cover image The Levantine Vegetarian: Recipes from the Middle East

The Levantine Vegetarian: Recipes from the Middle East

Salma Hage. Phaidon, $39.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-83866-764-1

Hage (The Lebanese Kitchen) extols the vegetarian bounty of the Levant in this appealing collection. The region is known for its vegetable sharing plates, but Hage goes well beyond mezze. A brunch chapter includes muffin-style buns—made with a batter that incorporates cooked, soaked, and ground rice—served with fried eggs. The chapter on grain dishes proffers Egyptian chickpeas and rice topped with fried vermicelli and caramelized onions, while the chapter on breads features six-inch flatbreads with various toppings and rectangles of dough stuffed with tahini and garlic. Herbs and spices star in dishes such as tofu with black lime and heaps of herbs, and mushroom kebabs rubbed with cumin and cardamom. A chapter packed with appetizing snacks offers polenta crisps with herb dipping sauce, while small plates include za’atar puff pastry pinwheels. Drinks, sauces, and desserts, including grilled apricots paired with mild mascarpone, round out the selection. Hage has a steady hand in her instructions and shares a number of clever ideas, making the dishes feel approachable. Each recipe is also helpfully marked with symbols indicating, among other things, if they are gluten-free or take under 30 minutes to prepare. Home cooks will treasure this. (May)