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Cooking with Za’atar

Cooking with Za’atar

Enjoy this popular Israeli seasoning blend with these creative and simple recipes.

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Za’atar is a popular Israeli seasoning blend made from sesame seeds, sumac, oregano and cumin).  It is delicious sprinkled on top of your hummus, labanah or olive oil to dip your bread or pita, but you can do so much more with this in your arsenal. 

Za’atar Carrots

Za'atar Carrots

An Israeli spiced side dish sure to liven up the ho-hum roasted carrots you’ve become accustomed to. 

Serve with our Carrot Top Tahini if desired.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch carrots (colorful carrots are nice here)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, such as Colavita extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: rough chopped carrot tops

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut carrots in half lengthwise and arrange on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle carrots with evoo, za’atar, salt, and pepper. Roast at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender and browned.
  4. Schmear a platter with a good dollop of Carrot-Top Tahini and arrange carrots on the sauce. Garnish with a drizzle of evoo and additional chopped carrot tops.

Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas

Za'atar Roasted Chickpeas

These crispy chickpeas may become your new favorite snack. They are tossed with za'atar and then roasted until chickpeas take on a nutty flavor and texture. Serve as a snack or as part of our Over the Top Hummus Bar

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons za’atar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with evoo, za’atar, garlic powder, cayenne, sumac, and salt.
  3. Spread chickpeas on lined sheet, and bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until browned and crunchy.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Store chickpeas, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Za’atar Spiced Pita Chips

Your new party starter, my Za’atar pita chips are just as good dipped in guacamole as they are in hummus. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pita breads, halves separated and cut into triangular wedges
  • Za’atar, sumac, or paprika for sprinkling
  • Olive oil for drizzling

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to broil. Place in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Sprinkle with za'atar or spice of your choice and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Broil for 4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve warm at a room temperature with hummus.

Sauteed Eggplant

Serve this Sautéed Eggplant with a whole grain as a side, on top of a bowl of hummus, or alongside our Over the Top Hummus Bar

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Heat evoo in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Place eggplant in pan and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until brown on all sides.
  2. Transfer eggplant to a bowl and season with sumac, za’atar, salt, and pepper. Serve with a whole grain as a side or alongside our Over the Top Hummus Bar.

Za'atar Flatbread

If you want to make this easier, you can use prepared pizza dough and then follow the directions from step 5.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110°F to 120°F)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup za’atar
  • 2 tablespoons white and black sesame blend or 1 tablespoon of each

PREPARATION

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the yeast into the warm water and let the mixture stand until a gentle foam blooms across the surface, about 10 minutes. The water must be under 120°F or it will kill the yeast.
  2. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil and add the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
  3. Using the dough hook, stir on low speed until the flour is combined and it forms a dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is still sticky to the touch but stays on the dough hook in one piece.
  4. Lightly oil a large stainless or glass bowl and scoop the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight; the dough should double in volume.
  5. About 2 hours before baking, brush 2 tablespoons of the oil on a heavy baking sheet, place the dough on the sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise again for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
  6. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  7. Press the dough onto the baking sheet, using your hands to stretch and pull it into the corners, forming a flat 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips (this creates little pockets for the oil and za’atar to collect in) and brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Sprinkle the za’atar evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the whole bread with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  9. Let the dough rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes more, uncovered and at room temperature.
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and cooked all the way through in the center. Serve warm cut into wedges if you like with Tahini Sauce.

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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Tzvi, August 14, 2017 11:45 PM

Zaatar Rocks!!

I got introduced to Zaatar when I was learning in Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim. Zaatar goes well with nearly every dish perhaps with the exception of chocolate ice cream!! Whenever I get pizza, I almost always ask for Zaatar. When I speak with Arabs, they are often surprised that an American has even heard of Zaatar. I joke with people that even though my family is about as Ashkenazi as you can get- my taste buds come straight from Damascus??!! We may disagree on issues of religion and geopolitical tensions . Nevertheless, our cousins- the Bnai Yishmael- make some amazing food.

(2) Shmuel, August 13, 2017 7:09 AM

grow your own za'atar!

Nice to see an article on this.
Actually, za'atar in a plant closely related to oregano but native to Israel (Latin name Origanum syriacum). It is easy to grow like oregano (even in a pot) and a slightly different flavor. Delicious!! The za'atar in this article is a mix based on oregano or the real za'atar and a great cooking combo. Same name.

By the way, many think that the 'hyssop' of the Bible is za'atar.

(1) Helen Schwab (Chaiah), August 13, 2017 6:24 AM

Wow! thanks for terrific ideas!

I love Zaatar and look forward to trying these out!

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