Middle Eastern cuisine includes ingredients such as pita bread, olive oil, honey, sesame seeds, mint, parsley, dates and olives. Wheat and rice are the staples of a Middle Eastern diet, and bread (in its various forms) is eaten at practically every meal. Burghul is also commonly used, finding its way into traditional Middle Eastern dishes such tabouleh and other salads.
The favoured meat of the region is lamb – whereas pork is rarely eaten as it is prohibited for religious reasons. Chicken and beef also feature frequently, usually cut into cubes and grilled as a shish kebab. Another popular Middle Eastern dish is kofta – which is made from minced meat, onions and spices.
Leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and chard are also used liberally in many Midden Eastern dishes, alongside root vegetables like carrots, turnips, and beetroot. Spices, nuts, cheese and dips are also used to create meze plates, and much more.
For dessert, sweet pastries and puddings are frequently seen at special occasions, such as the banquet that follows Ramadan. Browse our Middle Eastern recipe section to get ideas for your next feast!