Savour the incredible flavours of lemon, tahini, garlic and tomato in this decadent Lebanese dinner

I love trying foods from different cultures and Lebanese food is right up there on my list of favourites. I wanted a little inspiration so I took a few Lebanese cookbooks out from the library and had dinner at Nuba, an amazing Lebanese restaurant with four locations in Vancouver.

Najib's Special is one of my favourite dishes at Nuba. It's a roasted cauliflower dish with lemon, sea salt and tahini that I tried to copy for this meal. 

We also had an amazing kebab plate called the Chicken Tawook, with succulent chunks of white meat seasoned in paprika, thyme, lemon and garlic. For this meal I found a slightly different chicken kebab recipe in The Lebanese Cookbook that was also delicious.

The eggplant tomato recipe in The Lebanese Cookbook really caught my eye, and even though it took a little extra work and caused my dirty dish pile to be a little higher when all was said and done, it was totally worth it – I swooned at every bite.

Najib's Special Cauliflower

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp tahini

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
  3. Add cauliflower, mixing well to coat evenly.
  4. Place mixture in covered casserole dish and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Remove cauliflower from oven and drizzle with tahini. 

Eggplant Tomato Moussaka

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and then widthwise, and then thinly slice into half moons.
  2. Heat about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add eggplant pieces, two or three at a time, and cook for about 45 seconds per side or until slightly browned.
  4. Remove pieces with slotted spoon to casserole dish.
  5. Continue to cook eggplant pieces and lay them in two layers in casserole dish.
  6. Top eggplant with an even layer of the chickpeas.
  7. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat and cook garlic and onion until onion is translucent.
  8. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring well to combine, bring to a boil, and cover and let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Evenly cover chickpea layer with tomato mixture and then top with sliced tomato.
  10. Cook in 350F oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

Broiled Chicken Kebabs

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in large resealable bag.
  2. Let marinate for 1 to 24 hours.
  3. Thread chicken pieces onto skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer.
  4. Grease wire rack and place on baking sheet.
  5. Arrange skewers on rack and broil on high for about 12 minutes, turning over half way through.
  6. Check to make sure chicken is no longer pink in the middle and serve immediately.