Top Middle Eastern Recipes for Beginners

We all have to crawl before we walk—it is the same principle in cooking. These recipes are basic, yet delicious, and will give you an introduction to cooking Middle Eastern food. The trick is to have fun, experiment and don't be hard on yourself if you don't get it right the first time around. Even the best chefs have a bad cooking day here and there.

  • 01 of 11

    Shish Taouk (Chicken Kebobs)

    Chicken Kebobs

    Brian MacDonald / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Shish taouk (chicken kebobs) are nearly foolproof. Buy the chicken already chopped at the meat department of your supermarket to save time or ask the butcher to do it. If you add vegetables, it takes very little effort. Put it all on a skewer, grill it or broil and you have some tasty chicken kebobs!

  • 02 of 11



    The Spruce

    Don't let your favorite falafel stop fool you - it really is easy to make. With this recipe, it will come out even better! Throw it in a pita with some lettuce, onions, and tahini and call it lunch!

  • 03 of 11


    Beef shish kebabs or kofta
    clubfoto / Getty Images

    Bake it in the oven or grill it in the summer. Kofta is such a great alternative to burgers or hot dogs.

  • 04 of 11

    Cauliflower Hummus

    Cauliflower Hummus

    The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo 

    This recipe takes an ingredient that is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking—cauliflower—and incorporates it into hummus, that classic dish that is so popular all over Israel, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and other countries. Traditionally made with chickpeas, this version swaps out cauliflower to lend a lighter mouthfeel. Tahini and olive oil still lend it that silky quality. It takes less than 20 minutes to pull together, so it's perfect for your next party or even a Tuesday night dinner.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Ghoraibi - Butter Cookies

    Eggless Saffron Cookies
    Hari Chandana / Getty Images

    These ghoraibi (butter cookies) are so good and very easy to make. The dough freezes well too for making more later.

  • 06 of 11

    Pita Bread

    Pita Bread

    The Spruce

    You can make your own pita bread! It may take a little while to let the dough rise, but once you get the basics done, making your own pita bread is as easy as pie (a lot easier, actually)!

  • 07 of 11

    Turkish Coffee

    Turkish coffee

    The Spruce


    Turkish coffee is perfect when you want coffee, but not the usual blend. Although it's not prepared with a standard coffeemaker, this type of coffee will delight your tastebuds!

  • 08 of 11


    Hummus With Tahini

    The Spruce

    This super-easy Middle Eastern favorite is the perfect snack or appetizer. Serve hummus with some toasted pita wedges and enjoy!

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Lebanese Rice

    Close up of bowl of tabbouleh
    Judith Haeusler / Getty Images

    The way Lebanese rice is prepared is very unique. It is very similar to a Western packaged rice dish "Rice-a-Roni", but without the spices.

  • 10 of 11

    Lamb Burgers

    Lamb burger pita with two pepper chutney
    Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images

    These are just like hamburgers, but with a kick. Lamb is very easy to cook with and these burgers are flavorful. The spices in these lamb burgers really bring out the best in the meat and vice versa.

  • 11 of 11

    Green Bean and Beef Stew (Fasulia)

    Lamb stew served on rustic dinnerware set
    Louis Hiemstra / Getty Images

    Green bean and beef stew (fasulia) really hit the spot on cold, winter days. The spices used really compliment the green beans and meat used. You can use stew beef or lamb in this recipe; either one is good. Beef may be easier and less time consuming if you buy it already chopped in the supermarket.