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Za'atar Recipe

Za'atar Recipe

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Makes about 1/4 cup Servings


  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 tablespoon sumac

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine chopped fresh oregano, sumac, ground cumin, and sesame seeds. Stir in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Recipe by Silvena Rowe


Photos by Jason Lowe

Reviews Section

Za’atar Recipes

Za’atar (pronounced zah-tar) is a variety of wild thyme, "thymbra spicata", with long green leaves and thyme distinctively sharp thyme-like flavor. It is native to the Levantine Region and cannot be cultivated. It is used to make the popular Za’atar blend (of the same name, and also known as Zoubaeh), used in Levantine/ Middle Eastern cuisine, and more. The traditional Lebanese za’atar mix is made with the sun-dried za’atar herb, salt, toasted sesame seeds and sumac spice. It is a staple in the Middle Eastern pantry.

Learn more about Za'atar


Za’atar may be one of the most versatile condiments and spices. It is a multi-purpose blend that is tangy, savory, with an after bite kick. It is perfect for adding to dips, including labne (a thick cream made from yogurt), hummus, baba gannoj, chickpeas, eggs, adding to roasted and sautéed vegetables, as a rub for chicken, meat, and fish, in salad dressings and more.

The most popular use is mixed with olive oil and as a topping for the traditional Middle Eastern baked bread, mankoushe (pronounced man-ou-sheh).

In our household, Za'atar is used on a weekly if not daily basis. Browse some of our favorite Za'atar recipes below- we will continue to review and add recipe submissions.

The Za’atar Recipe How-To

The Ingredients:

  • Oregano (fresh or dried)
  • Sumac spice
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Optional: dried thyme

First, either dry the fresh oregano according to the instructions above. Otherwise, you can use dried oregano and continue, as follows.

Mixing the za’atar spices:

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan (don’t add oil) over medium heat. Stir constantly so the seeds don’t burn on one side. It’s enough to toast them for about 4-5 minutes. Let the sesame seeds cool down before mixing the spice blend.

You can stir them in a bowl or directly in the jar you plan to store them in.

Cover the jar and store in your cupboard or another cool dry place. You can also keep it in the fridge.

The Lebanese zaatar spice mix keeps for 6 months or even longer.

Za’atar Recipe Ingredients

No two za’atar recipes are the same – the exact ingredients and ratios vary throughout the Middle East and the world. Often, it includes toasted sesame seeds, ground sumac, salt, and dried herbs such as dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and…za’atar! I keep my recipe simple with these 5 ingredients:

  • Fresh thyme – While za’atar is traditionally made with dried herbs, I love the unique flavor of the fresh thyme here. If you don’t have any on hand, or if you want your spice blend to keep for longer, feel free to use dried thyme in its place.
  • Sesame seeds – They add a slight crunch and a wonderful nuttiness. For a richer flavor, toast your sesame seeds before making za’atar.
  • Sumac – If you’ve never tasted this bright red spice before, you’re in for a treat. Popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, sumac has a tart, lemony flavor that gives this za’atar a delicious sour kick. If you can’t find sumac at your grocery store, look for it in a Middle Eastern market, a spice store, or online.
  • Sea salt – To make the fresh, nutty, and tart flavors pop!
  • Ground cumin – It’s not a traditional za’atar ingredient, but it adds a little extra complexity to this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to skip it! The spice blend tastes great with or without it.

Just mix it all together, and enjoy! If you’d like your spice mix finer, crush everything in a mortar and pestle. Made with fresh thyme, it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you use dried thyme, it will keep at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Za'atar Seasoning Recipe

The herbs used in za'atar vary depending on who's making it, so feel free to try out different herbs and spices each time you whip up a batch. This basic blend makes a half-cup of seasoning and provides a solid base recipe. For the best flavor, use whole cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds. Toast them in a dry skillet until fragrant, and then grind them.

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons za'atar (or 2 teaspoons each dried thyme and sesame seeds)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Two 12-ounce pork tenderloins, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inches thick and pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

In a medium bowl, combine the za'atar with the oil and a generous pinch of salt. Add the pork, turn to coat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning frequently, until blackened transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly. Peel and seed the chiles cut into thin strips.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pork marinade. Add the pork and cook over high heat, turning once, until white throughout and lightly browned, 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter.

Add any remaining marinade oil to the skillet. Add the onion and poblano and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and toss. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the tomatoes are just softened, 4 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve.

Hang thyme or lemon thyme in small bunches in a cool, dry place or inside a paper bag, then allow to dry for two to three weeks. When the leaves are completely dry, strip them from each hardy stem. Crush to release the oils, and crumble by hand or in a spice grinder.

