Za’atar (pronounced zah-tar) is a variety of wild thyme, "thymbra spicata", with long green leaves and thyme distinctively sharp thyme-like flavor. It is native to the Levantine Region and cannot be cultivated. It is used to make the popular Za’atar blend (of the same name, and also known as Zoubaeh), used in Levantine/ Middle Eastern cuisine, and more. The traditional Lebanese za’atar mix is made with the sun-dried za’atar herb, salt, toasted sesame seeds and sumac spice. It is a staple in the Middle Eastern pantry.
Za’atar may be one of the most versatile condiments and spices. It is a multi-purpose blend that is tangy, savory, with an after bite kick. It is perfect for adding to dips, including labne (a thick cream made from yogurt), hummus, baba gannoj, chickpeas, eggs, adding to roasted and sautéed vegetables, as a rub for chicken, meat, and fish, in salad dressings and more.
The most popular use is mixed with olive oil and as a topping for the traditional Middle Eastern baked bread, mankoushe (pronounced man-ou-sheh).
In our household, Za'atar is used on a weekly if not daily basis. Browse some of our favorite Za'atar recipes below- we will continue to review and add recipe submissions.