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Uses for Za'atar?

Pursuant to my never ending quest for new flavors, I did what I usually do - picked up a spice that I never heard of before I knew how to use it. I was in a Persian market and I picked up a sort of large (1 - 1.5 cups) jar of Za-atar. I really don't know how it is used. Is it something you put on or in other food? Any recipes to use it? (not recipes to make it, b/c I came across several of those). Thanks!

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  1. It's good on hummus or pita. It's yummy. Just sprinkle it all over.

    1. Love it on hummus and pita too. Sprinkle it over sauteed onion when making a rice pilaf or over cooked rice even. It's great on grilled meat and incorporated into meatballs.
      Would be good in salad dressing, or simply sprinkled over cucumbers in a "greek" salad.

      1. So yummy on pita and then dipped into hummus- or with some mild cheese melted on top... oh so good! (try different middle eastern cheese)

        1. I cut up new potatoes of all colors, toss in olive oil,salt , pepper, and zatar, maybe a few sesame seeds. Then I raost them in a 375 degree oven till they get lovely and crisp. A nice side dish with lamb or beef, or even on top of a mediterranian salad with tahini dressing.

          1. its good with olive oil as a bread dip. you can either serve warm bread with olive oil with za'atar in it, or put out a separate bowl of za'atar to sprinkle on the oil dipped bread.

            its also really nice on scrambled eggs, or on/with various cheeses, goat chevre, feta, etc.

            1. Good with olive oil on toasted pita

              I've also dredged fish fillets in it.

              1. It's great on chevre or lebne as a spread on bread or toast. I've also used it on pizza and included it in various recipes for chicken and lamb. Use it with a heavy hand, it isn't very strong in flavor.

                1. I like to dredge 1/2 chickens in it and roast them.

                  Zataar is traditionally sprinkled liberally on a oiled pita and toasted.

                  1. It's also v. nice in a tomato/feta salad - lots of olive oil.

                    1. If you go to a Persian restaurant it's sometimes sitting as a condiment in a big glass shaker on the table, like pepper flakes in an Italian restaurant. I would shake it on anything that takes your fancy. Za'atar on flatbread is also great. I had a Middle Eastern style pizza from a little hole in the wall joint in NYC that heavily featured za'atar. Good stuff.

                        1. re: Candy

                          I've never seen recipes for za-atar, like in fattoush (which I love love love). It sounds like it is used like sumac. They look different (I have both).

                          1. re: xnyorkr

                            I don't know where I got the recipe that called for it in Fattoush but it is an excellent addition

                            1. re: xnyorkr

                              za'atar is a blend of different spices.

                              1. re: Diana

                                Yeah I know that. Just the recipe I used that called for it was really really good.

                          2. >Pursuant to my never ending quest for new flavors, I did what I usually do - picked up a >spice that I never heard of before I knew how to use it.

                            <LOL> I did the same thing, and found that it was delicious sprinkled into olive oil as a bread dip, and also as a seasoning for roasted/baked chicken.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Olivia

                              I am not a big bread eater, or dipper. I hope I can use it some other way.

                            2. Za'atar is actually a blend of Wild Thyme, sesame seeds and sometimes sumac. It's found all over the Middle East. As a matter of fact, it's one of the few things every one in the Middle East has in common. Hmmmm. Perhaps we could use Za'Taar as a starting point....

                              1. I've used it to make savoury palmiers. You sprinkle it between the layers of puff pastry.

                                You can roll logs of goat cheese in it or add it to bread crumbs for a crispy coating.

                                Once, I had a poached egg on rice for dinner, and I sprinkled zaatar on top. Simple, but darn good.

