A delicious Middle Eastern spice blend that makes any dish more flavorful. This Za’atar spice mix has an earthy, nutty flavor that will enhance everything from basic pita to grilled meats. Made in just a few minutes, it’s is a tasty substitute for za’atar when you need a burst of flavor and don’t have it on hand.
A Homemade Substitute for Za’atar
Homemade spice blends are easy to make and can often be made at home for less than buying ready-made mixes. (This easy tandoori spice mix is another one to try!)
Za’atar is a popular seasoning blend that is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s often sold in jars in the spice section at Middle Eastern markets, or if you’re lucky, your local grocery store.
If you don’t have access to the ready made mix, you can blend up your own with individual spices. Za’atar is extremely versatile in the sense that it can be used on everything from breads and hummus or as a dry rub for meat.
It’s made with only a handful of ingredients and has a distinctive taste, almost an earthy tartness.
Like most homemade spices, the flavor can vary from region to region. However, the base ingredients are the same.
It’s versatile, easy to make, and a great flavor addition. You might find yourself making it from scratch instead of depending on those handy jars from the supermarket spice rack!
There are only six ingredients in this spice mix, but it comes out deliciously fragrant and tasty every time.
Dried thyme: This herb gives the Za’atar mix an earthy flavor.
Roasted cumin seeds: It’s important to choose roasted seeds (or roast them yourself) because they bring out much more nutty, rich, and aromatic flavors.
Sumac: If you’ve never used Sumac before, it has a bit of a tangy tartness to it that’s delicious when paired with more earthy flavors.
Sesame seeds: Another one you want to toast to bring out the best flavor.
Salt and pepper: Adjust these to suit your taste in this spice mix.
How To Make It
Start by roasting the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat until they’re golden brown and then let them cool.
Place half the sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of the cumin seeds, and 1 tablespoon each of the thyme and pepper in a spice grinder.
Pulse a few times but the sesame seeds should remain whole. The goal is to release the oils from the seeds, not to grind them. This makes the spice mix more aromatic.
Combine all the ingredients and mix.
Portion into an airtight jar and store for several months at room temperature or freeze for a longer shelf life.
How To Use Za’atar Spice Mix
This za atar seasoning will bring a delicious flavor to anything you pair it with! Some of the best ways to use Za’atar mix are to:
- Stir it into dips or on top of them. Hummus and Baba Ghanoush are perfect to pair with Za’atar.
- Mix it into olive oil and dip pita bread. This is a wonderful (and simple) appetizer.
- Use it as a dry rub for grilled meats. It works well with chicken, fish, and pork.
- Sprinkle it on top of your favorite recipes; za’atar mix makes everything more flavorful. Use it on top of roasted veggies, avocado toast, and anything else you want a boost of flavor in.
Frequently Asked Questions About Za’atar Spice Mix
Store this homemade Za atar seasoning blend in an airtight container, plastic baggie, or mason jar in a cool, dark place. Make sure to label it. Once stored, it should last up to one year.
Each homemade mix will have a bit of a different flavor profile. However, the base of the Za’atar mix will contain sumac, cumin, sesame seeds, and salt.
Za’atar seasoning isn’t a spicy blend as there are no hot and spicy ingredients like chili flakes or red peppers. Instead, it has more of a nutty, earthy flavor that varies depending on the herbs used.
Za’atar spice works on everything from simple hummus dips to a dry rub for meat. It can be used with oil to make a quick bread dip or sprinkled on yogurt.
- ● 3 tablespoons dried thyme
- ● 1 tablespoons cumin seed roasted
- ● 3 tablespoons sumac
- ● 1 teaspoon salt
- ● ¾ cup sesame seeds
- ● 1 tablespoon black pepper (coarsely ground)
- In a pan over medium heat roast sesame seeds for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Cool for about 5 minutes.
- Place half of the sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon each of cumin seed, thyme, and pepper.
- Pulse it a few times. The sesame seeds should mostly remain whole. You are simply trying to release some oils and bring out the nutty aroma, not finely grind them.
- Combine remaining sesame seeds, thyme, salt, sumac, and the ground mixture in a small mixing bowl.
- Transfer the mixed herbs and spices to an airtight container and store for several months at room temperature.
If you prefer ground za'atar to one with larger pieces, simply combine all ingredients in a spice grinder and process to achieve desired texture.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g