A Look at EVOO in Traditional Lebanese Food
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a staple in the diets of many Middle Eastern countries and is considered a must-have on any dining table. Its medicinal and nutritional use has a long history passed down through generations.
Olive oil is one of the essential ingredients in Middle Eastern restaurant cuisine. It is abundant in Lebanese food—drizzled over salads, used in pastries and bread, generously topping dishes, and used for cooking.
Despite its delicious taste, this gold-like liquid proves as a host of many health benefits. Here are 5:
Benefits of olive oil found in traditional Lebanese food:
1. Full of polyphenols:
Polyphenols are potent antioxidants and are prevalent in extra virgin olive oil. We won’t get too far into the complex science behind it all but know that polyphenols influence the movement of cytokines and white blood cells and can boost immune protection against cancer, ageing, diabetes, and heart disease.
Extra virgin olive oil can also significantly reduce inflammation and, in turn, prevent some allergy illnesses in people. These include eczema, asthma, and food allergies. It can also provide health advantages, from limiting bacterial growth to combating inflammation.
Compared to the excess consumption of other oils, EVOO has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood fats in the bloodstream. This makes it an ideal food for people with high cholesterol or those at risk for developing heart disease because it reduces the chances of aggravating it.
3. Healthy brain function:
EVOO may improve cognitive function in adults. The high antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil can help us think clearly, remember information and solve problems. It can also assist in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 40% and improve mental health.
4. Better hair growth:
Proteins, antioxidants, and antibacterial substances in olive oil can help maintain healthy hair. Olive oil treatments for hair may help to strengthen hair follicles over time, improving the life and length of hair.
5. Great for skin:
EVOO can treat wounds, burns, sprains and rashes, and skin problems such as acne and eczema. It can also be used for anti-aging, moisturising, and more because it has a high vitamin, antioxidant and antibacterial count that assists in improving skin.
EVOO-based Lebanese dishes found at Zahli Restaurant
Beyond all the benefits, one should not dismiss the fantastic taste and practical use of olive oil in cooking and the layers of flavour it adds to any dish. To experience authentic taste, do not just rely on any olive oil bottle you find in your supermarket; instead, do as the Lebanese. Be picky.
Many families traditionally prepare olive oil from home and brag about the quality in front of others in the same village. As for us, we specifically import the liquid gold from Lebanon, ensuring that it is entirely organic and is guaranteed from the first pressing of the olives.
At Zahli Restaurant, this viscous golden-green liquid is dubbed the King of the Lebanese table and we treat it so. Here are our top 10 dishes from our menu that incorporate our exclusive EVOO—must try when visiting Zahli Restaurant this Spring:
finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, shallots, crushed wheat, drizzled with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
2. The Zahli Salad:
rocket leaves, beetroot, spanish onion, sumac, and walnuts, delicately dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
hot pepper dip blended with walnuts, garlic, lemon, red capsicum, bread crumbs, EVOO and pomegranate molasses.
tomato, cucumber, capsicum, parsley, shallots, baby cos lettuce, fresh mint leaves, cabbage, sumac, crispy bread, pomegranate molasses and lemon oil dressing, topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.
5. Baba ghannouj:
smoked chargrilled fresh eggplant, blended with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and EVOO, topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.
The perfect symphony of chargrilled eggplant, mashed with tomato, spanish onion, capsicum, garlic, parsley, EVOO and fresh lemon juice topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.
oil-cured stuffed eggplant with walnuts, capsicum, garlic and fresh chilli in olive oil.
green beans simmered in a traditional tomato salsa, involving fresh tomatoes and EVOO.
9. Kibbeh nayye:
fresh raw lamb meat, finely blended and mixed with crushed wheat, herbs and special condiments, served with a side of fresh greens and olive oil.
10. Samki harra:
seared Barramundi marinated with fresh coriander, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and EVOO.