                                1. I first bought za'atar in order to make this recipe from Todd English's Figs Table cookbook, and boy was it worth it!
                                  Roasted Carrot and Feta salad
                                  Cut up a bunch of carrots into matchsticks (I used baby carrots because I had a bag sitting around, cut each one lengthwise into quarters or smaller). Toss with a little olive oil and s&p and roast at 425 until they are starting to brown (about 30 minutes depending on size - check them to make sure they don't become too soft). Let the carrots cool a little, then toss with about a tablespoon of za'tar and crumbled feta cheese (a nice crumbly briny feta, like Bulgarian). Y'all, I don't even like carrots but I could not stop eating this. The sweet carrots, salty feta and slightly sour taste of the za'tar . . . . mmm.

                                  I've also heard it's good on roasted cauliflower, I'm trying that next.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: dubedo

                                    That sounds right up my alley. Wow. I may have to make a Kalustyan's run tonight.

                                    1. roast cut sweet potatoes or butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and zaatar, and an extra pinch of sesame seeds- wonderful! My family never tires of these as side dishes

                                      1. You can sprinkle it on popcorn too

                                        1. I love za'atar sprinkled on the bread crumbs in the zuni bread crumb crusted fried eggs http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35598...

                                          1. Thanks for all of the great ideas! I also just picked up some Za'atar on a whim, and wasn't quite sure what to do with it...glad I checked here!

                                            1. I sauteed some zucchini, onion, and pepper in olive oil the other day and I added za'atar for seasoning. Delicious!

                                              1. I added it to panko breadcrumbs which i used to coat skate fish. Love the popcorn idea!

                                                1. Such Za'atar lovers, count me in!

                                                  As a rub on pork tenderloin grilled-rub with olive oil, coat with spice and grill!
                                                  Mash into butter for a compound you can use on everything
                                                  Into popovers? Add a tsp to the batter, great flavor
                                                  Added to stuffing mixtures in fish or chicken breast recipes
                                                  But my fav is to swirl a tsp into Greek yogurt and top on cucumber and tomato salad.

                                                    1. I discovered a Persian market last week in LA. One of the other customers told me how much she loved sautéed celery. She said to saute it with mint leaves and Italian parsley. I used olive oil of course and za'atar which I had gotten there. That's what started off the conversation.

                                                      Turned out the za'atar was old with little taste so I added some thyme and sumac and roasted sesame seeds to the pan. I sauteed it and then aded a bit of water and a lid to cook it a bit more. Next time I'll hold back on the leaves until the celery is partly cooked. I used a sprinkle of sea salt too. I should mention I started with the za'atar in the oil before the vegetable.

                                                      I'll leave it to you to assemble that story into a recipe timeline. And because I'm me.. I added some toasted nori at the end, adding depth.

                                                      As an aside: Mint goes bad in the frig. The mint I kept in a waterglass (after stripping off the lower leaves) is perfect. After a week it's beginning to show roots. I'm going to grow my own ofter this.

                                                      1. It's delicious on broiled salmon. Rub with a little olive oil, lightly sprinkle sea salt, heavily spice with za'atar. Amazing. I also make a whole wheat challah sometimes and will sprinkle za'atar over the top after the egg wash, just before putting in the oven. Bring out the whole wheat flavor in a completely different way.

                                                        And of course, as others have recommended, it's a wonderful way to season rice/quinoa/other grain pilafs or roasted potatoes.

                                                        1. It is wonderful on scrambled eggs. Mix oil and zaa'tar and spoon over scrambled eggs in pita bread or a tortilla.

                                                          1. Here's a great recipe I got from a Turkish Restaurant:

                                                            Zatar Lemon Chicken: 8 pieces of skinless boneless chicken (I like thighs); 5-8 green onions; 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, teaspoons each of salt and black pepper and 2 to 4 tablespoons of za'tar; Mix it all up in and plastic bag and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours. You can grill it with green onions and baste with the marinade.

                                                            Or just lay out the green onions on a baking sheet and ;put the chicken on top of it and put it a preheated 400 degree oven. In 10 minutes turn it down to 300 degrees. In 10 more minutes it's done. It makes a sauce that I spoon over pilaf or couscous. I serve with a traditional Turkish Carrot and Cabbage Salad. YUm!