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Jun 4, 2009 12:43 PM

Looking for: Lebanese Lemon Garlic Dressing Recipe

A local Lebanese restaurant serves a delicious and refreshing salad dressing that they say garlic, lemon juice, and oil (plus the herbs that are obviously there, e.g. mint)... It looks creamy and stays breaking. They say there's no dairy in there. It's a "secret family recipe" and I am dying to have it! Anyone familiar with this dressing?

Thank you :)

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    1. I can't find my recipe and will post it when I do find it - it has mint and sumac. Sumac is available in specialty food stores and has a lemony tang. Other recipes that I've googled use pomegranet molassas....I'm inspired and will be making up some Lebanese bread salad with this delicious dressing for this weekend.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rtms

        Thanks RTMS...let me know if you find it.

        It's not an egg/dairy and it has a lot of herbs...I am thinking the sumac is the key ingredient.

        1. re: QSheba

          Probably tahini is in there to give the creaminess.

          1. re: QSheba

            Sumac is a bright dark reddish color so you would know if it was in it or not.
            If you say there are no eggs in it I would start with lots of garlic in the blender, with lemon juice, slowly drizzle in oil, and then add all kinds of chopped herbs at the end (like parsley and mint). It sounds like a basic lemon dressing Lebanese put on their salads but instead of whisking it by hand they blended it to create the creamy texture.

            1. re: QSheba

              I finally got my cookbook back. The recipe is from Mary Salloum "A Taste of the Mediterranean Vegetarian Style"

              Classic Lebanese Dressing
              1/4 c lemon juice
              2 garlic cloves, minced
              1/4 c olive oil
              1/2 tsp salt
              1/4 tsp ppper
              1/4 c finely chopped fresh mint OR 2 tbsp dry mint

              I usually add 1 tsp of dried sumac too.....

              1. re: rtms

                I've been trying to duplicate the salad dressing from the middle eastern restaurant we love. Always love their salad because the dressing is what makes it(besides all the other fresh ingredients). This is it! Made it tonight, and I was so happy! Thanks rtms!

          2. I concur with junglekitte about the blending and second the recipe provided by rtms as a typical basic Lebanese salad dressing. The garlic olive oil emulsification or Garlic Sauce is a different thing, not at all a salad dressing. Sumac sounds good, but shouldn't it be sprinkled on top of the salad at the end? If you mix it in the dressing, won't it turn pink?

            1 Reply
            1. re: luckyfatima

              Yes, it will turn pink. This is the recipe my favorite lebanese restaurant uses. It is to die for.

            2. although it might alter the flavor, i never make an acid/ oil dressing without dijon. it acts as the emulsifier and adds a nice tang. i am going to try the dressing posted by rtms with the dijon to see how it tastes.

              1. I used to watch the owner of a Lebanese restaurant make the salad dressing when I ordered (he actually made it one portion at a time). He started with a tablespoon (or more) of the garlic spread that they used for the chicken, then added olive oil (poured from a can!) and lemon juice (from a jug). So possibly your guy was thinning down the "garlic mayo" which is emulsified and that's how he got the creamy texture.

                He didn't use any other seasonings in the dressing, they were added to the salad...chopped mint and pomegranate seeds, usually.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mlgb

                  A Lebanese friend taught me to make this in a mortar and pestle: Grind up garlic cloves with a sprinkle of kosher salt to abrade it, til it's a smooth paste. Add olive oil, stirring after each addition, until it stops absorbing all the oil, then add fresh lemon juice until it's not bitter. This is amazing on flank steak. For dressing, just add a little to the top of a salad, add olive oil, salt, mint if you have it and lemon juice and toss.

                  Some rules: only stir in one direction, and never use a processor or metal blade. I don't make the rules, I'm just passing them on. :-)