Middle Eastern cuisine is having a moment. All across the country, diners are flipping for falafel, searching menus for shawarma, and grabbing pita by the plate-ful. One particularly delicious benefit of this rise in fascination with the Fertile Crescent is the exploration of all the region has to offer, moving beyond the usual standbys into a broader investigation of flavors and techniques. Take this recipe from Salma Hage’s The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook, a nominee for the 2017 James Beard Book Award for Vegetable Cooking. Hage brings together humble lentils with a Lebanese spice blend and an umami-rich mushroom paste to evoke familiar flavors, while breaking out of the meatball mold by eschewing animal protein all together. Get the recipe.
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Learn more about the 2017 James Beard Awards.