In Middle Eastern cuisine, a LOT of spice goes a long way. The love affair between spices and Middle Eastern cuisine cannot be explained aptly in words, however, it can be fully experienced in many Middle Eastern dishes. The various flavors included in Middle Eastern cuisine are a result of special spices that work like magic creating a taste that is certainly memorable.
Lebanese cuisine plays a grand role in the vast scheme of Middle Eastern food and is no exception when it comes to the beautifully diverse use of spices. What makes Lebanese cuisine stand out is its selection of such spices. Besides the common ones such as cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, Arabic 7-Spices, etc, the Lebanese have fine-tuned one of their secret ingredient known as zaatar. Zaatar is one of the staple spice mixes that that is use to create the authentic Lebanese favorites we crave for, such as man'ouche (pictured above)! Other Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Syria, and Egypt also have their own special blends of zaatar, which you'll see products of below.
What is Zaatar Made Of?
Zaatar is one spice that has ruled Middle Eastern cuisine since ancient times. Unlike other spices, this one does consist of a single ingredient; rather it is a by-product of various spices. Zaatar is a well-blended mixture of some of the most commonly used spices such as:
Roasted Sesame Seeds
Occasionally, dried orange zest, dried dill, or zataar (known as hyssop) is also added to it. There is no one specific recipe to follow for making zataar as each region in the Middle East has put up a new spin on it according to the prevalent taste of their cuisine. The fragrance, texture, and taste of this spice are diverse and therefore, it can be used to spice up salads, dips, dressing, meat, vegetables, soups, etc.
Top Middle Eastern Zaatar Brands
Zaatar is available in local Middle Eastern markets, but in this article, we have included some of the best-selling zaatar brands which that you can find online for your convenience.
Salloum Food's Zaatar
*A YallaBoston Tested & Verified Product
Salloum Food is committed to delivering the highest quality food products to their customers by offering authentic cultural spices.
This versatile company started in 2009 when three talented individuals Georges, Nader, and Adel decided to combine their resources and efforts to initiate a new culinary venture.
Their zaatar spice/seasoning by is rich and organic in taste. With balanced notes of tangy-ness and bitterness, Salloum Bro's Zaatar uplifts the taste of any ordinary dish by giving it an exquisite Middle Eastern taste. Many of those who purchase their brand have appreciated its sincere efforts for maintaining the authenticity of a traditional zaatar spice and for creating it in a way that preserves the essence Lebanese heritage.
Tazah Foods Zaatar
Tazah Foods is one of the brands that is well known for their unique variety of Middle Eastern spice blends. It would not be wrong to say that Tazah Foods took the first bold step of introducing eastern cuisine to international clients in 1977. As the pioneer of this multicultural initiative-Tazah Foods also launched a new range of Zaatar as noted below.
Zaatar by Taazah Foods is of high quality of ingredients. Taazah Foods has made sure to include the flavor of popular Middle Eastern regions by producing Lebanese zaatar, Jordanian zaatar, Palestinian and Syrian (Halabi) zaatar mixes. Customers from all over the world have fallen in love with this spice as it allows them to create the captivating taste of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Zaatar Products by Tazah Brands:
Ziyad Brothers Zaatar
*A YallaBoston Tested & Verified Product
Ziyad Brothers started as a local bakery in the Southside of Chicago by Ahmad and Ibrahim Ziyad. Gradually, over the years this small business turned into a big company. Keeping up with the professional values of its owners-this company came up with multiple, high-quality products belonging to Middle Eastern cuisine.
Whether it is a sauce, dip, grilled meat, salad dressing, or any other dish, Ziyad Brother’s zaatar is a definite flavor booster for every meal. This spice is recommended to be used with olive oil as together they both intensify the flavor of dishes.
Adonis spices are one of the most famous Lebanese spice brands which are well known for producing quality-oriented spice mixtures and blends for years. To promote Lebanese culinary traditions, Adonis spices supplies some of the best Middle Eastern spices to local and international consumers.
The zaatar mixes by Adonis are a harmonious blend of all-natural spices. Just a sprinkle of this spice is enough to perfect any dish. To let the world fully experience the cultural diversity of zaatar, Adonis has introduced various flavors of it belonging to specific regions like Jordanian, Lebanon, and Aleppo. The smart packaging, rich taste, balanced quantity has made Adonis zaatar spice a staple product for many households.
Zaatar Products by Adonis Brands:
Sindyianna of Galilee
Sindyianna of Galilee is one of its kind nonprofit organization which is being led by women and is based in Israel. This organization has taken upon itself to cater to the best organic Middle Eastern goods and to promote the common food traditions amongst diverse communities so that peace and harmony can be restored in various communities. It is for this reason that the authentic taste of their zaatar spice will instantly transport you to the culturally rich region of the Middle East.
Made with labor and love, this spice mix is not an ordinary one. The strong flavors and aroma of this traditional spice are too good to be true and perfect to pair with any dish.
How To Make Zaatar At Home
If you want to make your own zaatar at home, here's a simple recipe to try.
1 cup dried wild thyme or oregano
1⁄4 cup sumac spice
1⁄2 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted until golden brown
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
Take the oregano with sumac spice and grind it together in a food processor (you can also use a special spice grinder or a traditional mortar and pestle). Place the ground mixture in a bowl and mix in it sea salt and toasted sesame seeds. Make sure to mix all these spices so thoroughly that it becomes well balanced. For best results and to maintain freshness, store in a cool, dry, and dark area.
We would love to know your favorite brand of zaatar. Let us know in the comments below!