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Za’atar is listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. She says that the foods she lists in her book are the tastes that every food lover should experience or dream about. I am 25 foods in, and Za’atar is food #26!
What is Za’atar?
Za’atar is both an herb, as well as a spice mix. As an herb, it is native to the Middle East and the scientific name is Origanum syriacum. It is also the same as the biblical hyssop.
As a spice mix, the mix can vary depending upon what country it is from, according to flavor preference. However, it generally contains thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes sumac.
Take the time to smell this highly aromatic spice, and get a sense of the nutty and earthy aroma it has.
The Za’atar Spices I Have Tried
I’ve had the opportunity to sample 2 types of Za’atar so far. One is from a spice kit that my sister gave me, Chef’s Daughter World Traveler Gift Collection Travel Spice Kit – 12 Artisan Spice Blends. This one contained Lebanese Za’atar, and this particular mix included sumac. Sumac is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, and has a tart and citrusy flavor.
The second type I tried, was one I purchased from my local grocery store, by McCormick. This organic seasoning contained thyme and oregano, sesame seed, and lemon peel, and salt…no sumac.
Other Za’atar Options
Browsing around on Amazon, I can see there are quite a few varieties to choose from, and I have zeroed in on one called USimplySeason Za’atar Spice which I’d love to try! This one contains sumac, which I absolutely love.
Are you interested in making your own Za’atar spice blend? I found a recipe for Lebanese Za’atar Spice Blend from the blog Kevin is Cooking which looks amazing and I’ll have to give that a try sometime soon!
How To Use Za’atar Middle Eastern Spice
Za’atar is great for bread dipping and mixing into hummus. You can also add to flat breads and vegetables, and also great as a rub for meats or even to season seafood!
So far, I have added it to my hummus and eaten pita with it (scrumptious!). This is great as a snack and I will say PERFECT FOR BREAKFAST AS WELL!!
I have also tried it with tilapia, which was superb. The recipe for this is Lebanese Za’atar Spiced Tilapia.
I have really enjoyed getting to play around with this Za’atar Middle Eastern spice! In the future I’ll use it as a rub for lamb, which is recommended by Mimi Sheraton in her book.
1,000 Foods to Eat Project
Please follow along with me on this quest to try the 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, from the book by Mimi Sheraton! Join me in this journey and discover new foods, experiences, and cuisines which I hope will add inspiration, fun, and joy to your life! Visit the 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page to view a list of the foods tried so far.
Za’atar is #26 on my list of foods to try. 26 down, 974 to go!
If you’d like to follow along and be a part of the 1,000 Foods Project, please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It’s an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here. 🙂
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or suggestions I would be honored if you would share them below!