What A Typical Breakfast Looks Like In Iran

Throughout the world, breakfast usually features lighter fare, and it often pairs with a caffeinated beverage to help get the day jump-started. In countries where bread is a staple food, some sort of bread is often part of the first meal. Iran is one such nation, and while rice is a popular part of most meals, bread is the clear star of the national morning show.  

In Iran, bread (nān) is an essential part of breakfast, and several types of flatbread are popular, ranging from thick and chewy to thin and crispy. The bread is typically served with cheese and a range of small nibbles. The cheese served at breakfast is almost always feta, and the little extras are typically sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, nuts, and small bits of fruit. 

Iranians were topping their toast with cheese and vegetables way before ricotta or avocado toast became a thing, and one of the best-known ways to serve Persian bread in the morning is with feta cheese and sabzi, a mix of fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, and green onions. The combination is known as noon panir sabzi, and it's so common that the term is practically synonymous with Iranian breakfast.

Some like it hot (or sweet)

Iranian breakfasts provide options for those with a sweet tooth, too. Bread with jam is a popular pick. The often-homemade jams include favorite flavors like sour cherry and fig, as well as less-common options like carrot and rose petal. Iranians also make a thickened cream called sarsheer, which has a touch of sweetness to it and is a staple breakfast spread for their bread.

While most Iranian breakfasts are on the simple side, there are options for those looking for something hot and substantial. Iranians enjoy eggs in the morning, and Persian omelets run the gamut, though tomato paste is a favorite ingredient. Many hot Iranian breakfasts evoke the stews with rice that are typical of Iranian meals later in the day. A porridge called halim, which combines a savory cream of wheat with ground lamb, beef, or turkey is a popular choice. Another protein-forward breakfast is a hearty lentil stew known as adasiwhich is flavored with onions and potatoes. While rice is more common in Iran than pasta, the locals also make a hot noodle soup with beans and herbs, referred to as ash reshteh. Perhaps the most unusual of all Iranian breakfast foods is a sheep's head soup called kaleh pache, which is one of the nation's beloved breakfasts. 

Last but not least, there is the morning nectar of the gods with which to wash it down: chai (tea). The Middle East is home to a strong tea-drinking culture, and tea is almost always part of the breakfast experience in Iran, sweetened but without milk. Because the next-best part of waking up is a little caffeine in your cup.