If you ever have those days where you are craving middle eastern food, but fitting a lengthy meal from a restaurant just won't fit in your busy schedule, don't fret! Here is my unofficial list of quick and convenient Lebanese bites to reach for (and to avoid) during your next Whole Foods pit stop.

5) Seed + Mill's Halva

Tara Ghandour

Out of all the Middle Eastern eats, this was probably my least favorite. First, let me state that I appreciate Seed + Mill's attempt to make this unique and understandably daunting dessert more mainstream. However, in trying to make this distinctive confection more approachable to an American public, they ended up hurting more than helping by creating bizarre flavor combos such as "peanut butter halva", reminiscent of a Reese's gone wrong. Yikes. 

4) Cedar's Taboule Salad

Tara Ghandour

Unfortunately, this was also a hit and a miss for me. Although their parsley to bulgur ratio was on point (biggest pet peeve is when people skimp out on the parsley), the flavor lacked a lil' something. The fresh, zesty tang of homemade taboule was a replaced by a bland and underwhelming taste. 

3) Whole Foods Kitchen Falafel

Tara Ghandour

This is where things get interesting... This falafel tasted like it came straight from Beirut! What I loved most is that the "classic" falafel flavor had all the correct traditional spices, and the "spicy" kept the same seasoning foundation with just a touch of extra heat. YUM!

2) Roots Hummus

Sally Bornbusch

Listen world, even though I know my teta (grandma) would hit me with a skarbeeneh (slipper) if she ever found out, I have a confession to make: I actually LIKE what Americans have done with hummus! Hear me out. While I would never put dessert hummus near my mouth (sugar + chickpeas? Why though?), I have enough humility to admit that I have tried, and really enjoyed, savory spins of this dish. When I am in my college dorm room listening to Fairuz and feeling homesick, Roots hummus and a big ol' spoon hit the spot. 

1) Barazek from the Whole Foods Cookie Bar

Tara Ghandour

I am SHOOKETH. When I go to Whole Foods, my first instinct is always to dart to the cookie bar and gawk at the heavenly biscottis and whoopie pies. Although I had seen the above cookies before, I had never bothered to try them because my Lebanese ego presumed that these "Sesame Cookies", as they are labeled, could never compare to the mouth-watering honey-pistachio Barazek from the most famous bakery back home. I figured I would buy a whole bag of cookies, try a few for my article, and then leave the rest for my family. I tried one... and then proceeded to inhale the whole bag faster than you can say sahten (bon appetit). Enough said. 

So, there you have it, folks! I hope this list of quick and easy to-go Whole Foods eats will satisfy your Middle Eastern craving during a hectic day. But, remember: nothing beats finding a family-owned restaurant, and taking time out of your day to enjoy bountiful home-cooked Lebanese deliciousness, one mezzeat a time...