Za’atar – Middle Eastern Herb Mix

Zaatar Herb Mix Middle Eastern Israeli Za'atar Spice

Zaatar Herb Mix Middle Eastern Israeli Za'atar Spice

Za’atar is the name of a Middle-Eastern herb, as well as the spice mix that strongly resembles the aroma of this herb. The mix is traditionally made from just 4 ingredients: thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt, but there are plenty of variations that feature oregano, marjoram, hyssop, coriander and cumin too.

The tangy sumac pairs incredibly well with the earthy thyme, while the toasted sesame seeds add a nutty flavour and a slightly crunchy texture. It has become a signature spice blend in my kitchen and I use it almost every day in some form!

My favourite ways to use za’atar include:

  1. Mix with olive oil and/or tahini and drizzle over salads
  2. Sprinkle generously over dips such as Homemade Hummus or Baba Ganoush (aubergine dip)
  3. Scatter over a dish of Shakshuka (baked eggs in tomato sauce)
  4. Use to coat grilled tofu, fish, meat or Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables
  5. Add to stews, lentils, rice for a pop of savoury spice

Feel free to experiment with different proportions in the recipe, for example if you’re a big fan or oregano, why not double the amount and use a little less thyme?

Zaatar Herb Mix Middle Eastern Israeli Za'atar Spice

Zaatar Herb Mix Middle Eastern Israeli Za'atar Spice

Za’atar Recipe – Middle Eastern Spice Mix


Makes 1/3 cup
  • 4 heaped tablespoons thyme
  • 4 tablespoons ground sumac
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon dried oregano/cumin/marjoram


  1. In a dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds on a high heat for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Once toasted, mix in the sesame seeds. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to one month.

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @elibrechernutrition – I LOVE seeing all your creations!

Don’t forget to sprinkle this all over your Shakshuka (Middle-Eastern baked eggs),  Baba Ganoush (smoky aubergine dip), Homemade Hummus and Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables!



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