Vegan Mediterranean Recipes: Preserved Lemons

November 10, 2014

Preserved Lemons

You might have seen these in some vegan Mediterranean recipes. They are super easy to make, require no effort at all, and you can take all the credit.
They are a great addition to tagines, vegetable dishes, and salads. Try adding a little when cooking rice or lentils, for the extra layer of flavour.

You can rinse them before using (but I don’t bother, I just scrape off the spices, if there are any left on the lemon), cut out and discard the pulp – you only eat the skins. Chop, add to your dish, and enjoy!

Preserved Lemons

2-3 big lemons, choose the type with thick skin
2 bay leaves
8 tablespoons of salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 small dry chillies or a 1.5-teaspoon of chilli flakes

You will also need:
500ml Mason jar


1. Wash and dry the lemons
2. Cut the lemons in quarters, lengthwise
3. Put 2 tablespoons of salt at the bottom of your jar, together with few peppercorns, and a bay leave
4. Tightly pack a layer of quartered lemons (you should be able to put in 4-5 pieces, depending on the shape of your jar and the size of your lemons)
5. Add 2 more tablespoons of salt, a cinnamon stick, a bay leave, some peppercorns, and chilli (or chilli flakes)
6. Put the top layers of quartered lemons in the jar, pushing them in to release the juices. The lemons should be packed tightly
7. Top the lemons with the remaining salt and spices.
8. Close the jar and keep in a dark, cool (not a fridge!) place for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally to mix the spices and ensure all the lemons get covered in the juices
9. The lemons might go darker but that’s nothing to worry about
10. Once open keep in the fridge and enjoy!

1. You can preserve lemons with just salt, so feel free to skip all the other spices.
2. You can experiment with different spices as well – try fennel seeds or mustard seeds.

Also by Joanna: Deconstructed Mediterranean Hummus

Lemon and Garlic Fava Bean Salad

Related: Raw Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma)


Photo: Joanna Fiminska

Joanna Fiminska is a Board Certified Health Coach and an author of The D.I.E.T.™ system – from hungry and angry to nourished and playful. Joanna teaches her clients to eat so that they can break the vicious cycle of dieting, lose weight naturally, and have fun while doing it. She also leads workshops on nutrition, cooking classes and offers nutrition coaching. She has published her first e - cookbook,“The Breakfast Inspiration Book." Joanna trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is also a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Lingustic Programing and has a MA in Political Science.


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