All about Za'atar

All about Za'atar

The middle eastern spice blend known as Za'atar is becoming more and  more popular these days. You hear the name everywhere, cooking shows, restaurant menus and spice isles, etc. People by not knowing about this spice are missing out on its  flavor and medicinal properties. So this post is for you, lets talk about Za'atar.

Za'atar is a spice blend and  is generally prepared using a mix of  dried thymeoreganomarjoram, you’ll find that most blends will include salt and  toasted sesame seeds as well.

In the middle east Za'atar is prepared at home therefore many variations of Za'atar exist. Often, recipes were  kept secret, some varieties may add savorycumincoriander or sumac.

 Za'atar is traditionally  eaten with assorted breads and pitas  which are dipped into a condiment made by mixing olive oil and Za'atar into a rich flavorful dip.

Za'atar's flavor depends on the actual blend however the classic Za'tar is earthy, aromatic and tangy  making it incredibly versatile in the kitchen and in cooking.

Za'atar can be sprinkled over hummus, and over almost any type of soft or semi-hard cheese. 


Uses of Za'tar

One of the staples of the middle eastern cuisine is  a plater of Labaneh (a yoghurt spread ) topped with olive oil and lots of Za'atar served with freshly baked pita.

Rolling goat cheese logs in a plate of Za'atar to encrust it is also a great option. Its beautiful green color and white sesame seed will add not only décor to your cheese board but a fantastic variation in flavor.

Za'atar can be  also used as a seasoning for meats and vegetables, recently in a dinner party  I encrusted lamb chops with a layer of sea salt and Za'atar, perfect for compliments lamb.

A chopped salad of cucumber tomatoes and onion can benefit tremendously when sprinkled with Za'atar along with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

How to Make your own Za'atar

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • I normally add Celtic salt to taste and toasted sesame seeds.


  • 1 tea spoon sumac- which adds smoked citrus hint to the mix.

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl add salt slowly and taste until desired saltiness reached.  That’s an “easy, breezy, lemon squeezy” spice blend.

Store in an air tight container and enjoy.

Medicinal use

Since Za'atar is actually a mix of few herbs: 

  •  Thyme and Oregano Health Benefits:

Both are rich in thymol and carvacrol, similar organic compounds called phenols that have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Like gallic acid, they are also effective in suppressing funguses and other microorganisms.

2010 study found that thymol and carvacrol can weaken drug-resistant strains of disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus, making the microbes more susceptible to antibiotics. Moreover, in lab tests, the antioxidants in thyme were even powerful enough to fight off acne-causing bacteria.

A fluid extract of thyme also helped patients with acute bronchitis and phlegmy coughing fits minimize their respiratory symptoms — which, as The Salt notes, echoes Maimonides' prescription of Za'atar to treat colds.

Benefits of Marjoram: 

The herb contains many notable phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health and wellness. The fresh herb has high levels of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, it also contains high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein and zea-xanthin.

 The herb parts contain certain chemical constituents like eugenol sabinene, α -terpinene, cymene, terpinolene, linalool, cis-sabinene hydrate, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol and terpineol. These compounds have been known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.