11 Middle Eastern And Mexican Foods To Try This Summer

by Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Many of us get stuck in the pattern of purchasing the same groceries and preparing identical meals with each passing week. Maybe you’ve tried different condiments like sauces, marinades or dressings, or even various herbs and spices to punch up your plate, but how about some global inspiration? Classic dishes from around the world use flavors that often take advantage of that region’s history, climate, and traditions. Try out these foods in our first installment of global cuisine articles to expand your knowledge and palate for international fare, starting with foods from the Middle East and Mexico.

Middle Eastern:
  • Dukkah
    Instead of just adding chopped nuts as an afterthought atop meals, how about using dukkah? Dukkah is a flavorful condiment made from a mixture of chopped nuts (often hazelnuts) and herbs (like coriander and fennel).
  • Tabbouleh
    The heart of this Lebanese salad is the herb parsley used as the greenery rather than any lettuce combination. It’s mixed with tomato, bulgur (cracked wheat), onions, and mint and can be enjoyed alone or stuffed in a pita.
  • Fattoush
    Fattoush is a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and other veggies. However, the added croutons are made from pita, and the dressing incorporates sumac, a tart red berry of the sumac tree.
  • Falafel
    This well-known Middle Eastern recipe may remind you of the American “hush puppy.” Falafel is spiced mashed chickpeas formed into balls and often fried. Try picking up a falafel mix and baking or air-frying your own falafel at home to reduce the fat content.
  • Baba Ghannouj
    This smokey eggplant spread or dip has become more popular over the last few years. You can whip it up yourself or just dig into our premade Private Selection Baba Ghannouj.
  • Tzatziki
    Often enjoyed as a sandwich spread or wrapped into a gyro, tzatziki is frequently compared to ranch dressing. The core ingredients are cucumber, yogurt, and herbs (dill and/or mint), and sometimes complemented with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Mujaddara
    This binge-worthy rice, lentil, caramelized onion, and cumin mix can be enjoyed all by itself or could be the base of any savory dish. It tastes great served cold or hot.

  • Horchata
    This delightful cold, creamy drink is made from ground almonds, tiger nuts, or rice and sweetened with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Chayote
    This unique tropical fruit is pear-shaped and reminds us of a cucumber flavor. Normally eaten fried in dishes, it also is mild enough to add to a favorite smoothie or sliced and layered on your next sandwich.
  • Nopales
    The Opuntia cactus, commonly recognized as the “prickly pear,” is the center of several Mexican dishes. It has a light, slightly tart flavor that resembles green beans and is used in salads, stews, and even mixed with pico de gallo (fresh salsa) towards tacos and burritos.
  • Huevos Rancheros
    This needs to be your next brunch go-to. Huevos Rancheros consists of eggs (or try a plant-based version!) on a tortilla, topped with salsa and cilantro and can be accompanied by refried beans and avocado.

These Middle Eastern and Mexican foods are flavorful and delicious options for your next mealtime. Appreciation of foods from various cuisines can expose us to different cultures, flavors, and foods.

For more meal inspiration, get in touch with one of our dietitians for a private telenutrition appointment to discuss your food goals!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly can help you simplify eating, all while building excitement around good food and freeing up time for all the things that really matter in your life. With a knack for food labeling and regulations, weight management, food intolerances, and plant-based eating, Molly is ready to help you make sense of food again. When not on the clock, Molly can be found hip-hop dancing, cuddling up with her two mischievous cats, playing trombone, or honing in on her food photography skills.