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!
No Middle Eastern meal is complete without fresh, fluffy pita.
This velvety dip is a classic—we like it garnished with pickles and served with plenty of toasted pita chips.
Thick, tart, and creamy, this yogurt-like cheese, is perfect eaten with olive oil, pita bread, and za’atar.
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.
Topped with rose petals and golden raisins, this simple dip is an elegant mezze.
This recipe for stuffed grape leaves uses both lemon juice and zest to enhance the flavor of the stuffing.
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.
At Abu Dhabi’s Al Arish restaurant, jumbo prawns are basted in a spicy-sweet ketchup-based sauce before they are grilled.
Generous spice, a good dose of olive oil, and chickpeas piled high are the hallmarks of this Galilean-style hummus.
These tender meatballs are simmered in a sweet-tart tomato and dried plum sauce.
Finely chopped fresh parsley and mint are bathed in fruity extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in this classic Middle Eastern appetizer.
Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix of wild thyme, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds, tops chewy flatbread in this iconic Lebanese snack.
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. Get the recipe for White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj »
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.
These kebabs are made of ground lamb and beef and seasoned with turmeric, paprika, and saffron.
Marinating turnips in salted yogurt draws out their excess moisture.
This refreshing salad is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.
Bake these Turkish spiced lamb and tomato flatbreads on a heated pizza stone in the oven so that the crust and topping cook evenly.
This light, Lebanese lentil salad is flavored with lemon juice, cumin, allspice, and parsley.
Sun-dried tomatoes and Aleppo peppers stud these Lebanese kebabs.
Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.
This refreshing yogurt dipping sauce is a perfect counterbalance to savory dishes.
Brightened with lemon and garlic, tahini becomes a bright, creamy dip—try it with warm pita, or sliced vegetables.
A tangle of fried mushrooms provides textural contrast and a savory boost to this silky hummus.
Garnished with walnuts and garlic chips, this creamy dip makes a great appetizer.