Za’atar is a condiment made from dried herbs, spices, and toasted seeds. Originally used in Middle Eastern cuisine, it is now common throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean region. It is traditionally consumed with unleavened Arabic bread (pita) that is moistened with olive oil then sprinkled with, or dipped in, za’atar. It can also be mixed with olive oil to form a paste, which is then spread over dough and baked into bread, or tossed with potatoes, which are then roasted. Sprinkle some za’atar onto hummus or avocado toast to add a pop of flavor, which I did for my Mediterranean Avocado Toast recipe.
This recipe was modified from a za’atar recipe in Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry. It takes about 10 minutes to make and will last up to six months.
- Za’atar has a long reputation of being a health food. Apparently, Palestinian parents would tell their children to eat za’atar before school because it would make them smarter. A belief that may have some merit.
- Spices and herbs are some of the most nutrient-dense foods we can consume. They are jam-packed with compounds that have antioxidant and antiseptic properties. There is evidence to suggest that many herbs and spices, including ones used in this recipe, contain compounds that inhibit cancer growth, reduce inflammation, improve blood pressure and improve blood sugar.
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 2 tbsp sumac
- In a small skillet, over medium-low heat, add the cumin seeds and toast until fragrant (2-5 minutes). Set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the sesame seeds and toast until they start to turn golden brown (1-3 minutes). Set aside.
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind the toasted cumin seeds into a coarse powder.
- Add the thyme, oregano, and marjoram to the mortar and continue to grind into a coarse powder.
- Mix in the toasted sesame seeds.
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months.