How Herbs are Used in Middle Eastern Cuisine

How Herbs are Used in Middle Eastern Cuisine


Middle Eastern cuisine is known for its rich, aromatic flavors and diverse ingredients. Herbs play a significant role in adding depth and complexity to Middle Eastern dishes. In this blog post, we’ll explore how various herbs are used in Middle Eastern cooking, their culinary applications, and tips for incorporating them into your meals.

Key Takeaways

  • Essential Herbs: Parsley, mint, cilantro, dill, and sumac are staples in Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Culinary Uses: Each herb adds unique flavors to different dishes, from salads and stews to rice and meats.
  • Health Benefits: Many Middle Eastern herbs offer health benefits, including digestive and anti-inflammatory properties.

Essential Herbs in Middle Eastern Cuisine

1. Parsley

  • Culinary Uses: Widely used in tabbouleh, salads, and as a garnish for various dishes.
  • Flavor Profile: Fresh and slightly peppery with a hint of bitterness.

2. Mint

  • Culinary Uses: Adds freshness to salads, yogurt-based dishes, and beverages like tea.
  • Flavor Profile: Cool, sweet, and refreshing.

3. Cilantro

  • Culinary Uses: Used in salads, soups, and as a garnish for meats and rice dishes.
  • Flavor Profile: Fresh and citrusy with a slight peppery taste.

4. Dill

  • Culinary Uses: Often used in yogurt sauces, salads, and fish dishes.
  • Flavor Profile: Slightly sweet and tangy with a hint of anise.

5. Sumac

  • Culinary Uses: Sprinkled over salads, grilled meats, and rice for a tangy flavor.
  • Flavor Profile: Tart and lemony with a hint of tanginess.

Tips for Using Middle Eastern Herbs

  1. Use Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs provide the best flavor and aroma.
  2. Add at the Right Time: Add delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint at the end of cooking to preserve their flavor.
  3. Infuse for Flavor: Use sumac as a finishing spice to add a burst of flavor.
  4. Combine for Balance: Combine herbs like parsley and mint to create a balanced and aromatic flavor profile in your dishes.

Health Benefits of Middle Eastern Herbs

  • Parsley: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and helps support bone health.
  • Mint: Supports digestion and provides a cooling effect.
  • Cilantro: Rich in vitamins and aids in detoxification.
  • Dill: Contains antioxidants and helps improve digestion.
  • Sumac: Rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.


Herbs are an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine, adding depth and complexity to dishes. By understanding how to use parsley, mint, cilantro, dill, and sumac, you can bring authentic Middle Eastern flavors to your kitchen. Enjoy experimenting with these herbs to create delicious and healthy meals.