Traditional Arabic Breakfast Dishes

One of the things Arabs love most about morning hours is a good Arabic breakfast! In Middle Eastern culture, breakfast and lunch are considered the most important meals of the day, while dinner is usually light. A traditional Middle Eastern breakfast is lavish, varied and above all delicious! In this post, I’m going to share with you the best Arabic breakfast dishes that you need to make at home.

Arabic Breakfast

What a Traditional Arabic Breakfast Looks Like

It goes without saying that in this fast-paced world, most people won’t have time to enjoy a lavish breakfast before heading to the office on weekdays. For this reason, most people working 9 to 5 will have a light breakfast (or skip it altogether) and make lunch their main meal of the day.

On weekends, people spend more time at home and all family members are around. That’s when a traditional Arabic breakfast comes into play. A typical Arabic breakfast is abundant, varied, filling and above all delicious! While the breakfast dishes aren’t always the same, an Arabic breakfast will always consist of eggs, legumes, vegetables, cheese and bread. It’s a great way to keep you filled for the day.

As with other Middle Eastern meals, an Arabic breakfast isn’t just about the food. It’s about spending time with your family. You can clearly see the idea of sharing and spending time together in the way a Middle Eastern breakfast is served. You’ll typically see many plates filled with a variety of small dishes served on a large tray, around which everyone gathers.

Tea (usually Arabic mint tea) is traditionally served with breakfast. Coffee for breakfast is less common in the Middle East (although some people will prefer American coffee over mint tea).

Arabic Breakfast Dishes

With 22 Arab countries, the Arab culture is very diverse and not every country shares the same dishes and customs. The Arabic breakfast dishes that you’ll find below are what people in Eastern Mediterranean and Levantine countries eat. It’s the traditional way of eating in countries like Jordan, Syria or Lebanon as well as parts of Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey. Some of the dishes are also common in Gulf countries, though they are often prepared in a slightly different way.

1. Falafel

Falafel

Falafel is one of the best known and most popular Middle Eastern dishes. The main ingredients of Falafel are chickpeas and fresh herbs. The ingredients are blended to a fine mixture which is then formed into balls or patties and deep-fried in oil. The result is delicious Falafel balls which are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

While Falafel can be served at any time of the day, it’s a traditional Arabic breakfast dish. In the Middle East, Falafel is considered a street food. Most people will have Falafel on weekends, for example when heading to the market, or when eating out (breakfast, lunch or brunch) with family and friends. Nevertheless, many families also prepare Falafel at home which is very easy and rewarding.

Falafel
Home in the Middle East, falafel has become an absolute crowdpleaser across the globe. Learn how to make authentic Middle Eastern falafel with this step-by-step falafel recipe.
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Falafel

2. Hummus

Authentic Hummus Recipe

Hummus is another crowd pleaser that has gained popularity across the world. Hummus is a hearty spread which is typically eaten with bread. It’s part of any good Arabic breakfast, lunch and dinner – you can never go wrong with Hummus.

Similar to Falafel, the main ingredient of Hummus are chickpeas. In fact, the word “Hummus” even translates to chickpea in Arabic. Though Falafel and Hummus are both chickpea dishes, their taste and texture are completely different.

Hummus
Hummus is one of the most popular Middle Eastern spreads. Part of any good breakfast table in countries like Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt, hummus has become an absolute crowd pleaser across the globe.
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Hummus

3. Labneh

If you like yogurt, you’re going to love Labneh. Labneh is a form of creamy dip made from strained yogurt. The spread is popular for breakfast, often alongside other types of cheese, yogurt and eggs.

While the concept of Labneh is simple, the taste and texture can greatly vary. Short straining periods will make your Labneh more watery. Straining the yogurt for more time will remove more of its whey and result in a thicker consistency and a sharper taste. Labneh can be enjoyed hearty (dipped with olive oil) or sweet (with walnuts and honey).

Labneh
A creamy dip made from strained yogurt which is popular for breakfast. Based on the traditional recipe you'll find in the Middle East.
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Labneh Strained Yogurt Recipe

4. Shakshuka

Shakshuka Recipe Welcome2Jordan

Originally from North Africa, Shakshuka has conquered the plates of the Middle East in recent decades. And it didn’t stop there. In fact, Shakshuka has become a huge food trend in large parts of Europe and the US too!

Shakshuka is a simple dish made of poached eggs in tomato sauce. The base consists of olive oil, onions, garlic, bell peppers and a few warm spices which make this dish so delicious and popular.

Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a hugely popular Arabic dish consisting of poached eggs in tomato sauce. Originally from North Africa, it has become a popular dish for breakfast or lunch across the globe.
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Shakshuka Recipe Welcome2Jordan

5. Ful Mudammas

Foul fava beans

For many people, including my family, Ful is for lazy Sundays. Ful is an extremely delicious and filling dish made of fava beans. The hearty bean stew is well known for making you feel full for hours.

Ful consists of fava beans, often chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon and a variety of spices and herbs (cumin, garlic, parsley). It’s essentially a hearty bean stew which is traditionally served for breakfast. Originally an Egyptian dish, Ful Mudammas has become a staple across the Middle East.

Ful
Ful medames (ful mudammas) is a simple stew made of fava beans, chickpeas and a few warm spices. It’s traditionally served for breakfast, with cut up lemon and pita bread.
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Foul fava beans

6. Khubz (Bread)

Khubz Pita Bread Recipe

No matter which of the above-mentioned Middle Eastern breakfast dishes you choose to prepare, they all go well with Khubz. In fact, Khubz (the Arabic word for bread) is a true staple in the Middle East and part of any meal (whether it’s Arabic breakfast, lunch or dinner).

While there are a few bread varieties in Arab cuisine, the most common one that you’ll find across the Middle East is a type of white flat-bread. Bakeries and shops sell a slightly larger, flatter variety of bread for which a special machine is needed. Homemade Arabic bread is smaller and has pockets, same as pita bread. This type of bread is fairly easy to prepare at home and definitely be part of your Arabic breakfast.

Khubz (Arabic Bread)
Pita bread is the most common type of bread in the Middle East, known as khubz arabi. It’s easy to make at home and just needs a handful of basic ingredients. A step-by-step recipe for Arabic style pita bread.
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Khubz Arabi Pita Bread

7. Manakeesh

Manakeesh cheese recipe

Known as the “pizza of the Levant”, Manakeesh are a Middle Eastern type of flatbread. They come with a savory topping, often cheese or Za’atar (a Middle Eastern herb-spice-blend) and are baked to crispy perfection in the oven.

In countries like Lebanon, Manakeesh are hugely popular for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. Similar to Falafel, Manakish is a dish that many people will enjoy when eating out. Most Middle Eastern bakeries carry different types of Manakish (along with other pastries) which make a great snack or Arabic breakfast on the go as well as for talking to the office. Nevertheless, many people also choose to prepare Manakish at home which requires some patience (similar to pizza dough) but gives a rewarding taste.

Manakeesh
Manakeesh is a Middle Eastern flatbread also known as Arabic pizza that is hugely popular for breakfast. The most popular topping is cheese.
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Manakeesh cheese recipe

Any Questions or Feedback?

If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.

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Learn Middle Eastern Cooking

Are you a new to Middle Eastern cuisine? Then this Middle Eastern cookbook is what you need! In addition to a varied choice of recipes, the cookbook offers plenty of insights on ingredients, cooking techniques and Middle Eastern food culture.

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