Za’atar adds a warm and tangy zip to many dishes. The name Za’atar refers to both a wild oregano plant and a mixture of herbs that varies regionally. Almost all mixtures start with oregano, thyme and marjoram and variations are created by adding sesame seeds, caraway seeds, sumac or other dried herbs like hyssop. In some families the exact recipe was kept secret and handed down from mother to daughter. Its history can be traced back to pre-biblical times and it is a common ingredient in many Middle Eastern recipes today as it was long ago.
Because sumac grows voraciously in our area it was an obvious choice to include in our mixture. In addition to sumac, our recipe uses thyme, marjoram and oregano, all grown at Lucky Dog. It also uses roasted sesame seed and sea salt that we source responsibly. We use several kinds of oregano in the mix including the one actually called Za’atar. It has a particularly bright taste and I like how the leaves turn almost silver when dry. Unlike the other oreganos we grow, the Za’atar needs to be planted every year because it is not hardy enough for our zone. The same is true for marjoram, but they both sure like our long New York summer days.
We love our roasted vegetables at Lucky Dog. We chop up whatever we have handy, drizzle on some olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, then roast them at 400 or 425 degrees. For a nice alternative, Za’atar can be used instead of salt and pepper for seasoning. I especially like it on cauliflower or carrots.
Here are some other ways to use the Za’atar:
Za’atar on Flatbread
Za’atar with Yogurt