8 Healthy Middle Eastern Snacks
In most Middle Eastern countries, people are not typically accustomed to snacking. Most meals are eaten on time, and they are very filling. The Middle Eastern ‘mezze’ is the most similar to snacking. It is an appetizer served before a meal. Sometimes a mezze includes so many various plates that it could replace a whole meal!
As a kid growing up in Jordan, there were a few options of Middle Eastern foods you could snack on while waiting for the meal to be ready. Here are 8 healthy Middle Eastern snacks that I commonly eat. Try them out and see what you think!
Zeit wa Za’atar Wrap
Zeit wa Za’atar Wraps are some of the most popular snacks in The Middle East. They are eaten in practically every country! This tasty wrap consists of warm pita bread, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with zaatar, and wrapped into a roll. It’s tasty, simple, and very satisfying on its own. Some people also dressed up the Zeit wa za’atar roll by adding thin slices of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles.
Labneh sandwich is also a great snack. Labneh is yogurt that has been strained from all its water content. It has a soft, spreadable texture, and it is somewhere between the thickness of cream cheese and sour cream. Labneh is found in many dishes, and it can even be eaten on its own as a dip.
To make a labneh sandwich, spread some labneh inside a pita pocket and drizzle olive oil. My favorite way to enjoy a labneh sandwich is to add fresh herb leaves like mint and dill. They give the sandwich a refreshing taste, making it the perfect light snack before a nice big meal.
Moohganat is a word used to describe dough that is either stuffed or topped by various vegetables, meats, or cheeses. The most popular stuffing is fresh spinach chopped and mixed with onion and sumac. The spinach stuffed moohganat is typically shaped into a triangle and baked in the oven for a soft, crispy pasty.
The sumac makes the spinach moohganat a slightly acidic and flavorful snack. Another traditional shape is an oval open-faced dough spread with a thin layer of cheese mixed with fresh herbs. The open-faced dough can also be topped with minced meat mixed with fresh peppers and pine nuts. No matter what the Moohganat is stuffed with, it is always baked in the oven.
Mokasarat translates to nuts, and they can be nearly any kind of nuts. The nuts can have soft or hard shells, be toasted or even raw. Some examples of mokasarat are hazelnut, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. In the middle east roasting houses for nuts and seeds are very common, and the nuts are fresh and crunchy.
The roasting machine is usually set up in the middle of the shop, and the master roaster continuously roasts fresh nuts and seeds. The master roaster will also add various spices that can be as simple as just plain salt or hot chili! The mokasarat nuts are always served fresh, and you can buy as much as you need. Nuts were the perfect snack and appetizer for many meals.
Qadamma translates to roasted dry chickpeas, and while they are sometimes seasoned to be salty or spicy, they can also be eaten plain! To make these tasty chickpeas, start by soaking dry chickpeas overnight with water, then draining them. Next, spread them on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at low temperature until they become dried. The oven should be at around 275 degrees. Once they are done baking, sprinkle them with some salt, and enjoy!
Pita chips are popular worldwide, and they can be made by baking or frying pita bread! Pita chips are crunchy, flavorful, and so addicting to eat! You can snack on pita chips alone, eat them on the side of a bowl of olives and pickles, or dip them into a creamy plate of hummus. No matter how you decide to eat your pita chips, you can’t go wrong!
Manakeesh is considered the pizza of the Middle East. It is a flat dough topped with olive oil and zaatar or some spiced cheese and thinly sliced tomatoes. Once the dough is covered with the topping, it is baked to perfection in an open fire oven until the dough crisps. This Middle Eastern flatbread is typically eaten for breakfast, but it makes a terrific, satisfying snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day!
This popular Middle Eastern street food can be served as a snack or main course with a drizzle of tahini sauce. Arayes is stuffed pita bread with a minced beef mixture. Usually, the minced beef is mixed with semi-cooked chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and some spices. When making arayes, I cut the pita bread in half, stuff it with the ground beef mixture, and grill it in a pan over the stove until it is browned on both sides. Then I finish it off by baking it in the oven until the meat is fully cooked and the Arayes are toasted.
Hi, I’m Rana and I blog at ranasrecipe.com. My passion for food began very early in my life. And after managing a cafe, a granola business and helping other food businesses scale up, I found my true calling in creating wonderful recipes so that everyone can enjoy cooking as much as I do! Don’t forget to follow me on my social channels- instagram and pinterest.