Za’atar Spice: A Middle Eastern Seasoning Blend

One of the ways my family has loved trying new local dishes is by visiting our favorite grocery stores’ prepared food sections.  It’s a great visual way to discover new foods.  It’s been especially fun for the kids to try new things based off of what they see.  While just like back in the States, the grocery store doesn’t always have the best version of a particular dish, but it gives you the idea of what said dish is.  However, the exception is the Za’atar Spiced bread.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix (hence the title of this post) that uses a mix of dried herbs and crushed sesame seeds.  While you can easily find the blend in stores, I think it may not be the case when we move-plus I enjoy making my own blends, so I can customize to suit our tastes.

Za’atar is also great sprinkled on fish, chicken or roasted vegetables.  I even know someone who likes it on their popcorn!  However, my favorite way to enjoy it is baked on Lebanese flat bread, drizzled with a little good quality olive oil.


Za’taar Spice
  • 2-4 tablespoons sumac powder*
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano*
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine sesame seeds and salt in a food processor until course to fine, depending on your preference. Mix in the rest of the spices.
  2. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

Sumac is a dried, ground red berry that has a lemony taste and can be found in Middle Eastern markets.
If you don’t have marjoram, you can omit, just adding extra oregano
If you are making this for meat, I suggest adding more Sumac, if you are making this for vegetables or as a topping on bread, I suggest less.

p.s. Thank you for the inquires, comments and emails about where we are headed next.  Because things aren’t final yet (uggg… bureaucracy!) I’m not going to say.  Yes, I’m superstitious (overly so, according to my husband.)  But, we are excited none the less and I’m already feeling anxious about decluttering and going through everything before the movers come.

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Ramona - I need to find sumac. I’m sure this spice blend makes anything taste good. :) I hope you get the location you wish for… I know you’ll make it home no matter where you land. :)

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts - Ok, this is the 3rd recipe this week calling for sumac that interests me! I need to find out where I can get it!

Nami | Just One Cookbook - I heard of Za’atar before on someone’s blog (could be plural) and trying to see how it was used but can’t remember. I didn’t know it’s fairly easy to make. Sumac has been around. I’ve seen in several posts with sumac too (maybe I’m following same blog as Erin!). Good luck decluttering and packing! Sending you good luck for your next location!

Kelly @ Inspired Edibles - A whole new look to your blog Alyssa! You keep inspiring me with your gorgeous updates, photos and delightful recipes. I think it’s brilliant that you are trying local dishes and sharing them with us. I would absolutely love the featured recipe – the spicing is stunning and looks perfect on the flatbread. I must give this one a try!

Beth @ Good to be the Cook - This is a great recipe! I discovered Za’atar in Israel… we tried it by dipping a bagel into it, instead of cream cheese. Try that out, so good! Brought home a huge bag of it for maybe $4.

Nabeela - My first time on your site and I have to say lots of gorgeous recipes and such beautiful photography! Love how you post all kinds of cuisine, and especially enjoying the middle-eastern fare :) following you on pinterest for sure!

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