Introducing my inspired take on za’atar — a classic Middle Eastern spice blend with toasted sesame seeds, sumac, and herbs.
After tasting both red and green za’atar, I tried my hand at a classic red version featuring sumac.
This inspired version is gluten-free and requires only 6 ingredients and 5 minutes to prepare!
How to Make Za’atar
It starts with toasting sesame seeds in a small skillet.
The toasted sesame seeds are then lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle (a small blender or mixing bowl will also work).
Then the other spices are added: thyme, oregano, cumin, sea salt, and sumac! Sum-what, you ask?
What is Sumac?
Sumac is a ground dried berry that’s rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. I love the unexpectedly bright, tart flavor of sumac, and how it blends beautifully with the sesame and herbs.
If you aren’t sure where to purchase sumac, we recommend the bulk section of a well-stocked health food store or ordering online.
A final optional step is to add olive oil. This is ideal if you are going to be using your za’atar immediately to flavor a dish.
For longer-term storage, we recommend omitting the olive oil and keeping the spice mix in a sealed container.
We hope you LOVE this spice mix! It’s:
& Very versatile
It’s perfect for marinating or seasoning meats, garnishing dips and salads, or adding more flavor to just about any dish, especially those that are Middle Eastern or Mediterranean inspired, including hummus, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
More DIY Spice Mixes
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 ½-2 Tbsp sumac
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
- If using untoasted sesame seeds, heat a small skillet over low to medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast for a few minutes or until lightly golden brown, stirring frequently.
- Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more cumin for smokiness, salt to taste, sumac for tartness, thyme for floral notes, oregano for a woodsy taste, or sesame seeds for sesame flavor and more texture.
- Will keep in a sealed container for at least 3 months (or longer) at room temperature. Or, refrigerate to keep fresh even longer.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional olive oil.