5 Gluten-Free Middle Eastern Foods To Look Forward To At Our Sydney Restaurant

A problem that plagues many people in Sydney is their gluten-free diet. Whether it be by choice, or out of medical necessity, it’s fair to say that a gluten-free diet doesn’t just limit your choice in foods but also the selection of restaurants available to you. We’re proud to say that Middle Eastern food very easily caters to gluten-free diets, making our Sydney restaurant the perfect place to easily enjoy an array of food.

Middle Eastern cuisine is largely accommodating of many types of diets – from having several vegan dishes to offering naturally gluten-free food. As gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly common, we found it apt to discuss how gluten-free-friendly Middle Eastern food is and what some of the options available at our restaurant are.

Whether you’re looking for new food to enjoy with friends, you’re sick of having the same gluten-free food every day or, you’re simply glad to find out that Middle Eastern food has gluten-free options, we’re here to let you know what some of our best gluten-free options are.

Why does Middle Eastern food cater to a gluten-free diet so easily?

Before we dive in, let’s first take a look at why Middle Eastern cuisine does not naturally include gluten in some of their dishes.  Though heavily centred on bread, there’s a reason why many dishes are naturally gluten-free.

  • Many of their dishes are heavily based on fresh produce – Using seasonal ingredients is important in Middle Eastern cuisine. These ingredients usually include fresh vegetables such as parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplant to name a few. As a result, many dishes are salads, pickled vegetables or vegetable stews and are gluten-free.
  • Legumes are central – Legumes are often used in Middle Eastern cuisine as well. It bulks up many foods and often mimics the binding of ingredients similarly to glutinous flour (as seen with falafel which is gluten-free).
  • Rice is a key ingredient – Though crushed wheat is certainly a major part of Middle Eastern cuisine, so too is rice which is gluten-free. Rice is a major component of many dishes, leading many to be gluten-free.

Let’s now identify some of our favourite gluten-free dishes at Zahli.

Mansaf lamb/chicken

Mansaf lamb/chicken is one of those meals where it is so hearty and filling that it’s hard to believe that it is gluten-free. The dish is made up of seasoned rice pilaf, minced meat, roasted nuts and topped with slow-cooked chicken or lamb. At Zahli, it’s also served with yoghurt and cucumber, adding to the richness of the dish.

For any person with a gluten-free diet, this dish is an amazing and safe main course that will be satisfying and delicious. Textural interplay and hunks of delicious meat will please any palate.

Lemon garlic chicken

Though our shish tawook is not gluten-free, we’ve ensured that we have at least one succulent chicken dish on the menu. Our lemon garlic chicken is chargrilled and then tossed in garlic, parsley and lemon juice. It’s a great accompaniment to any of our gluten-free sides and will satisfy anyone who has a craving for a juicy and satisfying chicken dish.

Falafel

Though we’ve touched on many of our meat gluten-free dishes, we haven’t mentioned our vegan and gluten-free dishes. For almost any diet restriction, falafel is one of the best foods that you can order. It is primarily made of chickpeas and fava beans, making it filling and hearty. At Zahli, our falafel is seasoned with fresh coriander, onion and garlic, and served with pickles and tahini sauce.

Potato coriander

Our crispy diced potatoes are crunchy and satisfying without the use of flour! Our potato coriander is tossed in fresh coriander, lemon juice and chilli. While it can be filling, we think it’s one of our most addictive hot mezza dishes.

Mutabal

Though many of our cold mezzas are gluten-free, we especially love highlighting mutabal. Mutabal is incredibly savoury and meaty, thanks to the primary ingredient, eggplant. It consists of smoked chargrilled fresh eggplant, which is mixed with tomato, Spanish onion, capsicum, garlic, parsley and fresh lemon juice and is topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.

We love this dish because while it is gluten-free and vegan, it’s incredibly satisfying and full of flavour. It’s a great example of how Middle Eastern dishes are naturally accommodating to a variety of diets.

Bear in mind that while these are some of our favourite gluten-free dishes at Zahli, they are not the only ones available. View our menu to see all of our gluten-free dishes; look out for dishes with “GF” beside them.