Hummus with Spiced Ground Beef Recipe for Hummus bil Lahme. Best Middle Eastern recipes. Copyright © 2023 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Best Middle Eastern Recipes for Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Fattoush, Kofta and More

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Our best Middle Eastern recipes include recipes for everything from Middle Eastern dips served as mezze starters and appetisers that are made to be shared, such as hummus and baba ganoush, to Middle Eastern salads fattoush, tabbouleh and hummus balila. We’ve also got recipes for quintessential Middle Eastern dishes such as beef kofta and shish taouk.

This compilation of our best Middle Eastern recipes includes the Middle Eastern dishes that are most popular with our readers, which also happen to be the dishes from the Middle East that we have long loved to cook since we lived in the Middle East, and travelled the region for work and pleasure.

We’ve got recipes for everything from Middle Eastern mezze, dips, snacks and appetisers that are made to be shared such as hummus and baba ganoush, to Middle Eastern salads such as fattoush and tabbouleh. We’ve also got recipes for quintessential Middle Eastern dishes such as beef kofta and shish tawook.

But before I share our best Middle Eastern recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo. One way is by making a donation to our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee. Or you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing.

Another option is to use links to the products below on Amazon or buy something, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellersJames Beard award-winning cookbookscookbooks by Australian chefsclassic cookbooks for serious cookstravel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. We may earn a small commission but you won’t pay any extra.

Alternatively, you could use these links to buy travel insurancerent a car, book accommodation, or book a tour on Get Your Guide. You could also browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers designed with Terence’s images. Now let me tell you all about our best Middle Eastern recipes.

Best Middle Eastern Recipes for Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Fattoush, Kofta and More

Our best Middle Eastern recipes include recipes for quintessential Middle Eastern dishes, from a traditional homemade hummus to a crunchy fattoush salad with crispy pita chips.

Crispy Pita with Spiced Chickpeas and Yoghurt Sauce for Middle Eastern Fatteh

Our recipe for Middle Eastern fatteh (also spelt as ‘fattet’) will make you a rustic home-style breakfast dish of crispy pita with spiced chickpeas and yogurt sauce. It’s a shared breakfast dish comprised mainly of leftovers that I’ve often likened to a Middle Eastern nachos or chilaquiles, a Mexican breakfast dish created to use up leftovers.

Stale pita bread is toasted to create crispy pita chips (recipe below), while warm cumin-spiced chickpeas are spooned over the pita crisps and a lemony-garlic yogurt sauce is drizzled over the chickpeas.

The dish is finished with a shower of fresh fragrant herbs such as parsley and mint, and pan-roasted nuts such as cashews, pistachios and pine nuts sprinkled on top of the lot. It’s one of our best recipes with nuts and one of our best chickpea recipes.

Crispy Pita with Spiced Chickpeas and Yoghurt Sauce for Middle Eastern Fatteh

 

Authentic Traditional Hummus

Hummus is a beloved Arabic dip typical eaten with an array of mezze or starters right across the Middle East. Thought to have originated in medieval Egypt, hummus is found right across the Arab world, from North Africa through to the Levantine countries of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, and throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

Our easy authentic hummus recipe makes a homemade traditional creamy hummus that a Lebanese friend taught Terence when we lived in Abu Dhabi and it tops our list of best Middle Eastern recipes. Tip: try to source sumac to sprinkle on your hummus, but if you can’t use ground paprika; while quite a different flavour profile it works.

Easy Authentic Hummus Recipe for a Creamy Homemade Traditional Hummus

Muhammara Recipe for Syrian Walnut Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Aleppo

This easy muhammara recipe will make you the famous Syrian walnut and roasted red pepper dip from Aleppo that we fell in love with on our first trip to Syria many years ago. It’s one of our favourite Middle Eastern recipes. Our recipe is based on the Academie Syrienne Gastronomie recipe with just a couple of tweaks.

If you haven’t tasted muhammara before, it’s a deliciously smoky, savoury, sweet, and subtly spiced dip that’s traditionally served as one of an array of mezze or starters that are eaten with warmed flatbread then left on the table to be enjoyed alongside plates of mains, such as grilled meats and kebabs.

