Za'atar with Sumac... A Soothing Middle Eastern Combination

Like the waves of Summer, reaching and receding, touching your feet and inviting you to wade in, the sultry and slightly acidic combination of za'atar with sumac is one of my favorite seasonings. I will incorporate it into hummus, smear it on chicken, sprinkle it on salads and cooked veggies. And yeah, it's easy and worthwhile to make. 

Sumac is slightly acidic and lemony. It's becoming easier to find in local grocery stores. But you can also find it online. Za'atar sounds exotic and maybe it is, yet it's so simple to make. So let's do it!

Za’atar (makes ½ cup)


¼ cup white sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon dried dill

1 Tablespoon dried thyme


½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon sumac


  1. On the stovetop, using a medium skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds without using any oil. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Once seeds are golden brown, set aside to cool.
  2. Place half the sesame seeds in a spice grinder or food processor. Add oregano, dill, thyme and salt.
  3. Grind or process until a course meal.
  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add sumac and remaining sesame seeds.
  5. Massage any lumps out with your fingers.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Yes, you CAN double, triple or quadruple this recipe. It is shelf stable for a few months or you can keep it in the fridge or freezer for longer. There are different versions for Za'atar and I really like all of them. But this one excites my senses and wraps me in waves of soothing satisfaction. Yummmmmm 

This Memorial Day weekend make up a batch. Look for this recipe and others from the Locally Seasoned kitchen in the July 2019 grilling issue of Susquehanna Style Magazine. Happy Eating!

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