This easy-to-make spread is fragrant, flavorful, and beautiful. It's filled with healthy, enticing foods, and delivers a delicious taste of the region: a boldly spiced dip, an irresistible bread salad, a rich chicken stew, and a creamy dessert to serve with mint tea. It's like a visit to the Fertile Crescent—no passport required.
More than a dozen countries make up the region bordered by southern Europe, northern Africa, and central Asia, each with its own influences and favorite ingredients. But their cuisines all share certain distinctive elements– complex spice combinations, sweet-tart flavor boosters like lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, legumes and pulses like chickpeas and fava beans, and abundant fresh herbs.
Middle Eastern staples to stock
Here’s our short list of kitchen essentials from this delicious part of the world.
- Sesame Seeds
- Pita Bread
- Fresh Lemon
- Ground Sumac