While muhammara hails from Aleppo, it’s a staple mezze throughout Syria and you’ll also spot muhammara on the menus of Syrian restaurants and Arabic restaurants right across the Middle East and in the Middle Eastern diaspora. Outside Syria it’s nowhere near as ubiquitous as hummus, baba ganoush or mutabal. It should be!

Muhammara Recipe for Syrian Walnut Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Aleppo

Hummus with Spiced Ground Beef Recipe for Hummus bil Lahme

This addictively delicious hummus with spiced ground beef recipe for hummus bil lahme makes a delicious Arabic mezze that has provenance in the Levantine cuisines of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Jordan, but is eaten right across the Middle East.

Another of our best Middle Eastern recipes, hummus bil lahme is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with cumin powder, and topped with a generous layer of aromatic, richly-spiced ground beef and roasted pine nuts. It’s a breeze to make.

Simply pulse the chickpeas, garlic powder, extra virgin olive oil, tahini paste, ground cumin, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Make the spiced beef mince, spread the hummus on a plate, pile the spiced beef on top, sprinkle on finely chopped parsley, and serve with zingy pickles, fresh pita bread or homemade toasted pita chips. Too easy.

Delicious Hummus with Spiced Ground Beef Recipe for Hummus bil Lahme

Pumpkin Hummus Recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Dip with Dukkah

Our easy pumpkin hummus recipe makes a roasted pumpkin and chickpea dip drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with dukkah, the Middle Eastern condiment of crushed nuts, seeds and spices. (Recipe below).

Serve it as a healthy snack with warm flat bread, crunchy pita chips or crispy vegetable crudités or as an appetiser with an array of Middle Eastern mezze, such as muhammara, baba ganoush, muttabal, and labneh, alongside traditional accompaniments, such as crunchy cucumber spears, radishes, pickles, olives, and crispy pita chips or warm flatbread.

You can arrange the lot on a large platter if you’re feeding a crowd, and serve with plates of kofta kebabs, shish tawook, roast chicken, and meatballs, and plenty of Middle Eastern salads.

Pumpkin Hummus Recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Dip with Dukkah

Dukkah Recipe for a Middle Eastern Nut and Spice Condiment with 1001 Uses

Originating in Egypt, dukkah or duqqa is popular all over the Middle East, where it takes many delicious forms. My easy dukkah recipe makes the Middle Eastern pounded nut, seed and spice blend that’s incredibly versatile.

Typically served as a condiment with pita bread or sourdough bread and extra virgin olive oil – dip the bread into the olive oil, then dip it into the dukkah – it can also be sprinkled over hummus, soft-boiled eggs, Mediterranean salads, or roasted vegetables to add texture, flavour and aroma.

I adore this dukkah recipe but the beauty of making your own dukkah, like any homemade condiments made from scratch, is you can customise it to suit your taste, cuisine you’re cooking or ingredients on hand.

I love a mix of pounded hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, and peanuts blended with quintessential Middle Eastern spices, such as cumin, coriander and Aleppo pepper, but I encourage you to experiment.

Dukkah Recipe for a Middle Eastern Nut and Spice Condiment with 1001 Uses

Authentic Baba Ganoush Recipe

Our authentic baba ganoush recipe will make you the traditional Middle Eastern eggplant dip – also spelt baba ghanoush, baba ghanouj and baba ganouj – that’s eaten with flatbread as one of an array of Arabic mezze or appetisers.

Made with smoky grilled eggplants, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, it’s super easy to make and tastes so much better homemade than store-bought, and it’s  another of our best Middle Eastern recipes.

Authentic Baba Ganoush Recipe for the Traditional Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip

 

Pita Chips Recipe for Crunchy Baked Pita Crisps

This quick and easy homemade pita chips recipe will make you super crunchy baked pita crisps that are made within minutes, making it another of our best Middle Eastern recipes.

They’re perfect for scooping up dips such a hummus, baba ghanoush, guacamole, and salsas, or using in the Arabic salad fattoush. They’re also versatile – brush them with olive oil flavoured with spices or herbs to complement any dip.

