An overhead photo of various Arabic breakfast dishes including falafel with tahini sauce, scrambled eggs, ful mudammas, hummus, halloumi cheese and olives.

Arabic Breakfast

arabic Breakfast

Middle Eastern Brekkie: Your New Favorite Meal

Before we get started, I just have to say: one of the best things about traveling and exploring a new culture is tasting their food. I love to eat. I mean, it’s a basic human need, so my take on it is that we might as well eat tasty things if we have to eat anyway, right? So I’m always game for trying new things… maybe not to the extent of the Andrew Zimmern’s of the world, but I like to think I have a pretty adventurous palate.

Infographic describing basic arabic breakfast items and inset pictures of pita bread, feta cheese and fava beans.

When I was recently in Egypt, I lived for breakfast. Like, I would dream about the dairy products, fantasize about the pillowy soft and warm basket of pita, and imagine the intensely spiced eggs. Sigh. I’m literally drooling as I type this, it’s such a vivid memory.

Upon arrival back home, I became single-minded in my quest to duplicate a Middle Eastern Morning Feast. Luckily, we have some great Arabic grocery stores nearby, but I’ve got some ideas for you if that is not something you have. Also, since returning home, I’m off my “eat whatever anyone puts in front of me” diet that I implement when traveling and am back to my keto lifestyle. Read on to see the different versions, if you’re a “Carbovoire” or you’re looking for something more low-carb/ keto-friendly.

Multiple breakfast dishes on a table, including pita bread, fried eggs, falafel, pastries, fava beans and sauces in small dishes.

For those of us used to downing a protein shake on the run for breakfast, you may be thinking, that’s a lot of food! It is! And we ate heartily! Why? Well, in many Arabic countries, breakfast is not a light meal taken bright and early. We typically ate between 10-11:00 AM. Upon waking, I had a cup of coffee and maybe a date or two to hold me over until breakfast. In the afternoons, we might have a snack, but usually we just ended up having a late lunch/early dinner and called it good for meals in a day. If you’re a 3 squares a day kind of person, it can be a little difficult (there was one afternoon where I had low blood sugar and had to seek out a snack to come back to earth), but once adjusted and armed with some munchies to keep with you, it can be a refreshing change.

The Spread


  • Turkish black tea is a favorite, but you’ll also find many who like English breakfast or Earl Grey. Tea is usually brewed with loose tea leaves and served in clear glass cups or mugs. You may be offered fresh mint leaves and sugar - I highly recommend the mint! Just tuck a sprig in your glass before pouring for a delicious variation! Check out this brand from Amazon for authentic taste!
  • Keto-At-Home Version: Easy! Just skip the sugar or sub in your favorite no calorie sweetener.


  • It’s pita bread all day long in Egypt, but not what you find in American grocery stores. Instead, Egyptian pita is most often made from whole wheat and is very thin. It has a wonderful nutty taste and is served warm.
  • Keto-At-Home Version: I like to use Zero Carb Tortillas as a pita stand-in. You can cut them into triangles and either warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds if you like them soft, or back them in the over. I bake them using the Air Fry setting (or you could use 400 degrees in a conventional oven) for 5-8 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn and turn them halfway through for extra crispiness.
Photo of a white plate with 2 seeded bread sticks and a small cup of olives as well as a small cup of oil.
Photograph of 3 different cheeses in containers with small bowls of the same cheeses in front of the packages.

Cheese PLEASE!

  • I could probably write an entire post on cheese alone because I adore cheese. My favorite cheese in Egypt was a creamy, white cheese that was served in a dish as a spread. It was topped with olive oil and spices and I could eat it with a spoon (you’re encouraged to use bread, LOL). It was like feta and cream cheese had a delicious cheesy baby.
  • In addition to cheese, you often find a type of yogurt at the Arabic breakfast table called Labneh. It’s sometimes referred to as yogurt cheese, kefir cheese, just “cheese” or just “yogurt”. They’re basically all the same, but consistencies can vary from brand to brand. It makes Greek yogurt seem like a poor relation, even though it’s made with the same ingredients. It’s thick, and the creamiest tasting yogurt you will ever put in your mouth. You can find it at a lot of grocery stores nowadays if you don’t have an Arabic market nearby. Here’s a brand I like that Amazon carries: Bahcivan (it’s Turkish). Honestly, if you use cream cheese on anything, consider switching it up to labneh - it’s just as creamy and spreads like a dream.

Keto-At-Home Version: Good news! The cheeses and labneh have about 1 gram of carbs per serving, so as long as you use keto-friendly dippers, you’ll be in good shape. My dipping instruments of choice are toasted keto tortillas or bread and sliced cucumber.


  • Eggs: Fry. Your. Eggs. In. Ghee. (Mic drop) I’m serious, it’s a game changer. We often had over easy eggs fried in ghee, topped with salt, pepper, (ASK DINA), and cinnamon (yes! cinnamon!). I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but it is such a nice change-up when in savory dishes. I encourage you to try a sprinkle!
  • Keto-At-Home Version: More good news! If you’ve been doing keto, you know eggs are a staple. This is already made for us!
  • Budget Tip: Find an Arabic or Indian grocery when you want to buy ghee. Often, you can get large quantities for much less than you would find online or at an American grocery store. Another budget-friendly version: Aldi carries ghee, too!
A photo of a plate of fried eggs with spices.  Under the photo is the text "Eggs" in black against a blue background.
Photograph of a pot of jam and a spoon against a blue background with text that reads "Fruit"
Photograph of slices of cucumber and slices of tomato against a blue background with text in the middle that reads "Veggies"

Fruits & Veggies

  • Fruits and/or Fruit Spreads: Fruit availability is seasonal in Egypt… so when you get the fruit, it is fresh and ripe and delicious. Try whatever is in season and enjoy! Additionally, you can find every fruit spread under the sun at grocery stores there. We had a Turkish apricot jam that was absolutely heavenly.
  • Keto-At-Home Version: Whomp, whomp. Fruits are not the most keto-friendly, as we know. When I really want some fruit, at home I stick to berries for the most part. If you really want jam or preserves, try some of the lower carb chia versions; they are perfect when you need some fruit in your life.
  • Veggies: Breakfast was often accompanied with amazing produce. We had the tastiest cucumbers and tomato slices, dusted with a little salt and pepper. I don’t know what it is about the veggies there, but they just taste better than our watered down versions stateside.
  • Keto-At-Home Version: You guessed it - good news! I would indulge in a half of a pita each day, and then switch to cucumber slices. Cucumber is a keto dieter’s best crunchy friend, am I right?!?

Fava Beans

  • Foule or Ful Mudammas: Beans for breakfast?!? What! Yes. It’s good, I swear. It’s a cheap, filling meal for many people headed to jobs that require a lot of energy, which is why it’s so popular. It’s topped with a garlicky green sauce and silky olive oil. I like to dip pita in it or top it with an egg and eat it with a spoon. It’s not something easy to find in an American grocery store, but you will find it in every Arabic grocery, already prepared in cans (or online here).
  • Keto-At-Home Version: This is a once-in-a-while dish for me when I’m home. Because of the high fiber content of fava beans, some of the carbs are canceled out. Half a cup has about 17 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber. It also has 9 grams of protein, so it’s a pretty well-rounded dish.
Photograph of a bowl of fava beans against a blue background with text that reads "Ful/Foule"

What’s your favorite country to eat breakfast in? Or what's your favorite breakfast dish? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for Other Delicious ideas?

Check out this awesome Swiss-inspired recipe HERE!

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