Fried chicken. Shrimp and grits. Collard greens. Mac ‘n’ cheese. All expected dishes at any gathering in the South. Although these classic dishes are steeped in tradition, we Southerners are proving that our tastes, and our local ingredients, are also formidable starting points for other types of cuisine. Mixing local, traditional Southern ingredients with flavors from abroad is always a fun challenge for me in the kitchen—one that results in new flavors, techniques, and of course interesting and delicious creations to serve to my hungry guests. Since my momma’s side of the family traces its roots back to Beirut, we often showcase storied Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes at family meals—right alongside the Southern staples. Such diversity, great food, and hospitality is what Southern culture is all about. Break out of the box this spring with these light and healthy Lebanese-inspired dishes, made even more approachable with local, Southern ingredients.
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