Kosbareya at home, all you need to have is some love for green fava beans and these few ingredients, then you’re ready to go.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 30 minutes, including preparation.
2.    Ingredients:
  • ½ kilo green fava beans.
  • 2 cups white Egyptian rice.
  • 2 cups water.
  • 3 cups tomato juice.
  • 1 large onion.
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon chili, optional.
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley.
3.    Preparation:
  • Get the green fava beans out of their bods.
  • Wash the rice and drain it of any water.
  • Dice the onion.
  • Mince the garlic.
4.    Cooking the Kosbareya:
  • In a large pot, add the oil and sautee the onion and the garlic.
  • When the vegetables are translucent, add the green fava beans, and sautee for 5 minutes.
  • Add all the spices and stir well.
  • Cover and leave to cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add the tomato juice, stir well and cover to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the rice and the water, wait for it to boil before turning down the heat.
  • When the rice has sucked up all the liquid in the bot, you’re all done.

Serve your dish of Kosbareya with a touch of chopped parsley, if you wish and with a side of green salad.

Interesting Fact about Kosbareya:

While cilantro and dried coriander both in Arabic means Kosbara, you might think this is where Kosbareya got its name. But that’s not true. The reason behind the naming of Kosbareya remains unknown.

6.    Ful Medames (Fava Beans):

Origin Country: Ancient Egypt.

What about Ful Medames?

During the Middle Ages in Cairo, Ful Medames was widely made around Cairo’s Princess Baths, which were public baths where fire continuously burnt to heat the water. The fire burning continued even after the baths closed at the end of the day, so the large pots, known as Qidras, used to cook Ful Medames, were placed to cook using these fires. At one point, the fires burning all day long, which fuelled the monopolisation of Ful making in Cairo.

depositphotos 61429795 stock photo broad bean stew

Ful Medames is a national dish in Egypt and is a staple in everyday life in the country. Typically made using fava beans, there are many other types of beans used by Egyptians to make Ful Medames. These types include Ful Baladi or Country Beans; Ful Rumi or European Broad Beans, Ful Akhdar or Green Ful are Fresh Fava Beans, Ful Nabit or Fava Bean Sprouts and Ful Madshush or Crushed Fava Beans.

The process of cooking the beans themselves is the time-consuming one; it’s preferred you slow cook the beans on low heat overnight so that you can enjoy them the following day over breakfast. Ful Medames has a very mild taste and can be spiced and garnished in many ways, which changes its taste dramatically. A tangy dish of Ful is prepared using cumin, vegetable oil and a squeeze of lemon. While using butter or ghee with some salt gives the creamiest and richest taste.

A very rich version of Ful Medames is made using fried eggs, where you add the Ful to your eggs in one pan and make the dish widely known as Beed bel Ful or Eggs with Ful. One more variation is by sauteeing an onion, adding crushed tomatoes and then finishing up with adding the Ful, creating Ful Medames with Tomato Salsa and seasoning it with only salt and black pepper.

Ful is eaten for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. It has become such a famous dish in Egypt that the country exported the beans to many countries in North Africa, the Gulf and the Levant. Each country of these regions has created their version of Ful Medames.

Recipe and How to Make Ful Medames at Home

As with many staples of Egyptian Vegetarian dishes, you can actually buy ready-made Ful Medames, that’s just the beans cooked, and you season them according to your taste and preference at home. The varieties of Ful are endless, so we’ll just prepare the beans together and then it’s all up to you.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 12 hours, including the soaking of the beans before cooking.
2.    Ingredients:
  • ½ kilo Ful Baladi.
  • ½ cup yellow lentils.
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced.
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, diced.
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, grated.
  • 1 TBS turmeric.
  • Half a lemon.
  • Water.
3.    Cooking the Ful:
  • After washing the beans, you need to soak it in fresh water for around 8 hours.
  • Drain the beans, add them to a large pot with water.
  • Add the yellow lentils, the sliced onion, the diced tomato and the grated carrot and squeeze the half lemon.
  • After the mix boils, lower the heat and leave on for four hours or until the beans are fully cooked and soft. Every now and then, you’ll need to check the water level to ensure it doesn’t dry out. If the water lessens, add one cup to two cups of water.

