If you are looking for a Za'atar Substitute, this is a great recipe to try! Our blend mimics the flavours of the za’atar plant by combining thyme, oregano and marjoram. Add a note of the Middle East to your grilled meats, bread and veggies and take them from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY!
Our gorgeous substitute za'atar blend is a mix of dried herbs, spices, sumac and toasted sesame seeds; it is full of antioxidants which enhance brain function.
Table of contents
What is Za'atar?
Za’atar is an herb plant in the thyme-oregano-marjoram family and tastes like a cross between those herbs. This same herb is then dried and used as a spice blend along with toasted sesame seeds, sumac, cumin and sometimes coriander.
As the za’atar plant is only native to the middle east, you can only mimic its flavour by using a combination of dried thyme-oregano-marjoram as we have used in our blend.
What is Za'tar Made Of?
Like many spice blends, Za'atar comes with many variations; a basic blend includes thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. However, I also add some oregano and marjoram to mimic the za'atar herb plant more accurately and ground cumin and coriander for some depth and earthiness.
For a quick and easy za'atar substitute, just add some dried thyme, sesame seeds and lemon zest if you don't have any sumac on hand. Use two tablespoons of sesame seeds, one tablespoon of thyme and two teaspoons of sumac or the zest from one lemon.
To step it up a notch, add a teaspoon of dried cumin or coriander for some depth and earthiness.
What Does Zaatar Taste Like?
Za'atar is a wonderful combination of nutty, herbal and tangy flavour which comes from the spices that are used in it:
- Sesame seeds - add a wonderful toasty, nutty flavour as well as some crunch to your blend
- Dried thyme - has a strong and a savoury pungency to it.
- Dried oregano - adds a warm, peppery flavour.
- Dried marjoram - is similar to oregano but not as pungent.
- Sumac - is a wondeful deep red colour and has a deliciously fruity lemon-like tanginess to it, it can be substituted with lemon zest.
- Cumin - has a slightly sweet, warm earthy flavour with a slight nutty element.
- Coriander - has a mild floral, lemon-like taste.
You Will Need
How to Make It
I like to keep this za'atar recipe as it is, but if you prefer, you may wish to grind everything up in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
OPTIONAL: To enhance the flavour of your cumin, coriander and sesame seeds, place them in a small frypan and warm them through until aromatic, then allow to cool in a bowl.
Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
How to Use Za'atar
Trust me; this za'atar substitute is going to be the go-to spice blend that you will love adding to anything and everything!
Its lemony zesty nutty flavour can be sprinkled, baked, rubbed, tossed and added to just about anything you care to imagine!
- Sprinkle it on - eggs, avocado or tomato with a drizzle of oil for a snack.
- Use it as a topping for dips- great on your houmous, baba ganoush, labneh, or mix it with some olive oil to dunk some bread for an easy starter.
- Mix it with oil as a rub - for grilled meats, or chicken breasts or salmon.
- Bake it - in flatbreads, bread rolls or foccacia.
- Use it for roasting - either vegetables or lamb.
- Toss it - in your salads like we have in Cauliflower Tahini Salad or in our Sautéed Eggplant Salad.
- Add it to - your next pilau or ancent grain or rice dish.
- Stir it through - your lentils, chick peas or beans.
Common Questions (FAQs) & Tips
You will get 35 delicious teaspoons of our wonderfully aromatic za'atar substitute blend.
Store your Za'atar blend in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool dark place in your pantry or spice drawer.
If stored as suggested, it should keep for approximately twelve weeks.
The magic of homemade spice blends is that you miss out on all the artificial flavours, preservatives and fillers you find in store-bought blends, which in turn, makes them gluten-free and so much better for you.
Our recipe is suitable for all eating styles contains only 5kcal and 0 net carbs per serve!
(we use an ingredient database for our nutritional information; therefore, you should consider these only as an estimate).
Place them into a dry pan over medium heat stir them for 1-2 minutes as this will draw the essential oils to the surface and become aromatic once again.
Just be careful you don’t overdo it and burn them.
- ¼ cup sumac
- 3 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 1 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, roasted
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander, roasted
- OPTIONAL: To enhance the flavour of your cumin, coriander and sesame seeds, place them in a small frypan and warm them through until aromatic. Allow to cool in a bowl.
- Place everything in a small bowl and mix until well combined.
- Transfer to a small glass jar and keep it in a dark part of your pantry.