Middle Eastern Meze Recipes

Meze are small dishes common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East

The meze-style spread—small plates, dips, and salads meant to be shared as an appetizer course or light meal—is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East and one of our favorite ways to eat.

Bread is the heart of a meze meal. Homemade pita is easy, and much better than most of what you can buy. It's great grilled with za'atar, a spice blend of wild thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds ubiquitous in the Middle East.

Dips are one of the main types of meze. Everyone is familiar with hummus. The creamy chickpea puree is a staple in the Middle East. We've got you covered with a recipe for a classic hummus, as well as versions topped with whole chickpeas and fried mushrooms. Other classic dips include baba ghannouj—made from mashed grilled eggplant—and labaneh—a tart yogurtlike cheese.

For hot meze, kebabs rule. Kafta kebabs are made of ground meat. Our Lebanese kafta are made of ground chuck and studded with sun-dried tomatoes and aleppo peppers. Our Persian ground meat and onion kebabs are similar, made with ground lamb and sirloin. Kebabs are also often made with chunks of meat, as in our pork or chicken kebabs.

Vegetables feature heavily in meze. No table is complete without tabbouleh—finely chopped fresh parsley and mint bathed in fruity extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, Also try fried artichokes and turnips marinated in yogurt.

Check out these dishes and more in our collection of Middle Eastern meze recipes!

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

No Middle Eastern meal is complete without fresh, fluffy pita.A. Silver
Hummus with Tahini

Hummus with Tahini

This velvety dip is a classic—we like it garnished with pickles and served with plenty of toasted pita chips.Penny De Los Santos
Mashed Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Mashed Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Across the Levant, eggplants are grilled and mashed to make baba ghannouj, a silky, delicious dip for flatbreads and vegetables.James Oseland
Labaneh

Labaneh

Thick, tart, and creamy, this yogurt-like cheese, is perfect eaten with olive oil, pita bread, and za'atar.Eilon Paz
Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce & Tahini

Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce & Tahini

Charring young eggplant over an open flame lends a smoky flavor to this dish from the Galilee.Todd Coleman
Artichokes with Lemon Za'atar Dipping Sauce

Artichokes with Lemon Za'atar Dipping Sauce

Za'atar is a mixture of sesame seeds, dried thyme, and spices ubiquitous in the Arab world. Here it's used to make a lemony dip for simmered artichokes.Jennifer May/Clarkson Potter
Yogurt and Cucumber Dip (Mast-o Khiar)

Yogurt and Cucumber Dip (Mast-o Khiar)

Topped with rose petals and golden raisins, this simple dip is an elegant mezze.Todd Coleman
Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice (Dolma)

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice (Dolma)

This recipe for stuffed grape leaves uses both lemon juice and zest to enhance the flavor of the stuffing.Eilon Paz
Grilled Pita Bread with Za'atar

Grilled Pita Bread with Za'atar

This chewy flatbread topped with za'atar, a spice blend of wild thyme, tangy sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, can be either grilled outdoors or oven-baked and finished in a grill pan.Eilon Paz
Emirati Grilled Prawns (Rubyan Meshwi)

Emirati Grilled Prawns (Rubyan Meshwi)

At Abu Dhabi's Al Arish restaurant, jumbo prawns are basted in a spicy-sweet ketchup-based sauce before they are grilled.Ingalls Photography
Galilean-Style Hummus (Hummus Maushaushe)

Galilean-Style Hummus (Hummus Maushaushe)

Generous spice, a good dose of olive oil, and chickpeas piled high are the hallmarks of this Galilean-style hummus.Eilon Paz
Herb Meatballs in Tomato-Plum Sauce (Kufteh)

Herb Meatballs in Tomato-Plum Sauce (Kufteh)

These tender meatballs are simmered in a sweet-tart tomato and dried plum sauce.Todd Coleman
Spiced Chicken and Tomato Kebabs (Jujeh Kabab)

Spiced Chicken and Tomato Kebabs (Jujeh Kabab)

A marinade of orange, cumin, and saffron flavors these juicy chicken and tomato kebabs.Todd Coleman
Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

Finely chopped fresh parsley and mint are bathed in fruity extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in this classic Middle Eastern appetizer.James Oseland
Man'oushé bil Za'atar (Flatbread with Za'atar)

Man'oushé bil Za'atar (Flatbread with Za'atar)

Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix of wild thyme, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, tops chewy flatbread in this iconic Lebanese snack.James Oseland
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce

We found this recipe—a flavorful local favorite, in which tender artichoke bottoms are fried and served with an intense, tahini-based sauce—at al-Az, a casual but well-known restaurant in Damascus.Helen Rosner
Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts

These one-bite hors d'oeuvres are inspired by the ingredients of a classic Middle Eastern baba ganoush; they can be served either cool or hot out of the oven.Maxime Iattoni
White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj

White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj

The famously smoky Middle Eastern eggplant puree reaches new heights of smoothness with the inclusion of white chocolate, which compliments the nutty flavor of tahini and the delicate spice of fresh garlic and paprika.Yossy Arefi
Falafel

Falafel

Any way you make it, there is nothing like falafel's first bite: the crisp-fried exterior giving way to a creamy center of seasoned mashed beans, garlic, and parsley.Todd Coleman
Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebabs

Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebabs

These kebabs are made of ground lamb and beef and seasoned with turmeric, paprika, and saffron.Steve Giralt
Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce

Pork Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce

Redolent of oregano and cinnamon, these pork kebabs owe their tenderness to a red wine marinade.André Baranowski
Turnips with Yogurt and Tomatoes

Turnips with Yogurt and Tomatoes

Marinating turnips in salted yogurt draws out their excess moisture.Ben Fink
Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad

This refreshing salad is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.André Baranowski
Flatbread with Lamb and Tomatoes (Lahmacun)

Flatbread with Lamb and Tomatoes (Lahmacun)

Bake these Turkish spiced lamb and tomato flatbreads on a heated pizza stone in the oven so that the crust and topping cook evenly.Todd Coleman
Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)

Salata Adas (Garlicky Lentil Salad)

This light, Lebanese lentil salad is flavored with lemon juice, cumin, allspice, and parsley.Todd Coleman
Lebanese Beef Kebabs (Kafta)

Lebanese Beef Kebabs (Kafta)

Sun-dried tomatoes and Aleppo peppers stud these Lebanese kebabs.Todd Coleman
Cipollini Onion Hummus

Cipollini Onion Hummus

Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.Leah Koenig
Persian Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Persian Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

This refreshing yogurt dipping sauce is a perfect counterbalance to savory dishes.Anna Stockwell
Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh)

Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh)

These spiced croquettes are a classic Middle Eastern snack.Todd Coleman
Tahini Dip (Techina)

Tahini Dip (Techina)

Brightened with lemon and garlic, tahini becomes a bright, creamy dip—try it with warm pita, or sliced vegetables.Todd Coleman
Hummus with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

Hummus with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

A tangle of fried mushrooms provides textural contrast and a savory boost to this silky hummus.Todd Coleman
Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)

Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (Borani-e Bademjan)

Garnished with walnuts and garlic chips, this creamy dip makes a great appetizer.Ali Farboud