Easy Homemade Pita Chips Recipe for Crunchy Baked Pita Crisps Made in Minutes

 

Easy Roast Beetroot Hummus Recipe and Tips to Roasting Fresh Beets

One of our best beetroot recipes, this roasted beetroot hummus recipe make a deliciously healthy dip made with roasted fresh beetroots, chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.

Roasted beetroots are more nutritious than canned beetroots and taste naturally sweeter and more flavoursome. Roasting beets is a breeze. The recipe calls for one beetroot, however, you can put a few beets in the oven and make our roast beet salad with feta, rucola and pistachios on cumin-spiced carrot hummus.

Once the beets are roasted, you transfer the drained chickpeas, tahini, minced garlic (or garlic powder), lemon juice, salt, and extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender, and pulse, adding a little chickpea liquid if needed, bit by bit, taking care not to add too much so the hummus doesn’t turn out watery. Easy.

Easy Roast Beetroot Hummus Recipe and Tips to Roasting Fresh Beets

Hummus Balila Recipe for Creamy Warm Chickpeas Spiced with Cumin

When we first moved to the Middle East many years ago, we looked forward to weekends away in Beirut, Damascus or Cairo and a traditional breakfast spread of labneh, olives, pickles, radishes, fresh salad vegetables, and a comforting bowl of warm soupy beans, such as hummus balila or ful medames (recipe coming).

Also known simply as ‘balila’, the Levantine dish has long been a popular breakfast or snack everywhere from Lebanon and Syria to the Arabian Peninsula. It’s another of our best Middle Eastern recipes.

Creamy warm chickpeas are gently spiced with ground cumin, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and served with pita bread, pickles, fresh herbs, and salad. Make a big batch so you can turn it into a balila salad the next day; recipe below.

Middle Eastern Hummus Balila Recipe for Creamy Warm Chickpeas Spiced with Cumin

 

Carrot Hummus Recipe for Roast Carrot and Chickpea Dip with Cumin and Sesame

This carrot hummus recipe makes a roasted carrot and chickpea dip with cumin and sesame seeds. Deliciously addictive, the Middle Eastern-inspired dip is light, bright and healthy, and fantastic served with crispy pita chips or crunchy crudités, and can also be used as a spread on sandwiches and baguettes or as a base for salads and vegetable sides.

For this and our other roasted vegetable dips, do stir your spices in with the extra virgin olive oil in a dish or jar and use a silicone pastry brush to lightly coat the carrot pieces in the spiced olive oil. 

By using a silicone pastry brush, you’ll ensure all the carrot pieces are covered in the spiced oil, the spices and therefore flavours are distributed evenly, and nothing goes to waste. There’s no need to do a Jamie Oliver and splash the olive oil over the veggies.

Carrot Hummus Recipe for Roast Carrot and Chickpea Dip with Cumin and Sesame

Fattoush Salad Recipe with Pita Chips Made from Stale Pita Bread

This classic fattoush salad recipe makes a traditional Lebanese village salad of ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, zingy radishes, fresh fragrant herbs, and quintessential Middle Eastern ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, and it’s one of our best Middle Eastern recipes, especially if you need to use up stale pita bread.

Tossed in a delightful salad dressing distinguished by the beloved Middle Eastern ingredients of pomegranate seeds and ground sumac, fattoush is often called a pita bread salad, as it’s textured with crispy pita chips. There are instructions for making super simple unseasoned pita chips from scratch in the fattoush recipe in the post.

Fattoush Salad Recipe for a Traditional Lebanese Village Salad

 

Balela Salad Recipe for a Delicious Warm Chickpea Salad

My easy balela salad recipe makes a warm chickpea salad and it’s another of our best Middle Eastern recipes. Creamy hummus balila, the rustic cumin-spiced hummus textured with whole chickpeas and drizzled with a lemony olive oil, above, is topped with a traditional Arabic salad of crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, zingy purple shallots, crispy radishes, and fresh fragrant mint and parsley.

This balela salad can also be scooped up with pita bread, but as a warm chickpea salad, you could also tuck into it for a shared lunch or dinner as part of a mezze spread of starters or sides. A note on the spelling: I used ‘balila’ for hummus balila and ‘balela’ for the salad because that’s the most common spellings on search engines and I want you to find our recipes.

