Za’atar spice refers to a mixture of herbs and spices such as ground thyme, oregano, sumac and savory and often toasted sesame seeds and salt. It is traditionally used as a condiment in Middle Eastern cuisine where it is mixed with olive oil and spread onto pita bread but it can also be used as a seasoning for vegetables, salads and meat dishes.
The ingredients of za’atar contain many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, E and K. Oregano, thyme, sumac, savory and sesame seeds all contain anti-oxidants which help to repair cellular damage, preventing a wide range of conditions such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Sesame seeds are also a good source of fibre and contain healthy fats and protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals.
Za’atar grilled chicken
40ml olive oil
2 tablespoons za’atar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 skinless chicken thighs
- Whisk together oil, za’atar, lemon juice, zest, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat.
- Preheat grill to medium (180° to 220°). Grill chicken, skin side down, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn chicken and grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Find za’atar in the spice aisle of well-stocked grocery stores
Tips: Chicken can be swapped for fish fillet of choice. For vegetarian alternative, one of my favourite snacks or salad toppings is roasted chickpeas. Canned chickpeas (drained) can be grilled with olive oil and za’atar until brown and slightly crispy.