Welcome to a Middle Eastern recipe journey with 25 easy dishes celebrating the region’s rich flavors.

Drawing inspiration from traditional recipes and infused with modern twists, each dish features an array of nourishing legumes, seasonal vegetables, and aromatic herbs.

From sumptuous soups to hearty mains and fresh salads, this collection offers something to tantalize every palate.

Middle Eastern Recipes with spreads, soups, and mains

Middle Eastern cuisine boasts a cornucopia of herbs, exotic spices, and wholesome ingredients from the Eastern Mediterranean’s sun-soaked shores to Turkey’s bustling spice markets.

Discover the art of mezze with savory dips and appetizers like creamy hummus and smoky baba ganoush, perfect for sharing amongst friends and family.

tabouli on a mixed mezze platter

Indulge in wholesome plant-based protein from stews, soups, salads, and rice dishes brimming with chickpeas, lentils, and seasonal vegetables.

Whether you’re craving the zesty tang of salads or stuffed vegetables, this list showcases the vibrant colors and wholesome ingredients that define Middle Eastern cuisine.

1. Mujadara

Mujadara served on a spread of labneh on a plate with a fork

Mujadara – also spelled Mujaddaram, mudardara, mejadra, majadra and megadarra – is a lentils and rice recipe cherished in most Levantine and Middle Eastern countries.

Like other recipes from the region – like falafelhummus, and spinach stew – mujadara relies on legumes such as lentils for nutritious plant protein and spices such as cumin and coriander for a beautiful fragrant flavor.

2. Lentil tabbouleh

lentil tabbouleh with a silver spoon

This lentil tabbouleh recipe is a tasty and nutritious variation of classic tabbouleh. I

it’s excellent as a starter, side dish, or main dish or as part of a mezze platter with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes.

3. Tahini sauce

Tahini sauce with lemon and spoon

Tahini sauce is one of the most essential condiments for anyone wanting more veggies.

With Tahini, or tahina (طحينة in Arabic) as the main ingredient, you will enjoy a rich, nutty flavor and a creamy texture.

Tahini sauce is perfect for drizzling veggie-packed meals like hummusfalafelroasted vegetablessaladsgrain bowls, and flatbreads.

4. Whole roasted cauliflower

Whole roasted cauliflower with chermoula, pita bread and fresh lemon

Whole roasted cauliflower is a gorgeous and delicious centerpiece meal or side dish recipe inspired by Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines.

It’s one of the best ways to enhance the flavor of the cauliflower as it gets browned and flavorful outside while maintaining a succulent, juicy inside.

5. Muhammara

Muhammara with spoon and parsley

Muhammara is a red pepper and walnut dip from Syria. It is a beautiful representation of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine, combining simple natural ingredients into a dish with bright colors and bold flavors.

You’ll love muhammara because it connects you to distant cultures where food has been central to local communities for millennia.

6. Mutabal

Mutabal with hand and red nails

Mutabal—sometimes spelled moutabal—is a tasty Middle Eastern dip with a beautiful smoky flavor.

The secret to making the best mutabal is how you cook the eggplant. For the most incredible smoky flavor, you’ve got to char the eggplant skin until it turns black and falls off the eggplant.

7. Mediterranean bowl

Mediterranean bowl with tahini dressing

This Mediterranean bowl takes inspiration from Middle-Eastern staples such as hummus, crisp seasonal veggies, warm pita bread, olives, soft white cheese, and tahini.

With simple storebought or homemade ingredients, you can make an authentic Mediterranean feast that is easy, healthy, and delicious.

8. Hummus

Hummus on a plate with chickpeas in the middle and lemon on the side

This hummus recipe is a mouthwatering spread from the Middle East. It’s made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and other simple ingredients.

Hummus is a wonderfully versatile recipe that pairs with pasta and in mezze platters with other Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern dishes.

9. Shirazi salad

Shirazi salad with bread

Shirazi salad (also known as Salad-e Shirazi) takes its name from the city of Shiraz in Southwestern Iran, where this recipe is considered a national dish.

They serve it yearly, mainly as an appetizer or a side dish.

10. Spinach stew

Chickpea Spinach Stew on rice with spoon

Spinach stew is famous in many countries, especially in Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.

Our recipes is inspired by the Palestinian “Sabanekh bil hummus”, an excellent combination of fresh spinachtender chickpeas, and fragrant spices.