Balela Salad Recipe for a Delicious Warm Chickpea Salad from the Middle East

 

Tabbouleh Recipe with Couscous for a Quick and Easy Tabbouli Salad

Our tabbouleh recipe with couscous makes a quick and easy tabbouli salad that takes just 10 minutes. A traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur, but bulgur is more expensive and requires soaking for longer.

This fast, affordable, easy tabbouleh recipe makes a salad that’s just as delicious. Serve with mezzes, such as hummus, muttabal and muhamarra, another salad such as fattoush, kofte kebabs and shish tawook, and warm flat breads for a proper Middle Eastern feast.

Tabbouleh Recipe with Couscous for a Quick and Easy Tabbouli Salad

Roast Beetroot Salad Recipe with Feta, Rucola and Pistachios on Carrot Hummus

My roast beetroot salad recipe with feta, rucola and pistachios on cumin-spiced carrot hummus makes my twist on the classic beetroot salad with feta, walnuts and rucola or arugula, roca or rocket.

The bed of carrot hummus adds another dimension of flavour and texture, while pistachios add crunch and are better suited to this version than walnuts. The salad is not strictly traditional, but rather takes inspiration from the food of the Middle East and Mediterranean.

Having said that, you’ll certainly find very similar salads in the region, and my inspiration was the Middle Eastern balela salad and Antalya version of a Turkish white bean salad in which the salad is also piled onto the creamy white beans.

Roast Beetroot Salad Recipe with Feta, Rucola and Pistachios on Cumin Spiced Carrot Hummus

 

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Creamy Hummus, Crispy Chickpeas, Pickled Shallots and Mint

A Middle Eastern inspired dish, my roasted cauliflower recipe makes a dish of cauliflower florets roasted in gently spiced extra virgin olive oil, plated on creamy hummus, and topped with crispy fried chickpeas, tangy pickled shallots, and fragrant fresh mint. It’s easily another of our best Middle Eastern recipes.

What I love about this roasted cauliflower dish is that it makes a great companion to other Mediterranean dishes. We enjoy it with this braised chicken with olives and capers and Hassleback potatoes and I love to serve this radish cucumber salad with feta, rucola and fresh herbs on the side.

I use this pickled shallots recipe which, while it’s a Mexican recipe, tastes exactly like the pickled onions our favourite Lebanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi served. I use a cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, or sometimes a combination of the two.

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Creamy Hummus, Crispy Chickpeas, Pickled Shallots and Mint

 

Roasted Pumpkin Recipe with Yoghurt Garlic Lemon Sauce and Dukkah

This roasted pumpkin recipe makes a delicious Middle Eastern side dish of sweet roast pumpkin doused in a delightfully tangy yoghurt, garlic and lemon sauce, generously sprinkled with dukkah and sumac, scattered with toasted cashews and pistachios, and garnished with fresh dill.

The dukkah and whole nuts add texture, while sumac gives the dish a distinctively Middle Eastern flavour. This roast pumpkin recipe is one of my favourite Middle Eastern recipes. We’re so fond of Levantine food, where grilled and roasted vegetable dishes are often served with a tangy yoghurt sauce and this dish epitomises that style of dish.

This roasted pumpkin dish makes a fantastic side for mains such as garlicky shish tawook or kofta kebab. Start off the meal with mezze such as hummus and baba ganoush and serve with Middle Eastern salads such as tabbouleh and fatoush and you have a proper Middle Eastern feast.

Roasted Pumpkin Recipe with Yoghurt Garlic Lemon Sauce and Dukkah

Middle Eastern Rice Recipe with Spices, Pistachios, Cashews and Raisins

This Middle Eastern rice recipe makes an aromatic spiced rice dish infused with Middle Eastern spices and textured with nuts and raisins. It’s inspired by Arabic rice dishes from the Middle East, such as Arabian machboos and kabsa, Palestinian qidreh and Syrian maqluba.

While my Middle Eastern rice recipe is authentic in taste – there are few more quintessential Middle Eastern spice blends than the ‘seven spice’ mix known as ‘baharat’ and nuts such as pistachios and cashews – the technique I use is inauthentic. Instead of the pilaf method, I use the Asian stir-fry method to use up leftover rice.