Now you have basic Ful Medames, which you can season and serve as you wish. Let’s try Ful Medames with Tahini together:

1.    Ingredients for two cups of Ful Medames:
  • 2 cups Ful Medames.
  • 1 grated onion.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 5 TBS Tahini.
  • 3 TBS yogurt.
  • 4 TBS lemon juice.
  • 2 teaspoons of salt and cumin.
2.    Preparing and assembling Ful Medames with Tahini:
  • In a bowl combine the tahini, the yogurt, the lemon juice and the minced garlic, add the salt and cumin.
  • In a pan, add the oil until it heats up, add the onion until it’s golden brown.
  • Add the Ful Medames to the onions and stir them well together before adding the tahini mixture; stir everything together and leave them on low heat until the Ful simmers.

Then your Ful Medames with Tahini is ready to serve in a bowl; you can just eat it right away like that, or perhaps garnish it with some chopped parsley or chopped tomatoes.

Interesting Fact about Ful Medames:

Ful Medames is traditionally eaten as a Suhour Meal, late night meal, during Ramadan, before the next day of fasting starts. Since the beans take a long time to be digested, you get a feeling of fullness the following day. Hence you won’t feel as hungry while fasting.

7.    Bissara:

Origin Country: Egypt.

What about Bissara?

Viewed by some as being healthier than Ful Medames, Bissara is also made from crushed broad beans. The dish is commonly cooked in Egypt and Morocco as well. As with many vegetarian dishes, the Egyptian Bissara includes many leafy greens, including parsley, dill, spinach and mint. There’s a version of Egyptian Bissara with Molokhiya in it. However, this version is most common among Egyptian expatriates living in Palestine.

Bissara is considered a healthy dish since it includes many nutritious ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, lemon juice, salt, cumin as well as pureed broad beans. Due to the simple ingredients required, Bissara has been observed by many as a pauper’s dish. Even though this yummy dish is commonly served among breakfast dishes, it can be served among lunch and dinner dishes as well.

Recipe and How to Make Bissara at Home

Bissara is a very delicious and easy-to-make dish, which you can adjust to your preference and enjoy right at home. Here’s everything you’ll need and the simplest way to make Bissara at home.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 2 hours.
2.    Ingredients for the Bissara:
  • ¼ kilo peeled broad beans.
  • 1 large onion.
  • 5 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley.
  • 2 TBS chopped dill.
  • 1 TBS chopped coriander.
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Salt to taste.
3.    Ingredients for the garnish:
  • 2 small onions, sliced.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Oil for frying.
4.    Preparation of the Bissara:
  • Wash the broad beans of any impurities, then soak in water for an hour.
  • Chop all the onions for the Bissara and the serving garnish.
  • Chop the leafy greens; parsley, dill and coriander.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Thinly slice the garnish onion.
5.    Cooking the Bissara:
  • Drain the broad beans from water and add to a large pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil.
  • When the broad beans come to a boil, add the onions and the garlic, and leave on to cook for another hour.
  • Add the leafy greens, and season with salt, black pepper and cumin. Leave the mixture for an extra 10 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and let the pot cool before whizzing all the ingredients together to get a creamy texture.
  • Put the pot back on, on low heat, until it starts to bubble.
6.    Preparing the garnish:
  • In a frying pan, add the oil until it is hot enough.
  • Add the sliced onions until they are golden brown and remove.
  • Add the garlic until it changes colour, and remove.
7.    Assembling the Bissara:
  • In a bowl, add the Bissara after it has cooled down a bit, on top add the fried onions and garlic, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Bissara is a heart-filling, delicious and nutritious dish. Enjoy with fresh bread; even better if this bread is straight out of the oven.

Interesting Fact about Bissara:

Bessara was widely made by farmers until recent years, when the dish began to make its way through meze menus in many places and is eaten as a dip with bread. If you’re looking for a hearty meal and one that will give you warmth during those cold winter nights, Bissara’s got you covered.

