Za'atar in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Za'atar is a mixture of spices used as a condiment with Middle Eastern origins.
Za'atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Some varieties may add savory, cumin, coriander or fennel seed.
Za'atar is used as a seasoning for meats and vegetables. It can be mixed with olive oil to make a spread used as a dip for the sesame bread rings known as ka'ak. Za'atar can also be spread on a dough base and baked as a bread, in which case it is called manaeesh bi zaatar. Za'atar is often sprinkled on hummus or served with olive oil as a spread or dip.
In Lebanon, there is a belief that this particular spice mixture makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za'atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam.