The combination of bread and cheese makes a wonderfully savory breakfast that can be found throughout the Middle East, but it’s not like the bread and cheese you may be thinking of.
When I say “bread and cheese” you may picture a baguette and some Brie, French-style, or an English muffin with a melted slice of cheddar. But what I’m talking about is a light, refreshing, dare I say “healthy” bread and cheese combo.
In countries such as Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, on the breakfast table you’ll find some version of flat bread with a soft, fresh, mild cheese that has only been fermented for a short time, such as farmer’s cheese, feta, labneh (a Middle Eastern soft cheese made from yogurt), Spanish queso blanco or Mexican queso fresco. You’ll also find green herbs. With these ingredients, you’re meant to make a rustic sandwich.
It may sound strange, but the cheese gives you protein, the bread gives you some carbs for energy, and as for the herbs, well, everyone knows that greens are good for you. This breakfast won’t slow you down with a carb overload, it’s not fattening, and there’s no sugar to make your blood level crash. Perhaps the best part is that there is absolutely no cooking involved.
Recipe: Flatbread and Fresh Cheese Breakfast
To make flatbread with cheese, start with a few pieces of pita bread. You’ll also need a small amount of fresh cheese. Gather plenty of fresh herbs such as scallions, cilantro, parsley, mint and dill. Now, tear the bread in half or in quarters, slice the cheese, and give the herbs a quick rinse if needed. Drizzle your ingredients with a little olive oil, and roll everything up in a piece of bread.
Louisa Shafia is a cook with a passion for healthy eating. She recently penned Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly advice on food. To watch her cooking videos, see her recipes, and find out about her cooking classes, go to lucidfood.com.