Whole Foods recently announced its predictions for the top health food trends of 2018, and we were happy to see Middle Eastern recipes made the cut. You’re probably already on board with hummus and tabouleh, but there are tons of other incredible meals inspired by the Middle East. Get ready to up your spice game, make Za’atar spread your new favorite condiment, and fall in love with halloumi (the most underrated cheese out there, no joke). In the meantime, get ahead of the trend by making these Middle Eastern-inspired meals.
1. Lemon​ ​Fattoush​ ​Salad
This fresh, simple salad has three main ingredients: cucumber, tomato, and red onion. If you want to bulk it up, feel free to add radishes, lettuce, or even a grain like couscous or quinoa. Or just scoop it onto toasted pita. The sauce is really where it gets its unique flavor, with tart sumac, lemon juice, and mint.
You may be familiar with shakshuka already, or “eggs in purgatory” as it’s sometimes called. Sunny-side up eggs swim in spicy tomato sauce in the traditional dish; this version adds kale, potatoes, and creamy goat cheese, and it’s a brunch dream (or dinner, really) come true.
Halloumi is in its own category when it comes to cheese… it’s a little thicker than mozzarella, and slightly chewy, with a tart taste (it’s made from a mix of sheep and goat milk). If you haven’t had it yet, you really haven’t lived a cheesy life, and you must get on it. Add it to a lentil salad with zucchini and roasted tomatoes to make a fresh and hearty bowl you’ll want to add to your lunch rotation. Confession: Sometimes we just bake halloumi by itself and eat it plain (it’s that good).
Switch out your usual turkey and cheddar wrap for this eggplant- and greens-filled one. It’s not as heavy as a gyro, but it will still keep you full through the afternoon. You can make your own tahini or, let’s be real, you can just pick some up at the store.
Thankfully, grain bowls don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon. Israeli couscous forms the base of this tasty one, which tosses broccoli, chickpeas, walnuts, and capers in olive oil and Pecorino cheese. Pro tip: You can always skip the homemade pesto and go with store-bought to save time/your sanity.
Think of this dish as chicken and rice amped up about five notches. “Hashweh” means stuffing or stuffed, and the name is certainly accurate—this one mixes ground meat, nuts, raisins, and onion with medium-grain rice. You can use beef or lamb, depending on your taste preferences.
Lamb is a popular meat in the Middle East, especially in Morocco. This dish adds ground lamb to chili, just like you would with turkey or beef. Beyond the protein, it’s filled with familiar faves like sweet potatoes, kale, and chickpeas. Harissa, a Moroccan chile paste, gives the soup some incredible spice. If you’re a chili fan, we highly recommend getting cozy with this one for a change.