If you’re vegetarian and planning a trip to Jordan, you’ve got nothing to get stressed out about. Jordan offers some of the most lip-smacking vegetarian food out there – and it may just taste better than tried, tested and true vegetarian eats back home! Travel writer Mridula Dwivedi’s vegetarian palate was in for a pleasant surprise during her trip to Jordan, so we’ve taken tips from her blog Travel Tales from India and added some of our own to this collection of favorite Jordanian vegetarian dishes.
Jordan has a variety of salads, each one outdoing the taste of the other. “I am not a salad person,” Mridula says. “Given a choice I will take pasta rather than salad as food. But that was before I had been to Jordan. They made amazing, flavorful salads that were completely vegetarian. If there was one, that had meat in it, it was pointed out to me. There seasonings were mild and yet full of flavor.” Popular salads you’ll find in Jordan include tabbouleh, which is a mix of finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgar and onion, lightly dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. Fattoush is also tasty, with fried pieces of pita bread mixed with lettuce and chunks of tomato and cucumber.
“Given a choice I will take pasta rather than salad as food. But that was before I had been to Jordan.”
Arabic mezze refers to a collection of small food plates, much like tapas or any other shared starter dishes you’ll see on a menu. It can, however, also be considered an entire meal on its own – that’s how hearty it can get. “I could easily feast myself on all this and not need any main course,” Mridula says. This large spread of mezze includes salads, dips and fried snacks. The must-try’s that get snapped up quickest are usually the mutabbal, a cold, mashed eggplant salad, or halloumi, which is grilled and sliced goat cheese. Warag enab, grape leaves stuffed with rice, mint, tomato and scallions, is also a traditional Middle Eastern appetizer.
“I could easily feast myself on all this and not need any main course. But then they always found more food for me.”
The most famous of the dips is hummus. Made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, this dip is offered with pita bread. Hummus is super filling and you can dip pretty much anything into it at any time of the day!
4. Manakish + Pita bread, or Khubz
The hummus and other dips are accompanied with pita bread, or ‘khubz,’ making the starters quite filling. Manakish is another staple food from the Levant. This flatbread can be found at bakeries where they’re popped into an oven after being topped with ingredients like za’atar (a blend of Middle Eastern herbs) and olive oil, or heavier items like cheese, tomato, chilli and spinach.
Entering the main course area, falafel are small mashed chickpea balls that make a great dish, either as a sandwich when stuffed in pita bread along with hummus and salad, or on their own dipped in tahini, a crushed sesame paste. It’s cheap, quick and delicious – not to mention addictive!
A meal is never complete without a dessert. Knafeh is a cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar syrup. This orange delicacy and its crunchy sprinkling of pistachios will leave you wanting for more and is the perfect end to your meal.
Mridula Dwivedi is a professor and travel writer who’s known worldwide for her blog ‘Travel Tales From India’. Her adventures have taken her all over the globe; she has been snowmobiling in Finland, shopped at the night market in Cambodia and even stumbled (inadvertently) upon the red light district in Amsterdam. Highlights from Mridula’s trip to Jordan include taking a “Dead Sea alien selfie” and masquerading as a media professional to take a picture of the Pope. Check out her blog Travel Tales from India and keep track of her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Smrithi Mannar is a student of Journalism and Travel & Tourism in Bangalore. A dancer by heart and talkative by nature, Smrithi likes to discover emotions through writing and traveling. Always ready to try new things, she wishes to be a golfer, someday.