This spinach stew is excellent with rice or warm pita bread for a meat-free lunch or dinner.

11. Creamy cauliflower soup

cauliflower soup with extra virgin olive oil and roasted cauliflower in a white bowl

Our roasted cauliflower soup has a beautiful nutty flavor and irresistible creamy texture, and it will remind you of delicious Eastern Mediterranean food.

Unlike most cauliflower soup recipes that use butter, cheese, or cream, we use creamy-dreamy tahini to give character and substance to this delicious recipe.

12. Pita bread with dukkah

Pita bread with hand and red nails

Pita bread is an Arabic flatbread (Khubz) similar to naan bread. It originated in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines and is now famous worldwide.

Making pita at home is more accessible than one might think. Our simple recipe uses only basic ingredients: all-purpose flour, water, olive oil, salt, sugar, and fresh or dry yeast.

13. Turkish lentil soup

Turkish red lentil soup with roasted chickpeas and fresh cilantro on top

Turkish lentil soup, or Mercimek çorbası, is a staple of Turkish cuisine. It comprises red lentils simmered in a tasty broth with veggies and warm spices.

Our creamy red lentil soup is easy to make in 30 minutes and one pot. Serve it with roasted chickpeas for a high-protein vegetarian meal.

14. Falafel

Falafel in a pita bread with hummus

Falafels are deep-fried balls (we also do them in the air fryer) made out of soaked chickpeas, broad beans, or a combination of both.

They come from the Middle-Eastern cuisine and are especially popular in Lebanon and Egypt.

15. Fattoush salad

Fattoush with tahini yogurt dressing and sumac

Fattoush is a deliciouscrunchyrefreshing salad from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. It has fresh vegetables, herbs, and toasted or fried Arabic bread.

Fattoush salad is a great way to enjoy the flavors of those wonderful eastern Mediterranean countries. It’s perfect for a light lunch or a side dish for any meal.

16. Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush and hand

Baba ganoush is an eggplant-based Levantine spread and dip with a pleasant smoky flavor and creamy-dreamy texture.

It’s easy to make with simple, healthy ingredients; it has a pleasant smoky tastea mellow eggplant flavor, and an irresistible creamy texture with a silky mouthfeel.

17. Chickpea fritters

Chickpea fritters with tahini sauce and fresh parsley and a hand dipping a fritter

Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors inspire chickpea fritters, which go well with anything from those regions.

It’s a large platter with many small dishes. Chickpea fritters are similar to falafel, so they go well in a mezze platter with yogurt tahini sauce, roasted eggplant, and pita bread.

18. Lentil carrot salad

Lentil carrot salad with shaved almonds

Lentil carrot salad is tasty, aromatic, and inspired by Mediterranean flavors and aromas.

It’s easy to make, and you can serve it as a starter, side, or main dish with warm pita bread and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes.

19. Stuffed bell peppers

red and yellow stuffed bell peppers on a serving platter

Stuffed bell peppers are a popular dish in most Mediterranean countries, from Italy to Turkey, Spain to North Africa’s coasts.

Our pepper recipe is strongly inspired by MediterraneanLevantine, and Middle Eastern flavors, especially from our lentil mujaddara.

20. Tahini salad

Tahini salad with lemon and tomatoes

Tahini salad is a healthy Middle Eastern-inspired dish with fresh vegetables and herbs, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and parsley, tossed in a creamy tahini sauce.

This salad recipe is quick and easy to make. You can customize it to your taste and serve it as a side or main dish with warm pita bread, falafel, hummus, and more.

21. Dukkah

Dukkah dip with hand holding a pita

Dukkah or Duqqa is an Egyptian nuts and spice blend that can be used as a dip for pita bread and olive oil or sprinkled on hummus, veggies, soups, and other dishes.

We sprinkle dukkah on hummusred pepper hummusmuhammarasautéed green beanschickpea stewcauliflower soup, and many more Mediterranean recipes.

22. Cauliflower lentil salad

Cauliflower lentil salad on a long white platter

Cauliflower lentil salad is a delicious and easy Middle-Eastern-inspired recipe to add to your lentil salad repertoire.

Packed with bold flavors and wholesome ingredients, this salad, paired with some pita bread, is excellent for a quick lunch or a vegetarian dinner.