8.    Falafel:

Origin Country: Egypt, the Levant and the Middle East.

What about Falafel?

Falafel is deep-fried fritters, whether they are shaped as small balls or disks. There are two versions of Falafel: the Levantine and Middle Eastern version, and Egyptian version. The main difference is in the star ingredient of the Falafel; in Egypt they are made using broad beans, while the Levant uses chickpeas.

A delicious Falafel Wrap

Also known as Ta’myya, Falafel is one of the most common breakfast components in Egypt, whether they are wrapped in pita bread, with the addition of tahini sauce, green salad and pickles to make the most delicious sandwich, or they are dipped in tahini or Baba Ghanoush and eaten as a snack. Either way, Falafel are mouthwatering.

In Alexandria, chili flakes are added to the Falafel making for a bit of a spicier version of the fritters. Plain, with a little heat and with a touch of roasted or black sesame seeds, Falafel will surely win you over.

Recipe and How to Make Falafel at Home

There are two ways you can make Falafel at home, either by buying a premade batter, adding some extra spices and sesame seeds, frying it, and you’re ready to go or making the batter from scratch, which is a lengthy process. We’ll go through how to make your Falafel batter and then the preparation and cooking process follows, which is the same in both cases.

Making your own Falafel mix is largely up to preference because you use the same basis, soaked broad beans, and add the leafy greens you desire to change up the taste. The time consumed in making Falafel batter from the start goes into the process of soaking the broad beans, which need to be washed and soaked overnight.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 30 minutes in addition to the overnight soaking time.
2.    Ingredients for the batter:
  • Half a kilo of broad beans.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped green onions.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped leek.
  • 10 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped.
  • 2 TBS salt.
  • 2 TBS dried cilantro.
  • 3 TBS ground cumin.
  • ½ black pepper.
  • 1 TBS chili flakes, optional.
  • 1TBS baking powder.
3.    Making the Falafel batter:
  • Drain the broad beans well from any water.
  • Mince the broad beans gradually in the mixer until you’ve minced them all.
  • Again in the mixer, add all the leafy vegetables, parsley, green onions, cilantro, leek, garlic, the onion, along with the spices and whizz them all together.
  • Add the vegetable, spices mixture and baking powder to the broad bean mixture and start whizzing parts of the overall mix to make for a smoother and more blended batter. The more you mince the batter, the smoother it will get, so beware, it doesn’t get runny.
  • If the batter feels dry even after mincing it all together, you can add an egg to soften it. Which is a step we will talk about in the cooking process.

If you buy the Falafel batter, here’s what you’ll need, to make this yummy food:

1.    Ingredients (for one cup of Falafel batter):
  • 1 large egg.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper and cumin.
  • 1 TBS of white sesame seeds or a mix of white and black sesame seeds.
  • Oil for frying.
  • Add all ingredients to the Falafel batter, to make for a smooth batter.
2.    Cooking the Falafel (This is where you’ll follow up after making your Falafel batter as well):
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  • Spoon the batter with a spoon or an ice cream scoop, and fry until golden from the outside.

Best served with tahini on the side, green salad and a cup of Egyptian-style tea. Even though Falafel becomes golden and crisp from the outside, they still maintain a bit of fluffiness inside, which distinguishes its taste from other types of fritters.

Interesting Fact about Falafel:

You can save your Falafel batter, whether homemade or bought, for up to a month in the deep freezer. McDonald’s serves a McFalafel Sandwich as part of the restaurant’s breakfast menu everywhere in Egypt. Just beware; it’s a bit spicy. The Jordanian capital Amman holds the record for the world’s largest Falafel disc, weighing 75 kilogrammes.

Falafel is one of several components making up a ” Dynamite ” sandwich. This sandwich includes Falafel, salad, tahini, French fries, pickles, fried eggplant or Baba Ghanoush, fried green peppers and a fried egg if you’d like. Why is it called “Dynamite”? Well, when you eat this sandwich, followed by an Egyptian cup of tea, you won’t be able to breathe. 

