Recipes: Lebanese Thanksgiving Dishes

“We grew up with these dishes and some of my fondest memories are of my mother making sfeeha. I would set up a table and do one after another after another. She now she depends on us,” Haidar said. His mother died last year.

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Preparing sfeeha and warak enab takes time, making them a perfect social activity. “You want to serve the vine leaves fresh, so you don’t make them the day of dinner. We meet the day before, sit down with coffee and roll them up and talk. Many hands lighten the work”, said Yassine.

On the day of the dinner, Yassine is the head chef and Haidar says that she helps.

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There will be a yogurt and cucumber salad and perhaps hashwet al-djaj, a rice dish with spiced ground meat, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts. “Our mom would do this and stuff a small chicken, as well as prepare a dish to serve as a side dish. It’s a great alternative to bread stuffing,” Haidar said.

Another addition to the table may be a bread basket with puff pastry twists, adapted by Yassine from the breadsticks that are street food in Lebanon. “I made them a little fancier using puff pastry.”

No matter what dishes are on the final menu, your Lebanese American Thanksgiving will be a combination of beloved dishes and treasured family memories.


sisters Farrah Haidar and Hala Yassine share recipes for traditional Lebanese dishes that will grace your Thanksgiving table.

akawi twists

Akawi is a lightly salted Middle Eastern cow’s milk cheese, available in stores that sell Arabic groceries. The sisters buy their cheese from Global Market or Jerusalem Bakery, with locations in Marietta, Roswell and Alpharetta. The sisters say you can substitute shredded mozzarella and also note that refrigerating the twists before baking helps them puff up better. They also provided a variation using za’atar. Za’atar is a flavorful mix of dried herbs mixed with toasted sesame seeds, available in many grocery stores in the international foods section, or wherever you buy akawi. You will also find sumac there.

We prefer puff pastry made with butter like the brands available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market.

Za’atar variation: Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup za’atar, and 1/2 teaspoon sumac. Use in the Akawi Twists recipe, substituting the za’atar mixture for the mixed cheeses.

Per twist, Za’atar variation: 177 calories (74 percent calories from fat), 2 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 15 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 245 milligrams of sodium.


Before starting this recipe, wash the parsley and mint and let them dry well.

Bulgur is cracked parboiled wheat, available at many grocery stores, as well as stores that sell Arabic groceries. If you have a choice between ground bulgur, the sisters recommend #2 for this recipe.

Stuffed vine leaves (Warak Enab)

Before starting this recipe, wash the parsley and mint and let them dry well.

You may need more or fewer potatoes than called for in the recipe. The goal is to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven with a layer of round potatoes. In our photo, the potatoes were removed from the inverted vine leaves and placed around the plate. The cooked tomatoes were discarded.

Keep in mind that when adding salt and pepper to the rice mixture, you want the mixture to taste a bit salty, as this is also the salt that will season the rice as it cooks.

When arranging vine leaves for cooking, you’ll want at least 1 1/2 inches of space above the stacked bundles to allow room for the boiling liquid, and the plate and weight that keep the stuffed vine leaves below level. of the liquid. If you have more stuffed vine leaves than will fit comfortably in your Dutch oven, place the rest in a saucepan and cook using the same method.

Maha Spiral Meat Pies (Sfeeha)

Haidar remembers them as his mother’s signature dish. “These are paper-thin doughs, crunchy and buttery, filled with spiced meat and spiralized. They can be served as an appetizer or as part of the main meal.

Pomegranate molasses and sumac can be found in some grocery stores or in stores that sell Arabian groceries. The family prefers King Arthur all-purpose flour for the dough and says you can make the dough by hand if you prefer, kneading for about 14 minutes or until the dough is shiny and feels springy.

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