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Hosting Brunch at Home? See These 5 Decadent Brunch Recipes Inspired by the Mediterranean

These easy brunch recipes are inspired by travels to the Mediterranean, where spreads and flavours are bold and vibrant

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By Bon Appetit US | April 22, 2024 | Recipes

Not feeling pancakes-and-bacon-y? We get it. These dishes are bold, fresh, and made for grazing.

“Last September, I went to Lebanon for the first time”, writes Andy Baraghani, American chef and food writer.

“Out of all the meals I had there (there was a day when I ate more than 30 dishes and could barely walk), it was the first breakast I had—at a place in Beirut whose name translates to "The Professor"—that was the most memorable.

There was silky labneh, eggs awarma (rich scrambled eggs with a little lamb fat and lamb meat), and fatteh (pita and chickpeas topped with yogurt), all served mezze-style. Because I've worked in food for so long, I rarely come across something that catches me off guard, but that fatteh did. The combination of crunchy pita, tart yogurt, and creamy chickpeas was like no breakfast I'd had before. Back in New York, I knew I wanted to recreate it for Healthyish, along with four other dishes, all of which are staples at Lebanese breakfasts. These are some of the easiest, lightest brunch recipes I’ve ever developed, and together they make an impressive spread.“

For the perfect brunch spread, keep ingredients simple and short, but lean on maximising natural flavours. Image via Pexels.

Most of these dishes don’t have more than four or five ingredients, but they come together in beautifully unexpected ways. Crunchy and creamy textures play off each other throughout the menu: crispy pita topped with yogurt and warm-spiced chickpeas, sumac-chile fried eggs, thick and tangy labneh swirled with za'atar oil, a refreshing tomato-cucumber-mint salad, and cardamom-quince jam.

Hosting brunch at home doesn’t have to serve eggs, toast, or pancakes. Consider Mediterranean cuisine designed for communal grazing. Image via Pexels.

So introduce your friends to sumac, quince, and chickpeas that aren't hummus—but can still be scooped up and eaten with a pita. All you need to do is provide a few plates (no utensils required!) and mugs of mint tea or strong Arabic coffee, and let your guests dip in.

Spiced Chickpeas with Crispy Pita, Yogurt, and Brown Butter

Layers of garlic-and-cumin-seasoned chickpeas, brown-butter-toasted nuts, and yogurt blanket a pile of crispy pita chips in this take on traditional fatteh. Making your own pita chips is integral to this recipe. I like Damascus pita as a base. Split them in half for very thin chips, and watch closely. Don’t take them out of the oven before they’re golden brown, but don't let them burn either. You can grate some garlic into your olive oil or add za’atar, sumac, or any dried herbs to spice them up. Just make sure to tuck the chips in an airtight container if you bake them ahead.

Labneh with Za’atar Oil

This labneh is addictive, and it's just Lebanese strained yogurt topped with flavorful za'atar oil. Blooming the spices—i.e., warming them in oil until they're fragrant—brings out a toasty flavor. To dress it up, you could fold in mixed citrus zest and ginger or a mix of roasted, chopped onions (sweet and red) or shallots. Note that za’atar can vary in flavor, from super-puckery and sour to floral (I prefer sour). Try before you buy, and just get a small amount.

Smashed Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber with Lime and Mint

I always want something green in the morning, but I want it to be a bit more playful than wedges of vegetables. This salad uses Persian cucumbers—absolutely necessary for their super-crunchy texture, minimal seeds, and thin skins—smashed cherry tomatoes, and lots of mint. You could also add radishes, radish tops, turnip tops, pickled vegetables, marinated olives, and more herbs for variety.

Sumac-Fried Eggs with Red Chile and Garlic

Eggs are not fussy in Lebanon—they're usually fried with a bit of oil or animal fat until you get crisp edges—but I took a few liberties for these brunch recipes and added garlic and chile instead of just sumac. Utensils are optional here: Eggs, fatteh, salads, and jam are meant to be scooped up with the pita chips.

Quince Jam with Cardamom and Pistachios

Quince is a seasonal Middle Eastern fruit that creates a tart, yet sweet jam. Image via Unsplash.

There's no substitute for quince—a fruit seasonal in fall and winter—so if you can’t find any at your local store, buy a high-quality quince jam from a Middle Eastern market. Quince jam is more fragrant and sweeter than most American jams, and the cardamom in it brings a nice warming element.

See the full recipes originally appearing on Bon Appetit US.