Are there vegetarian or vegan options in Syrian cuisine?


Syrian cuisine is known for its rich and diverse flavors, with a focus on meat as the primary ingredient. Meat is a staple in the Syrian diet, with lamb being the most commonly used meat. However, there are also many vegetarian and vegan options in Syrian cuisine, which are often overlooked.

Vegetarian options in Syrian cuisine:

There are plenty of vegetarian options in Syrian cuisine, such as tabbouleh, a salad made with parsley, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat. Another popular vegetarian dish is hummus, a dip made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. Other vegetarian dishes include baba ghanoush, a dip made from roasted eggplant, and fattoush, a salad made with mixed greens, vegetables, and toasted pita bread.

Vegan options in Syrian cuisine:

While it may seem difficult to find vegan options in Syrian cuisine, there are actually many dishes that are naturally vegan, such as mujadara, a lentil and rice dish, and ful medames, a stew made from fava beans. Additionally, many traditional Syrian dips and salads are vegan-friendly, such as muhammara, a dip made from roasted red peppers and walnuts, and tabbouleh.

Popular meatless dishes in Syrian cuisine:

Many popular Syrian dishes can be made meatless, such as kibbeh, a stuffed meatball dish that can be made with a variety of fillings, including vegetarian options like mushrooms or spinach. Another popular dish is shakshuka, a tomato-based stew that is typically made with eggs, but can be made vegan by omitting the eggs.

Traditional Syrian dishes that can be made vegetarian or vegan:

Many traditional Syrian dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan with a few simple substitutions. For example, the popular dish, shawarma, can be made with falafel instead of meat, and mujadara can be made vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth. Additionally, many Syrian breads, such as pita bread, are vegan-friendly.


Despite its reputation as a meat-centric cuisine, Syrian cuisine offers a wealth of vegetarian and vegan options. From traditional dishes that can be easily made meatless to naturally vegan-friendly dishes, exploring the diversity of Syrian cuisine can be a delicious and rewarding experience for vegetarians and vegans alike.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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