If you haven't tried the famous Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spice blend before and you're wondering, "what does za'atar taste like?" we're here to satisfy your curiosity.
It's no secret that we're crazy about za'atar at Zesty Z. Sometimes we're drizzling our za'atar and olive oil condiment over a towering stacked salad for lunch. Other times we're sprinkling the dried spice blend over avocado toast. Either way, we probably have za'atar nearby to use with any dish.
Curious what all the hype is about and wondering if you should add this bright Middle Eastern spice to your pantry? We think it's time that you became a Zesty Bestie and join this za'atar team!
What is Middle Eastern Za'atar?
Let's start with the basics.
Za'atar is both a spice and a spice blend. The herb za'atar is wild thyme from the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. It's also known by its scientific classification, origanum syriacum, or hyssop. Za'atar is a green shrubby plant similar to western thyme but has larger leaves and can grow up to three feet tall.
Za'atar spice is a blend that includes dried wild thyme and other herbs and spices from the region. A classic Za'atar seasoning always has sumac and sesame seeds mixed with thyme.
Sumac is a spice known as the "cranberry of the Mediterranean" because of its deep red color and citrusy flavor. Our dry blend includes oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac. Za'atar should never have any filler ingredients like chickpeas, wheat, or bran.
Our sauce-like za'atar condiment has the same ingredients blended with extra-virgin olive oil for a drizzle-able texture. The combination of Za'atar and olive oil is a cultural food staple and widely used.
What Does Za'atar Taste Like?
The flavor of za'atar spice depends on the kind of za'atar blend you're using. It should have a fragrant aroma and be a harmonious blend of savory and bright flavors.
Dry Za'atar Spice Blend Flavor
Dried za'atar has an herby and exotic flavor. It's a bit nutty and crunchy, thanks to the sesame seeds, as well as savory. It's more subtle than bold herbs like rosemary or North American thyme.
Because the wild thyme and oregano in the blend have been dehydrated, you can wake up their essential flavor notes by blooming the spices in olive oil or another liquid when cooking. Blooming means to soak heat dried herbs or spices until they fully open up.
What Does Za'atar Taste Like with Olive Oil?
If you blend za'atar into a sauce with extra-virgin olive oil, you get an entirely new flavor and texture. Our za'atar condiments are creamy and luscious with a full-bodied taste and texture. The dried herbs truly hit their full flavor potential in this sauce.
They also have a kick of brightness from tart sumac.
Of course, our spicy condiment has all of that classic Mediterranean flavor, plus a kick of spice from chili peppers.
Do Sesame Seeds Change the Flavor?
If you're surprised to find sesame seeds in a spice blend, don't be alarmed. These tiny seeds add a delicate, nutty, and creamy flavor to the combination.
Rather than overwhelming the dried herbs, the seeds add a richness that you don't get from an all-herb spice blend. Not to mention, they're delightfully crunchy!
What Flavors Go Well with Za'atar?
Pairing our dry za'atar spice blend or olive oil condiment with other ingredients is easy. Wake up your taste buds and your favorite foods with a Mediterranean twist. The recipe options are endless because za'atar is known as the King of Herbs for its versatility.
Classic pairings include other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes and ingredients like manoushe (flatbread pizza), dipping and dunking with olive oil and pita, hummus, creamy labneh or yogurt, croissants, baked proteins, or vegetables.
Did we convince you yet? Buy Za'atar spice today, and let's Get Zesty!