Combine with all the other ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust ingredient proportions to your liking. Store in a well-sealed spice jar or plastic bag in a cool, dry place. Keeps for several months.

9 Zaɺtar Recipes That Aren't Intimidating

If there&rsquos one secret weapon we recommend having in your spice arsenal, it&rsquos za&rsquoatar. But the Middle Eastern flavor can&rsquot be credited to one single spice it&rsquos actually a blend (hence its super savory flavor). A mixture of toasted sesame seeds, dried oregano and marjoram (or thyme), and sumac, za&rsquoatar pairs perfectly with ingredients as simple as eggs and as rich as shakshuka and pizza. Whether a za&rsquoatar devotee or newbie, these nine recipes are the perfect way to make the most of the potent spice.

1. Za&rsquoatar Roasted Cauliflower With Dates, Pine Nuts, and Thyme

Great as a side or a main, this cauliflower salad is sure to please. The combination of dried and fresh herbs give the veggie-based dish a fresh bite, while the dates and pine nuts give it plenty of depth. We love doubling the recipe and using leftovers in salads, mixing it with protein (like grilled chicken), and putting a poached egg on it for brekky.

2. Za&rsquoatar Roasted Chicken Breast

The secret to juicy chicken breasts: lots o&rsquo marinade (and lots o&rsquo time marinating). This Ottolenghi-inspired recipe uses a citrus- and spice-loaded marinade to make the chicken moist and flavorful as can be. Pair with an grilled eggplant or on a bed of arugula. And for extra juiciness, baste the chicken while it roasts.

3. Israeli Power Salad With Za&rsquoatar Roasted Sweet Potatoes

As much as we love salads, it can be difficult to find one that actually keeps us full. This power salad, however, keeps us satisfied until dinner (especially when we add protein, like tofu or chicken). Made with fiber-rich chickpeas and sweet potato and punched up with lemon, tahini, red cabbage, green onions, cucumber, parsley, and walnuts, it&rsquos the perfect amount of crunchy, savory, and fresh (and did we mention filling?).

4. Za&rsquoatar Pizza With Dukkah Labneh and Purple Onions

Can&rsquot decide between a pita sandwich and pizza? We say skip delivery altogether and opt for this homemade, cheese-free spin on the doughy favorite. Keeping things simple with a labneh, radish, and onion topping is delish, but throwing extra veggies like kalamata olives, roasted red pepper, or artichoke on top could never hurt. The more toppings, the merrier?

5. Green Tomatillo Shakshuka

Shakshuka, meet SHREK-shuka. This recipe uses green tomatillos instead of traditional red tomatoes, giving the dish extra tang and an extra juice. For the richest flavor, broil the tomatoes, peppers, and onions blend with herbs add the mixture to the skillet and then drop in the eggs. Serve with warm sourdough or za&rsquoatar-spiced pita bread.

6. Summer Panzanella Salad With Za&rsquoatar Croutons

Panzanella salads have a little bit of everything. This recipe gets sweetness from peach, crunch from grilled corn and spelt croutons, richness from avocado, and freshness from chopped basil. Perfect for a barbeque or a light dinner (serve with orange wine), and even better as leftovers, this salad is the gift that keeps on giving. (Psst&hellip we suggest storing the extra croutons separately from the fruit, veg, and dressing to keep them from getting soggy.)

7. Twice Baked Delicata Squash With Crispy Za&rsquoatar Roasted Chickpeas

Stuffed squash is one of our favorite go-to dinners. But sometimes it can be a little heavy. This recipe keeps things light by using delicata squash (a smaller, less meaty squash) and keeping the add-ins simple with chickpeas and a drizzle of tahini. If you&rsquore craving greens, toss a handful of arugula on top or mix sautéed spinach into the squash meat before re-stuffing.

8. Za&rsquoatar Roasted Eggplant

Simple and fresh, this eggplant dinner is the perfect dish to whip up when you&rsquore craving something healthy yet hearty. Eggplant roasts with za&rsquoatar and olive oil&mdashpiercing the eggplant with a knife before roasting helps them soak up the flavor&mdashand is placed on a warm bed of grains and sprinkled with a fresh tomato and olive salad. The best part? The final drizzle of tahini (or tzatziki).

9. Spring Pea Salad With Walnuts and Za&rsquoatar Yogurt

Mayo, begone. This creamy salad uses Greek yogurt as dressing, along with sea salt, garlic, and za&rsquoatar, making it fresher and lighter than most cream-based salads. Another pro move: using fresh peas instead of frozen, which provide a much nicer crunch&mdashand, of course, flavor. Average pea salad? Definitely not. Best pea salad? Quite possibly.


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