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Let’s discover zaatar: photo and video recipe of the invigorating spice mix


Salt, sesame seeds and thyme are the basic ingredients of zaatar, a blend of spices typical of the Middle East. Here's how to prepare it.

When we speak of zaatar (or za'atar) we are referring, just like curry, not to a single spice but to a mixture of spices . The basic recipe involves the use of thyme, sesame and salt but, as with all traditional recipes (and we guarantee you that in the Middle East there is nothing more traditional than this), there are many versions. Let's find out together how to prepare this blend of spices and what are its properties.

There is also a video recipe to prepare it at home.

Zaatar – what is it?

The first traces of Zaatar can even be found in texts dating back to the 1st century AD by Pliny the Elder, where its use as a royal ointment is illustrated. Widespread above all in the area of ​​what was once the Ottoman Empire ( Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Jordan ), this blend of spices is used above all for its ability to strengthen body and mind.


This belief is to be found in the fact that it was customary to serve soldiers engaged in the Lebanese civil war with bread buns flavored with this spice. A simple and poor dish that still today represents the most common breakfast in the Middle East.

The recipe for za'atar

Although originally consumed for need, za'atar , this is its real name, contains a whole series of properties, conferred on it by the ingredients of which it is made. In fact, thyme has antiseptic, digestive and tonic properties while sesame is a precious source of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins

As mentioned, there are many versions of zaatar, different from family to family. The common starting point is given by salt, thyme and sesame seeds. You can then add oregano, cumin, fennel seeds, savory and marjoram in varying proportions. Among the most famous variants is the one that involves the addition of sumac .

Toast sesame seeds for zaatar

1. To prepare the zaatar, toast the sesame seeds in a pan for a few minutes, without letting them burn.

Zaatar ingredients in a mixer
Zaatar ingredients in a mixer

2. Then transfer them together with all the other ingredients into a small blender and grind everything into a powder.

Put zaatar in a jar with oil

3. Za'atar is kept in a glass jar, in a dark place, or covered with a layer of extra virgin olive oil.

The best way to consume it is together with labna , a particular yoghurt common in the Middle East or together with homemade scones .

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