Feast from the Middle East

Harissa, cardamom and za’atar have been heating up on U.S. restaurant menus, and Middle Eastern ingredients such as pistachios, eggplant, mint and tahini are gaining steam.

“Hummus is now well recognized in the mainstream, and consumers seem to want to get more into specific regions, understand more about ingredients and the specific cuisines of places like Morocco, Israel and Lebanon,” Ms. Purcell said.


Silk Road Soda makes a line of sparkling soft drinks inspired by a grandmother’s Persian recipe. Touting the tagline “Eastern inspired, Western desired,” the low-calorie beverages feature such flavors as cucumber with mint, pomegranate with mint, pear with mint and ginger with mint.


Pajama Sweets produces pistachio brittle, a Persian sweet seasoned with saffron and cardamom. The brand was launched by the Dallas-based son of Iranian immigrants.


Saffron also stars in new Afghan spice blends from Rumi Spice, which describes its line of products as “an old-world spice in a new world form.”