What is Za’atar?

How is this aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend made?
Za'atar is commonly used as a condiment for bread.

Za’atar is the generic name given to an aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend made from dried herbs and spices, salt, and toasted sesame seeds which dates back to ancient civilizations.  Za’atar is commonly made with dried thyme, oregano, and marjoram, and often includes dried sumac as well. Other common ingredients include dried savory, cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds; the exact blend of spices varies by region and by family.

Za’atar is most widely used as a condiment for bread; bread can be dipped into olive oil and then into za’atar or may be baked with a za’atar filling or crust.  Other common uses for za’atar include seasoning meat, topping yogurt or hummus, and steeping the spice mixture to make herbal tea. Za’atar is even eaten as a snack out of one’s hand, in much the same way people in Western cultures eat popcorn or potato chips.

Click here for our 25 best Za’atar recipes.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor.  Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

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