Z is for Za'atar

When I was thinking about what to make for Z in my experiment of cooking with new things for Vegan MoFo, there was really only one option - za'atar.

Admittedly, there was really only one option as much because za'atar sounded delicious as because I couldn't think of anything else beginning with z.

Za'atar, for the uninitiated, is a mix of herbs and spices - typically involving sumac, sesame seeds, thyme and salt, as well as whatever else the person who's making it might have at the back of the cupboard at the time. According to Wikipedia, za'atar is Arabic in origin, and according to a lovely description on Serious Eats, it's "a spice blend, a wild herb, a dip, a condiment, and a snacking equivalent of popcorn, it's an ancient cultural institution, a symbol of national identity, and a personal watermark."

For my personal watermark, it was an almost mix of thyme, oregano, roasted sesame seeds and sumac, with a sprinkling of salt.

To keep with the Arabic theme, I sprinkled it on some hummus as well as on some roasted veggies. Success - it's delicious! Sumac isn't something I've used an awful lot - oh alright, let's stop being coy, it's something I've almost never used at all - and I loved the citrusy, floral tang it gave the za'atar.

Hummus, lovely though it is, can sometimes get a little samey, and the za'atar gave it a lovely new twist.

After I'd finished sprinkling it all over hummus and the veggies, I still had a few teaspoons left. I did the sensible thing and turned my personal watermark, spice blend, what have you, back into a snack and scarfed the whole lot down.

And with that, I'm done for MoFo. I've cooked a truckload of stuff, read another truckload of blogs old and new, won a MoFo competition and enjoyed the hell out of it all.

Roll on next October - I'm ready for you!


  1. My favorite way to use za'atar is to mix it with olive oil and dip crusty bread in it. I'm really glad I discovered your blog this month, and have enjoyed following along with your culinary adventures.

  2. Perfect choice for "z". Try it in fattoush salad.

  3. Your hummus looks great with the za'atar garnish and sprinkling it on roasting veggies sounds wonderful. I need to try za'atar again, I've had za'atar pizzas but I find them a bit boring and dry. I always get za'atar and dukkah confused too even though they are totally different spice blends.

    Congrats on making it through the alphabet! I've really enjoyed your MoFo theme, it's been a lot of fun to follow and I've learnt about some unfamiliar ingredients this month!

  4. Za-za-zoom! I'm out of za'tar and this reminds me to go out and get some more.

    I really enjoyed your ABCs. Happy Halloween.

  5. I've still not tried za'atar or sumac but I keep seeing them on blogs and thye sound great. Your A-Z has been a really great read.

  6. I have some za'tar in my pantry and am going to have to try this combo. Loved your theme this MoFo. Hope you had a good Halloween.

  7. Oooo I've wanted to try this! A while back, I'd see it in so many magazine recipes (Za'atar flatbread sounded particularly delicious)! So sad that Vegan MoFo is over, but all of your food sounds so yummy! I'll be trying VMF recipes until next year, haha!

  8. I just ordered some sumac, and I'm super eager to make za'atar. I had it on hummus this past summer at a restaurant and was blown away. I always had sumac in my cupboard when I lived in Los Angeles. I lived in an area with a lot of Armenians, and it was available in every market. However, it's much harder/impossible to find where I live now. I caved and ordered it online. Reading this post has made me even more eager for it to arrive!


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