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Zesty Za'atar

Word of the Week

Za'atar (zah-ter): A combination of spices typically used as a dip throughout the Middle East. It comes from the Arabic word satar, meaning "wild thyme."


. . .and surprise! Today is National Herb and Spices Day. I had to squeeze in a quick post about one of the most delicious, but lesser known, spice blends. You guessed it. Za'atar!

It was created by Maimonides, one of the forefathers of modern medicine, during the 12th century. Za'atar was then used to treat everything from common colds to bronchitis. Modern studies confirm that the spices in za'atar do indeed offer many health benefits.

The benefits of some of the key ingredients include:

  • Sumac: full of flavonoids to boost the immune system

  • Thyme and oregano: full of antioxidants and have antiseptic and fungicide properties

Za'atar can be used as food or as a healing agent. . .pretty cool! So, exactly what is it? The exact mixture varies depending on which region of the Middle East you're getting it from. Check out the photo below for the list of common ingredients. Remember, the amounts vary. It's really all personal preference.

How do you use za'atar once you've mixed up a batch?

  1. Dip a small piece of pita bread into olive oil and then into your za'atar mix. YUM.

  2. Mix some olive oil into some za'atar and spread the mixture over a piece of pita bread. Then toast/lightly bake and enjoy!

  3. Put slices of your favorite cheese on top of a piece of pita bread, sprinkle with za'atar, and toast/bake until the cheese melts. It's a fun, new twist on a grilled cheese sandwich.

The possibilities are endless, but one thing is certain. Anyone who tries za'atar will surely be a fan. Happy mixing!

Until next time. . .


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