With blends of spices and herbs – including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon – Middle Eastern dishes are full of flavor and complexity. Within the region, different countries and cultures have their own culinary intricacies, but there are also similarities shared among all. From Kebabs to Shawarma, a Middle Eastern meal is not just about the food, it’s an experience.
These dishes are about bringing together friends and family around the dinner table. Whether you're looking to indulge in a lamb dish or are in need of a vegetarian option, there are plenty of dishes you can add to your dinner menu that everyone can enjoy.
Many of our recipes include couscous, which are actually more similar to small ball-shaped pasta, rather than a grain. Originating from North Africa, this pantry staple is found used in everything from stews to salads.
Read on to find out how you can make mouthwatering Middle Eastern meals that are spiced to perfection!
Learn Everything You Need to Know About Couscous so you can start incorporating it into more meals; in fact, these Meal Ideas with Couscous are satisfying weeknight meals but also serve as delicious mains on a dinner party menu!
Skip the meat but don’t skip out on flavor with these delicious veggie-centric couscous dishes. With our dynamic selection of couscous varieties like our Tri-Color Couscous and Pearl Couscous with Turmeric, you can make creative meals such as this Lentil and Turmeric Pearl Couscous Soup Recipe, a dish that is sure to sooth and satisfy.
Made with a yogurt dressing full of zesty herbs and tangy lemon, this Green Goddess Pearl Couscous Salad Recipe is fresh, beautiful and full of flavor.
Cooking with an array of veggies can not only add nutritional value and flavor, but also give your dishes a pleasing pop of color. When it’s summer time and bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant and other delicious vegetables come in season, fire up the grill and make our Grilled Vegetable Couscous Recipe. You can customize this dish by using whatever vegetables you have available.
Cooking Tip: When grilling your vegetables, try using skewers for smaller vegetables like mushrooms and cherry tomatoes to make sure they don’t fall through the grates!
If you’re looking for something different, elevate your evening with seafood recipes. Seafood and pasta often make a perfect pairing, as the mild taste and texture of pastas like couscous, go well with the delicate flavors of seafood. This match can offer more complex dishes that will be sure to impress your dinner guests.
Try making this Shrimp Scampi with Pearl Couscous Recipe made with simple ingredients and seasonings, for a perfectly balanced dish that lets the natural flavors shine through. The mix of dry white wine, butter, parsley and crushed red pepper will give you a light sauce with Mediterranean flavors that will complement the shrimp perfectly.
Put together this Tri-Color Pearl Couscous with Langoustines Recipe. A stunning dish with shades of red that contrast with the bright green appearance of fresh mint leaves, this seafood dish is sure to please all the senses.
Moroccan cuisine is influenced by a mixing pot of cultures, including Arab, Mediterranean, and Berber, an indigenous people of North Africa. The food is characterized by the use of aromatic spice blends combined with an array of vegetables, meats, fish, and fruits to create dynamic and diverse dishes.
Moroccan seasoning is a blend of cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, allspice, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. If you don’t have this arsenal of spices stocked in your kitchen, just grab a shaker of Ras El Hanout, a Moroccan seasoning that you can find in your grocery store.
If your cabinet already has all these spices, why not grab an empty jar to create your own Moroccan mixture that you can throw into a range of Middle Eastern dishes? This way, you can play around with the proportions and make a customized spice blend!
Typically you can find their meats and vegetables slow cooked in a tagine and served over couscous or with bread. We put together a selection of Moroccan-Inspired recipes for you to try and discover the unique flavors of this cuisine.
In Morocco, it’s common to see dried fruits added to couscous and rice-based meals for an added sweetness and unique texture. Try it in this Moroccan Seasoned Chops with Fruited Couscous Recipe to switch up your typical pork chop meal.
Explore more Moroccan flavors with these recipes:
The preparation of meats in Middle Eastern cuisine typically involves bold seasonings and grilling over an open flame or slow cooked in a tagine. You can find smoky meats prepared with herb sauces and served alongside fresh, tangy vegetables for a color and flavor contrast that never fails to satisfy.
For a dish that’s perfect for a slow summer evening shared with guests, try this Lamb Shish Kebab and Rice recipe. Made with juicy marinated lamb and our fluffy RiceSelect® rice, this dish is the perfect main to pair with your favorite vegetables like squash, okra, and bell pepper.
Made with a rainbow of fresh veggies, smoky chicken, and salty halloumi, this Chicken Shawarma and Turmeric Couscous Salad is a stunning dish that will taste as good as it looks on your dinner table. Still in the mood for chicken? Our Pearl Couscous Salad with Grilled Chicken Recipe is a simple dinner option that you can have ready in time for dinner without sacrificing the flavor or quality.
From succulent seafood to delicate lamb dishes, Middle Eastern cuisine has something that everyone can enjoy. Pay homage to this cuisine by sharing it with friends and family. Create a memorable night with starters all the way to dessert for a meal that will stick with your guests long after their last bite. If you want to continue your culinary journey around the world, check out this blog on International-Inspired Dishes!