If you enjoy traveling, you'll notice that each region has its own unique palette of ingredients influenced by the climate, culture, and people.
Because Libya is in the heart of North Africa, our cuisine is influenced by a mixture of Mediterranean, African, and Middle Eastern ingredients. The following ingredients are commonly incorporated into Libyan dishes:
Whether it's the raw or oil version, olives are a true Mediterranean essential. It is often used as a base in many Libyan dishes or as a simple salad dressing or topping.
Libyan cuisine is not complete without some dates. These sweet treats are often combined with a dairy duo such as regular whole milk, buttermilk, or plain yogurt. In Libya, ground dates are also often used as a filling for some sweet pastries.
It is not true Libyan cuisine unless you've got a spicy kick to your dish. The base for many Libyan dishes consists of a spicy mixture of curry, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste. That's why you'll noticed most Libyan dishes have a red tint to them.
An absolute essential as a base ingredient or as a salad topping. Whether you're making soup, a sauce, or a salad...you'll find a form of tomatoes on your plate!
Most Libyans that you'll ever meet will probably have a bag of onions as big as a boxing bag haha. That's how much we use onions. It is an absolute essential for almost every Libyan dish. Most of our carb heavy dishes such as rice, macaroni, and couscous are often topped with a buttery and savory onion sauce.
Lemon infused tea that a Libyan grandma will give you when you have a cold is not the only time you'll be using lemons. Libyans love their lemons and will stock up on it as well. You'll even notice some families in Libya growing their own lemon trees in their backyards as well. Libyans usually add lemon juice to almost any soup and salad.
Fresh mint is often enjoyed with green tea. However, a less usual thing Libyans do is adding dried mint to certain soups!
Libyans absolutely love honey! You'll notice that many authentic Libyan deserts will be soaked in fresh honey.
There are of course more key ingredients used in Libyan cuisine, these are only the top seven that come to mind. Stay tuned for blog posts about recipes using these amazing and healthy ingredients!