9.    Vegetarian Moussaka:

Origin Country: Egypt, the Middle East, the Levant and Greece.

What about Vegetarian Moussaka?

Different variants of Moussaka originated from different places around the world. There’s the Bechamel-covered Moussaka, native to Greece; meat-based and vegetarian-based Moussaka are native to Egypt, meat-sauce based Moussaka is native to Turkey, and they’re all served differently; some places serve it hot, and others serve it cold.

Moussaka is traditionally made with fried eggplant and salsa

Traditional Egyptian Moussaka is made up of several layers. A thin layer of tomato salsa, followed by a layer of fried eggplant, a layer of seasoned ground beef and ended by another layer of fried eggplant. For extra taste, you can add some slices of fried green peppers, which give a sweet and peppery hint. The last step is covering the Moussaka with the rest of the tomato salsa and baking it in the oven.

Serving and eating Moussaka in Egypt also differs according to preference. Some love to eat it sizzling hot out of the oven, and others love leaving it to cool down. Some love to eat it with white rice, and others love to scoop-eating it with bread.

Vegetarian Moussaka in Egypt is ideal for fasting days, especially for Christians who are fasting off any sort of protein such as meat, chicken, and dairy products, hence avoiding foods with butter and cream. In this regard, the bubbly tomato salsa covering the fried eggplant is enough to satisfy every appetite.

Another alternative to frying the eggplant can be baking them first in the oven if you’re abstaining from oil-based dishes or watching your calories. This is because eggplant is known to absorb all oil it can. The rule of thumb is: “The more oil you give eggplant, the more it will absorb.”

Recipe and How to Make Vegetarian Moussaka at Home

Making Egyptian Vegetarian Moussaka couldn’t be easier; here’s everything you need:

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 1 hour.
2.    Ingredients:
  • Eggplant.
  • Green peppers.
  • Tomato.
  • Salt and black pepper.
  • Optional spices including onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and a brush of nutmeg.
  • Water.
  • Oil for frying.
3.    Preparation:
  • Cut the eggplants into thin slices.
  • Cut the green peppers in halves.
  • Add the tomatoes, water, salt, black pepper and other spices, and whizz everything together in the blender.
4.    Assembling and Cooking the Moussaka:
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius/ 350 F.
  • Start by frying all the eggplant first, leave the green peppers till the end.
  • Add a thin layer of tomato salsa to the tray’s bottom.
  • Add the first layer of eggplant and green peppers.
  • Add another layer of salsa.
  • Repeat until you’ve added the last layer of eggplant and the remaining salsa.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

You can enjoy your vegetarian Moussaka right out of the oven and leave some for the next day; I promise it’s worth it.

Interesting Fact about Egyptian Vegetarian Moussaka:

Moussaka tastes even better when you eat it the following day. The eggplant soaks up all the goodness of the tomato salsa and becomes tastier. I might add that this is true for almost all eggplant-based dishes. Or it might be just me!

10. Kofta Kaddaba (Fake Rice Kofta):

Origin Country: Egypt

What about Kofta Kaddaba?

Traditional Rice Kofta is a sumptuous combination of minced meat, parsley, cilantro and dill, and the other star of the dish is crushed rice. These ingredients are all blended together, shaped into either fingers or discs, fried and then cooked in tomato salsa to give you the most delicious Rice Kofta.

There’s another variation of the traditional Rice Kofta, the meaty one, the Kofta is all shaped into discs, and instead of frying them, they are boiled in broth, you get them out, and they’re ready to devour. This variation of Rice Kofta is called by many as Kabbah or Kobeba.

Kofta Kaddaba literally means “Lying Kofta”, and this version is made using all the ingredients except for the minced meat, of course. You might wonder, what holds the Rice Kofta together? There are more vegetarian ingredients in this mix than in the original Rice Kofta. A potato, an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, and two small green peppers. The secret ingredient is adding homemade breadcrumbs.