23. Lentil hummus

Lentil hummus with hand holding a pita and cherry tomatoes on the side

Lentil hummus is a 5-minute recipe using canned or cooked lentils. Its preparation is similar to that of classic hummus.

Like our red pepper hummus and hummus without tahini, this is a delicious variation you can make when you want to change up your hummus game.

24. Fatteh (pita, yogurt, and hummus)

Fatteh with yogurt, chickpeas and herbs

Fatteh (also known as fatta, fette, fattah, or fetté) is an Egyptian and southern Levantine dish popular in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

Fatteh is sometimes made with chicken and rice and other times with ground beef or lamb. Here, we will show you how to make a vegetarian version without meat.

25. Lentil patties

Lentil patties with lemon wedges and fresh parsley

You’ll love the Middle-Eastern-inspired flavor of these patties with cooked lentils, spices, fresh herbs, and garlic.

Like our zucchini fritters, they are excellent as a main course, or appetizer served with pita bread and your favorite mezze spreads.

Middle-Eastern recipe basics

Easy middle eastern recipes

Middle-Eastern Recipes: Mujadara

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 1 vote
Mujadara is a comforting and delicious lentil and rice dish from the Middle East. It features boiled lentils and rice flavored with warm spices, caramelized onions, and fresh herbs.
You’ll love our Mujaddara recipe because it’s easy to make with simple ingredients; it’s also packed with flavor, nourishing, and satisfying.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern


Caramelized Onions

  • 4 large onions white or yellow
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar apple cider, or balsamic

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils green or brown + 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • ½ cup basmati rice + 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions finely chopped (set green tops aside for garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander ground
  • ½ teaspoon cumin ground
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder optional, not traditional
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt add more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped, optional

Serving Suggestions


  • Note: you can cook the onions, lentils, and rice (steps 2 to 7) up to 3 days in advance and store them in airtight containers in the fridge.


  • Peel and cut 4 large onions into ⅕ inch or ½ cm slices and sauté them with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ¾ teaspoon salt in a large skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes.
    onions with sugar
  • Add ¾ cup water, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is gone and the onions are soft and browned. Stir occasionally.
    Set the stove to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook for 3 more minutes while stirring.
    Tip: while the onions cook, proceed to the next step.
    caramelized onions in a skillet after 45 minutes


  • Rinse 1 cup dry lentils and add them to a pot with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.
    cooking the brown lentils in water
  • Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 to 45 minutes or until tender.
    Drain and set aside.
    Cooking time varies depending on the lentil type and is often written on the package. If not, taste them at the 15-minute mark and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
    Cooked and rinsed lentils in a sift


  • Rinse ½ cup basmati rice, then add it to a pot with 3 cups of boiling water and ½ teaspoon salt.
    basmati rice cooking in a pot with water
  • Boil gently on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked but with a bite.
    Drain and set aside.
    drained basmati rice in a sift


  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add 4 scallions (finely chopped – only white and light-green part) and sauté for 2 minutes.
    Add 2 cloves garlic (pressed), 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and sauté 1 more minute or until fragrant.
    fried spices
  • Add lentils, rice, ½ of the caramelized onions, 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, and 2 tablespoons cilantro.
    Stir and cook in the pan for a few minutes until everything is warm and well combined.
    Taste and adjust for salt and spices.
    lentils, rice and onions in a pot


  • Transfer the mujadara onto a serving platter and top with the remaining caramelized onions, the green top of the scallions, more chopped parsley, and a pinch of paprika.
    Mujaddara lentil dish on a platter
  • Serve with lemon wedges, and yogurt tahini sauce or plain greek yogurt.
    Mujadara served on a spread of labneh on a plate with a fork


Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of mujadara out of 4 servings without yogurt tahini sauce.
Make Ahead: You can cook lentils, rice, and caramelized onions up to 3 days in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge ready to use. Also, you can make mujadara for meal prep because it keeps wonderfully in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
Freezer: Let the mujaddara cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Thaw & Reheat: defrost over several hours in the refrigerator. Warm it in the microwave for a few minutes or on a pan with olive oil.


Calories: 406kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 803mg, Dietary Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 595IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 20mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 67µg, Calcium: 93mg, Folate: 281µg, Iron: 5mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 89mg, Zinc: 3mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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