17 Middle Eastern Recipes for Brunch

eggs with Greek yogurt, oil, and red pepper
Photo: Chef John

If you want to add savory, flavorful dishes into your brunch repertoire, look to the Middle East. The region knows how to season its food, whether it's with the help of dried spices, fresh herbs, or essential ingredients like chopped onions. Other staples of a Middle Eastern brunch include homemade flatbread and feta cheese, which is just waiting to be incorporated into salads, breads, and egg dishes. Give your brunch spread a much-deserved upgrade with these Middle Eastern recipes.

01 of 18

Turkish Eggs (Cilbir)

eggs with Greek yogurt, oil, and red pepper
Chef John

This Turkish dish is comprised of poached eggs, yogurt, and spicy red pepper butter. If you prefer fried eggs (or just struggle with poaching), those will work as well. Keep some toasted flatbread nearby for dipping.

02 of 18

Labneh (Lebanese Cream Cheese)

Labneh (Lebanese Cream Cheese)
AMATULLAH

Labneh, a Lebanese cream cheese made from yogurt, is easy to prepare (the hard part is waiting 24 hours for it to drain) and can go with virtually anything. You can also strain it with herbs and garlic to up its savory flavor.

03 of 18

Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)
Photo by Chef John.

If you're really looking to impress your brunch guests, make khachapuri, an incredible blend of soft-but chewy bread, runny egg yolk, and molten cheese. Khachapuri is a fun way to serve soft eggs that just so happens to be super sharable (and, let's not deny it, gorgeous).

04 of 18

Yazdi Cakes

yazdi cakes in cupcake wrappers
zhash

Yazdi cakes are a subtly sweet dessert that pair well with coffee and tea, making them easy to incorporate into breakfast or brunch. "I am from Yazd and this recipe is the closest anyone can get," says community member fauzia. "I have made these at least a dozen times now. My mom bought some yazdi cakes from a Persian bakery, and these are way better than the ones from the bakery."

05 of 18

Halloumi and Zucchini Frittata

Halloumi and Zucchini Frittata in a stainless steel pan
Diana Moutsopoulos

Firm, salty halloumi, fresh herbs, and zucchini make the perfect companion for eggs in this simple frittata. This recipe also doubles easily.

06 of 18

Persian Herb and Cheese

Persian Herb and Cheese
Christina

In Iran, flatbread, feta cheese, and sabzi, a simple mix of fresh herbs, are a breakfast staple. For a sweet twist, add fresh red grapes to the mixture and make a tiny sandwich.

07 of 18

Za'atar Roasted Potatoes

Za'atar Roasted Potatoes
Kim's Cooking Now

Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made from ground dried thyme, toasted sesame seeds, sumac, and salt — seasonings that deliver on flavor. It's an incredibly versatile blend and pairs especially well with potato dishes, making it a perfect shared side for brunch.

08 of 18

Adeni Tea

Adeni Tea
inshirah

This Yemi tea is fragrant, rich, and sweet, making it a perfect beverage for chilly mornings (or, you know, whenever). If you don't have any orange pekoe tea, any black tea will do as a substitute.

09 of 18

Lavosh

Lavosh
lovecook

If you're looking for an unleavened bread to serve at a holiday brunch, your search is officially done. Lavosh comes together in just an hour and 15 minutes and pairs with a variety of seasonings. It's also super sharable.

10 of 18

Kuku Sabzi

Kuku Sabzi
Kuku Sabzi.

Kuku sabzi, an herb-heavy Persian frittata, is full-on flavorful and easily sharable, making it great for a group. Serve with feta, flatbread, yogurt, and fresh produce and your brunch spread is covered.

11 of 18

Chakchouka (Shakshouka)

Chakchouka (Shakshouka)

Shakshouka showcases some of the Middle East's most flavorful ingredients — bell peppers, onions, cumin, and garlic. Plus, it checks all the boxes of a good brunch dish: it's sharable, affordable, easy, delicious, and requires barely any cleanup. You can even make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it for speedy assembly.

12 of 18

Arabic Fattoush Salad

Arabic Fattoush Salad
Christina

Fattoush, a quintessential Middle Eastern salad, is a common part of mezze (shared dish) platters. It's not hard to see why — the mixture of pita bread, fresh produce and herbs, feta, and a lemony garlic dressing can't help but win people over. Make a big batch for a light meal or side dish.

13 of 18

Semolina Turmeric Cake (Sfoof)

Semolina Turmeric Cake (Sfoof)
Fadia Murad

Sfouf, a Lebanese dessert, is a perfect reason to have cake for breakfast or brunch. It's mildly sweet, thanks to rose water and orange blossom notes, and its slightly gritty texture complements the pine nuts on top. Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully so you don't go overboard on the turmeric.

14 of 18

Israeli Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Israeli Tomato and Cucumber Salad
France C

This refreshing and light salad has a lot of taste: chopped garlic, fresh parsley and mint, and lemon juice combine and really make chopped cucumber, purple onion, and tomatoes sing. It comes together in 20 minutes and makes an excellent side for savory brunch dishes like eggs.

15 of 18

Choereg (Armenian Easter Bread)

Choereg (Armenian Easter Bread)
Cheryl C.

If you're a skilled baker, then you should add choereg, Armenian Easter bread, to your bucket list. It's slightly sweet and has a distinct flavor and aroma that pairs well with coffee. Mahleb is an aromatic spice, which you can find mahleb at Middle Eastern grocery stores; it's distinctive flavor and aroma is essential for this bread, so don't skip it.

16 of 18

Eggplant Mirza

Eggplant Mirza
Parisa Mohamadi

Eggplant and eggs unite with tomatoes, onion, and basic seasonings to make this Persian omelet. To up the eggplant's smoky flavor, you can grill it until it's perfectly charred, about 10 minutes. If you're using Italian eggplants, you'll want to soak them in salty water for 30 minutes to reduce bitterness.

17 of 18

Bazlama - Turkish Flat Bread

Bazlama - Turkish Flat Bread
Lela

Bazlama is a simple Turkish flatbread that's traditionally cooked in an outdoor oven, but this recipe by community member sharwna will work on a stovetop. You can even stuff bazlama with feta, parsley, ground beef, and tomatoes, or mashed potatoes — simply treat the flatbread like an omelet and flip it halfway to cover the filling.

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