Adapting Gulf cuisine into mouthwatering vegetarian recipes

By Samsung 16.07.2015

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Adapting Gulf cuisine into mouthwatering vegetarian recipes

Add a different flavour to your traditional dishes for a lighter meal.

Although many Arabic food recipes seem to revolve around meat and dairy products, you don't have to feel limited! With a few small adaptations, you can transform traditional Gulf dishes into easy vegetarian recipes that taste delicious. All of the meals included are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Try them out!


Veganise this traditional chicken dish with seitan, a perfect replacement for poultry that is loaded with protein and rich flavour.


16 ounces of seitan (or firm tofu, if unavailable)

3 tablespoons flax oil

2 teaspoons cardamom powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

4 cups basmati rice

1 ½ turmeric powder

2 green peppers

3 tablespoon rose water

2 teaspoons all-spice or Arabic spice mix

3 onions, diced

3 tomatoes, chopped

4 dried limes

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped ginger

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ cup fresh lemon juice.



Rinse your rice and soak in cold water. Preheat the oven to 360°F. Mix dry spices in a small dish, then rub over seitan or firm tofu slices. Sauté the onions in a small saucepan with the limes and bell peppers. Drop in the slices of seitan, while stirring. Sprinkle in more of the spice mix, the coriander leaves and crushed garlic cloves. Cover and cook until the peppers and onions are tender. Transfer the seitan or tofu to a greased baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with oil. Grill in the oven until brown. Meanwhile, pour the water into the spice mixture and cook the rice until the liquid is absorbed. Serve the seitan over the rice, and top with rose water and lemon juice.


This well-loved Arabic food dish is often served during the holy month of Ramadan. Lots of rich, soft lentils and a rich veggie stew make this a crowd-pleaser.


3 large pieces of vegan flatbread, left out for an hour to crisp (see below for recipe)

2 cups dry green or red lentils

2 cups of diced onions

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

6½ cups of water

1 tablespoon of corn oil

2 large tomatoes, chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

2 whole black dried lemons, halved

2 chilli peppers

3 cubes of vegetarian bouillon

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon black lemon powder

1½ teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

4 small potatoes, quartered

4 small zucchinis, halved

1 large carrot, chopped


Rinse the lentils and then boil them in a large pot for about 45 minutes or until tender, removing the film on top when needed. Strain the lentils into a dish. Brown the onions in the oil, then stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Add all the vegetables except the zucchini, coating them with the mixture. Cook until soft. Add the broth, lentils, dried lemons, bouillon cubes and other ingredients except for the zucchini and cilantro, and bring to a simmer. Add the zucchini and cilantro, cook until tender. To serve, tear the bread into pieces and arrange a layer in each bowl. Spoon the broth mixture over the bread to soak it, and repeat for several layers of soaked bread. Spoon the stew over the bread layers and serve.


Vegan flatbread

This easy-to-make staple can be combined with a wide variety of Gulf mezze and stews and is free of animal products.


3 tablespoons thick coconut milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Extra flour for rolling
2/3 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup warm water
2 tablespoons flaxseed oil


With a fork, stir together the dry ingredients and then slowly stir the milk in. Add water and knead until the dough becomes even and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Add a bit of flour and knead again for a consistent texture. Roll the dough into a cylinder shape and slice into approximately a dozen sections, and then roll each into a ball. Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball into a shape about seven inches wide and drop each, one-by-one, into a medium-hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form, then flip and cook the other side until slightly brown. Alternatively, these can also be baked on a hot pan at 470°F for about five minutes.