Recipe and How to Make Kofta Kaddaba at Home

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 1 hour, 30 minutes.
2.    Ingredients for the Kofta:
  • 2 cups of short-grain rice.
  • A total of 1 ½ cups chopped parsley, dill and cilantro.
  • 1 large potato.
  • 1 large onion.
  • 2 small green peppers.
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 chili pepper for heat, optional.
  • 1 loaf of traditional Feno bread or toast, whizzed.
  • Vegetable oil, for frying.
3.    Ingredients for the Tomato Salsa:
  • 1 large onion.
  • 3 large tomatoes.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil.
  • Seasonings include salt, pepper, cumin and paprika.
  • Water.
4.    Preparing the Fake Rice Kofta:
  • Wash the rice and let it soak for 15 minutes, then rinse.
  • Chop all ingredients, including the onion, potato, green peppers and chili pepper if you’re using them.
  • In a blender or if you have a mincer, even better, add a portion of every ingredient together and start the blender or mincer. The batter should come out sticky, but you should be able to work with it. Finish mincing all the ingredients.
  • If the batter is a little sticky or runny, you can add some of the homemade breadcrumbs.
  • Shape all the batter however you like, as fingers, balls or discs.
5.    Preparing the Tomato Salsa:
  • Dice the onion and the tomatoes.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • In a large pot, sautee the onions until they’re translucent, then add the chopped tomatoes and the minced garlic.
  • Using a hand blender, whizz all the ingredients together, then add water, as desired to make the salsa and season according to taste.
  • Let simmer on the side.
6.    Combining everything together:
  • Fry the rice kofta and do your best not to devour it like this; it tastes equally as delicious.
  • The tomato salsa should be boiling by then; finish frying all the kofta first before adding it to the simmering salsa.
  • Lower the heat; in less than 30 minutes, the kofta would’ve absorbed all the water from the juicy salsa.

Your Vegetarian Rice Kofta is all ready to go.

Interesting Fact about Kofta Kaddaba:

Like many Egyptian dishes, Fake Rice Kofta is more delicious when you eat it the next day. You can eat the kofta with bread, white rice, or just the salsa. Trust me, the more salsa, the tastier.

11. Hummus:

Origin Country: Egypt and the Levant.

What about Hummus?

This tasty dish is a dip native to the Middle East and is made using various ingredients depending on how you’d like to eat it. The traditional Hummus made in Egypt has chickpeas and tahini as the main components. The main spicing elements are garlic and lemon juice.

There are variations of Hummus that aren’t vegetarian; when served with thin slices of cooked meat, whole chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil. This is how Hummus is usually served in Turkey and several Arab countries, as part of a meze menu.

Chickpeas are very rich and dense in taste, which is a taste enhanced by adding the tahini, the lemon juice and minced garlic add the extra zing to the dish. You can eat it as a dip among the dishes of a meal, or you can spread it over a piece of pita bread and eat it as a snack.

Recipe and How to Make Hummus at Home

Making Hummus the Egyptian way is very easy, ingredient-wise and method-wise. Let’s get to it.

1.    Cooking Time:
  • 15 minutes.
2.    Ingredients:
  • 2 cups boiled chickpeas.
  • 1 ½ lemon juice.
  • ½ vegetable oil.
  • 10 TBS of the chickpeas brine.
  • 8 teaspoons tahini.
  • Salt as desirable.
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley for garnishing.
3.    Preparation:
  • Put all ingredients into the mixer and start by pulsating them together.
  • Keep blending the ingredients until you get a smooth mixture, and you’re all done.
  • Serve the Hummus in a bowl, and garnish with a drizzle of oil and parsley.

Interesting Fact about Hummus:

Hummus is more chickpeas than tahini; chickpeas are very nutritious. The Omega-3 in chickpeas is good for your skin, and the amino acids in them will make you feel happy and are also good for your digestive system because they are rich in fibre.

There’s something for everyone to eat in Egyptian cuisine; the previous examples are some of the versatility of this rich and mouthwatering cuisine.

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