Za’atar is one of my favorite mixtures of spices and herbs, originating from the Middle East and North Africa. It is commonly prepared using dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, along with toasted sesame seeds, salt, sumac or other spices as variations. The sweet yet tart taste of sumac, the warmth of the herbs, and the rich earthiness added by the toasted sesame create an intriguing and exotic blend.
Traditionally, Za’atar is combined with olive oil as a dip or spread for pitas, or used as a seasoning for roasting, grilling or stewing meats or vegetables. It can also be used as a snack. Give it a try by sprinkling it onto hummus or on a bagel with cream cheese for a savory and zesty taste! Za’atar is available to purchase online if you do not have time to make your own.
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dry-roast white sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over an extremely low heat for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Place toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, marjoram into a mortar and crush the spice mixture with a pestle to your preferred consistency.
- Add sumac, ground cumin, and salt to the spice mixture, mix well, and transfer to an air-tight container away from humidity and heat. It will keep for up to six months.
Take a look at the simple yet unique Zaatar Crusted Salmon recipe to impress yourself or your guest!