This spiced rice is fantastic with kofta kebabs, shish tawook, vegetable sides and salads. If there are leftovers, I combine the remaining spiced rice with finely chopped kebab meat and stir-fry again. The result is a wonderful fusion rice dish that makes an easy meal for a filling lunch or casual dinner.

Middle Eastern Rice Recipe with Spices, Pistachios, Cashews and Raisins

Easy Shish Tawook Recipe for Garlicky Lebanese Grilled Chicken Skewers

Our shish tawook recipe makes the Lebanese grilled chicken skewers or chicken kebabs that are popular throughout the Middle East and it’s another of our best Middle Eastern recipes based on the shish tawook or shish taouk that we used to eat when we lived in the Middle East.

Served with a garlicky sauce or toum, mezze such as hummus and baba ganoush, and salads such as tabbouli and fattoush, shish tawook is an essential component of a ‘mixed grill’ platter of barbecued meats.

We loved winter in Dubai when we lived in the UAE. In the cool evenings families filled the parks for one of the most quintessential local experiences (one of our favourites), winter picnics and barbecues. Women spread dishes of mezze and salads out on mats, while the men fanned coals and turned kebabs on portable grills, filling the air with mouthwatering aromas. Heaven.

But it’s easy to make shish tawook at home. You can prep the skewers ahead of time and marinate them in the fridge, then cook them on the kitchen stove in a griddle pan for nice char marks or grill them on an outdoor barbecue, as the locals do.

Easy Shish Tawook Recipe for Garlicky Lebanese Grilled Chicken Skewers

 

Beef Kofta Recipe for Grilled Ground Meat Kebabs

Our beef kofta recipe makes traditional Lebanese kafta – grilled, spiced, ground meat kebabs that are made throughout the Middle East, everywhere from the Arabian Peninsula to the Levantine countries of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Cooked at home, served at restaurants, and barbecued in parks at family gatherings on weekends and holidays, these Arabic minced meat kebabs are one of the most beloved dishes in a region that loves its grilled meats.

This recipe was also one of our popular recipes to make in January for our readers, and it’s easily another of our best Middle Eastern recipes.

Beef Kofta Recipe for Lebanese Kafta – Grilled Spiced Ground Meat Kebabs

 

Cucumber Yoghurt Salad Recipe for a Cooling Middle Eastern Side Dish

This cucumber yoghurt salad recipe makes a cooling Middle Eastern side dish called khyar bi laban that is typically served with grilled meats such as kebabs and kofta, alongside Middle Eastern dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush, and salads such as fattoush.

While it’s considered to be a refreshing salad side in the Middle East, it’s also referred to as a cucumber yoghurt sauce as it has a thinner consistency than dips such as muhamarra, hummus and muttabal.

There are few ingredients more compatible and more cooling than cucumber and yoghurt, which is why you find that combination used in so many cuisines to make dips and sauces served as appetisers and sides, from Indian raita to Greek tzatziki.

Cucumber Yoghurt Salad Recipe for a Cooling Middle Eastern Side Dish

 

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe with Middle Eastern Baharat Seven Spices

This easy baked meatballs recipe with Middle Eastern baharat or seven spice blend makes moist, melt-in-the-mouth, tender meatballs and is one of our best meatball recipes. Gently spiced with the classic Arabic baharat or seven spice mix, they are fragrant and flavourful.

The small size ensures they cook quickly and baking instead of frying makes them healthier. They’re also versatile. Serve them with toothpicks at a social gathering or eat them as an appetiser or a main with Middle Eastern dips hummus and baba ganoush and salads such as fattoush and tabbouleh.

I love to roll the meatballs up in soft warm pita bread spread with carrot ‘hummus’ or beetroot ‘hummus’ and sprinkled with loads of fresh mint and parsley. They’re also fantastic stuffed into crispy baguettes on layers of hummus, shredded lettuce and pickles for a Middle Eastern style banh mi.

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe with Middle Eastern Baharat Seven Spices

Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of our best Middle Eastern recipes as we love to hear how our recipes turn out for you.

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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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