Middle Eastern Breakfast Ideas

When most people think of breakfast, the first thing that comes to mind is cereal or eggs. But there are other delicious options that can be just as satisfying and nutritious. Here are some ideas for a Middle Eastern breakfast.

Middle Eastern breakfast is known for being hearty and filling. They typically consist of grains, fruits, vegetables, or legumes in addition to eggs, fish, or meat. Olive oil is the fat of choice in this region because it’s high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that can help lower cholesterol when used in place of saturated fats like butter.

Breakfast Cereals

A bowl of food on a blue plate

Cereal was not traditionally eaten by people in the Middle Eastern breakfast, they ate whole-grain flatbreads with cheese or honey instead. But today you can find cereals made from barley, farina (semolina), oats, quinoa (a South American whole grain), and wheat bran. Look for brands that have less sugar and more whole grain ingredients.

Add chopped dried fruits, such as apricots or dates, and deep-fried or toasted nuts, such as almonds or pistachios. And if you’re feeling especially decadent, drizzle your serving with a bit of honey.

Egg Dishes

A tall building in a city

In the Middle Eastern breakfast, eggs are traditionally scrambled with tomatoes and onions or fried with parsley and spices. You can also choose from dishes that include omelets filled with cheese, veggies or meats; eggs baked in a tomato sauce; shakshuka – a spicy mix of poached eggs cooked in a tomato sauce with chili peppers and garlic; labneh – a tangy spread made from yogurt strained to make it thicker; hummus – made from cooked and mashed chickpeas blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and spices; ful medames – a stew of cooked fava beans mixed with garlic, parsley, and lemon juice; foul – fava beans mashed into a spread like hummus; and kebabs.

Legume Dishes

Dishes made from dried or fresh legumes run the gamut from soups to stews to spreads. They typically consist of lentils, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or split peas. Sample dishes include dahl or daal – a thick Indian curry-like soup made by simmering lentils until they’re creamy; sorbet adass – garbanzo beans cooked with lemon and garlic; ful medames – fava beans; foul – fava beans; hummus – garbanzo beans blended with tahini, lemon juice, and spices; full – fava or garbanzo beans cooked until they’re soft and creamy and mixed with cumin, oil and garlic; and falafel – a fried patty made from ground garbanzo beans.

Seafood Dishes

Fish is eaten often in the Middle East. Dishes include fish kibbeh – chunks of white fish deep-fried by coating them first in bulgur (wheat) crumbs, then frying them as if they were meatballs; dolma maharishi – grape leaves stuffed with rice, onions, tomatoes, pine nuts, and dill; maklouba – a casserole of rice, eggplant and fish layered with spices; chraimeh – whitefish poached in tomato sauce flavored with chili peppers, fenugreek seeds, and coriander leaves; seafood kabobs; and fried fish.


Drink beverages made from ingredients like pomegranate juice (look for 100 percent juice), mint tea (brewed green tea blended with chopped mint leaves), sahlab (a hot drink made by mixing water or milk with the starch of an orchid root that’s similar to cornstarch) or tamarind juice (made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit).


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and these Middle Eastern breakfast ideas will give you plenty of delicious options to choose from. From savory to sweet, there’s something for everyone in this roundup. So what are you waiting for? Start your day off right with one of these tasty dishes!

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter