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The 8 Best Arabic Vegetarian Dishes to Try on Yas Island

Variety is one thing that’s certainly not lacking on Yas Island. You can easily enjoy a wide range of experiences in this world-famous tourist destination.

You can go on thrilling, world-record-holding rides in Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, let your inner child out in Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi and have a splashing fun time at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.

For more relaxing experiences, head to Yas Beach or engage in retail therapy at Yas Mall.

The many Yas Island restaurants make it easy for you to indulge in various dishes and cuisines as well.

Whether you’re looking for the best Indian, Italian, French, Mexican, Japanese, Thai or Greek restaurants in Dubai, you will certainly find them all here.

If you’re vegetarian, you’ll also be amazed by the variety of speciality dishes you can indulge in while on Yas Island. Each type of cuisine offers its own unique must-try vegetarian dishes, but since you are in the United Arab Emirates, it’s only fitting you sample traditional Arabic ones.

Must-Try Arabic Vegetarian Dishes

Whether you’re a long-time vegetarian or a true-blue carnivore who would like to try different gastronomic experiences, here are eight of the best vegetarian Arabic dishes to try if you’re on Yas Island:

  1. Falafel

Falafel is one of the most popular vegan Arabic dishes and is often considered the Middle East’s version of French fries.

These fried patties or balls of herbs, chickpeas or fava beans can be served as an appetiser, side or main dish.

Falafel can be served in a wrap, with dips or simply as a side. If you’re craving something crispy and filling, you won’t go wrong with ordering this dish.

  1. Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a nice, light salad consisting of bulgur (a type of cereal made from parboiled groats of different wheat species) and an assortment of vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, and parsley.

The dish is drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper for additional flavour.

This salad is the perfect dish that can cool you down during a particularly hot day in Abu Dhabi or you want to indulge in something light and refreshing.

  1. Fattoush

Fattoush is another type of Middle Eastern salad. This salad, which can be served as an appetiser, side or main dish, consists of lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, green peppers, onions, pomegranate seeds and other veggies.

The dish is topped with pieces of crispy Arabic flatbread or pita bread, plus olive oil and lemon or lime dressing.

  1. Ful Medames

Also called foul madamas, this dish consists of fava beans, onion, garlic, parsley and cumin cooked in vegetable oil. Other vegetables, herbs, spices and lemon juice are also added to make the dish flavourful.

If you want the dish a bit spicy, you can sprinkle some chilli pepper over it.

This dish, which is a staple food in Egypt, is often served during breakfast and as a main course for other meals.

  1. Tharid

Tharid is a hearty stew typically with meat, but some restaurants on Yas Island specialising in Arabic and Emirati cuisine serve a vegetarian version.

An assortment of slow-roasted vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkin, which cook for a few hours, goes into a vegan tharid. When served, the stew is poured on top of a thin Emirati flatbread known as rigag.

This is a filling, tasty dish that you’ll want to eat over and over again.

  1. Manakeesh

The Middle Eastern version of pizza, manakeesh, is Arabic flatbread topped with cheese (there are vegan versions, such as cashew cheese) or za’atar (a traditional Middle Eastern spice mixture) and thyme. It is commonly eaten during breakfast and lunch.

Aside from the usual toppings, you can choose others as well, including spinach, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and sesame seeds. There are also meaty variants of this pastry for non-vegans.

  1. Vegetarian Dolma

In Turkish, dolma refers to a dish wherein vegetables are mixed with a rice-based mixture and stuffed in a casing.

Tomatoes, pepper, zucchini and eggplants are the usual veggies used for the dish. In Abu Dhabi and other Middle Eastern cities, vine leaves are the most popular option.

The vegan version of dolma consists of vine leaves prepared with olive oil and stuffed with rice and a variety of spices. It is served cold with a type of garlic sauce, making it a truly delicious and refreshing dish.

  1. Knafeh Nabulsiyeh

End your vegetarian meals on Yas Island on a sweet note with knafeh, a traditional Palestinian dessert made with cheese pastry soaked in a sugar-based syrup.

This pastry typically features Nabulsi cheese, a type of sheep or goat milk cheese common in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. However, this product can be replaced with a basic cashew or almond cheese to make the dessert vegan.

Chefs add orange blossom or rose water to the pastry to give it a burst of refreshing flavour.

With its variety of vegetarian Arabic offerings and many restaurants at Yas Mall, you’ll definitely satisfy your cravings for healthy and delicious dishes.

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