Zaatar is my spirit catnip
June 7, 2013 9:23 AM   Subscribe

What are some vegetarian uses for Zaatar? I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat meat that often, and almost never do at home. But I can't get enough of zaatar! Besides breads/olive oil, and sprinkled on homemade pizza, what else can I eat/make with zaatar?
posted by raztaj to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoy this squash recipe with zaatar, and I think Ottolenghi has a bunch of other recipes involving it as well.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:28 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's great on roasted vegetables. I love it on summer squashes.
posted by padraigin at 9:28 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's really nice mixed into yogurt as a dip or topping. It's also good with lentils or other legumes, with oil, salt, and a touch of lemon.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

How would it be on popcorn? This is something I love to do with my favorite spices (I recommend ground Sichuan peppercorn!). You can either saute it in melted butter for a minute before pouring onto the popcorn, or just sprinkle it on after (/without) buttering.
posted by pompelmo at 9:36 AM on June 7, 2013

I've used it on fried tofu to good effect. Also nice with chickpeas
posted by cubby at 9:37 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a great recipe for (paleo-friendly) crackers that are flavored with it, and I highly recommend! [rustles around on Internet...] here! Great for any cracker use, on own, etc., and keep much longer than anticipated.
posted by acm at 9:44 AM on June 7, 2013

I bet you could make a hummus or lentil dip with it, actually - probably blended up with oil, salt and a touch of lemon as jetlagaddict suggests above for just regular use with legumes.
posted by Frowner at 9:44 AM on June 7, 2013

You already know about eating it on bread with olive oil, but try swapping butter for the oil... it's a whole different dimension.
posted by scose at 9:46 AM on June 7, 2013

Cut some tofu or seitan into 1/4" thick slices. If you're using tofu, sprinkle a bit of kosher/coarse salt on both sides and let sit on the cutting board or plate for ~15-20 minutes.
Grill pan: Mix za'atar with olive oil to form a paste, brush it on one side, grill for 5-6 minutes, brush, flip, grill the other side.
Frying pan: Add za'atar to a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour, dredge once, let sit for ~10 minutes, dredge again, and fry.
If you have some time: Blend it up with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and harissa, rub the mixture all over the tofu slices, marinade for ~12-24 hours, then fry, bake (better with tofu), broil (better with seitan), or grill.

Serve with harissa, sauteed kale or broccoli, rice pilaf or couscous.
posted by divined by radio at 9:55 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's a recipe I posted years ago.
posted by dobbs at 9:57 AM on June 7, 2013

A local restaurant makes some wonderful beef-fat french fries with zaatar. There's no recipe available, but I'm sure you could figure something out.
posted by matildaben at 9:58 AM on June 7, 2013

I bet you could make a hummus or lentil dip with it, actually

I have done this and it is KILLER. Put a pool of nice olive oil on top; serve with olives and pita.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:05 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you eat fish more frequently? I have had really good white fish (tiliapia, I think, but any other delicate fish would do, I would think) pan-friend and gently crusted with za'atar. Yum.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:14 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

nthing the Ottolenghi squash/onion recipe, which I've tried and tested.

Carrot salad. Knock together a tahini/labneh dressing and add liberally.
posted by holgate at 10:27 AM on June 7, 2013

Goes great on rockfish.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2013

Can't think of the name of them right now, but basically:

Press cottage cheese into tight, 1" - 1-1/2" balls, roll in zataar, and allow to dry a day or two. They should be firm, but not hard. Serve with olive oil for dipping.

These keep well at room temperature, as does all dry cheese.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I used to put it in all my white bean and kale stews. Yum!
posted by ldthomps at 10:53 AM on June 7, 2013

I bet it would be great on grilled halloumi.
posted by clavicle at 11:32 AM on June 7, 2013

A wonderful Algerian/Tunisian restaurant near my place serves Zaatar Coca, and it's amazing.
posted by Cygnet at 11:58 AM on June 7, 2013

Zaatar croissants are delicious.
posted by emkelley at 12:01 PM on June 7, 2013

This Za'atar Salad from Moosewood is the best thing all through the summer (I've never put bread in it, I think that must be the "tweak" the blog mentions from the original recipe). Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, parsley, zaatar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Great as a side dish for just about anything, or throw in some canned white beans and call it a meal.
posted by vytae at 12:18 PM on June 7, 2013

You need a copy of Veggiestan.

Yes, there's one recipe that includes Zaatar explicitly (Pumpkin and Rice Soup with Zaatar Croutons), and a recipe for zaatar itself, but that's not the only reason you want this book. You want this book because if middle eastern flavours like Zaatar make you happy, and vegetarian food makes you happy, this book will make you very happy indeed. (Sally Butcher's other books have also been highly recommended to me, but Veggiestan is the only one I've used far.)
posted by Wylla at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2013

Grilled cheese and Za'atar! I have it practically every morning.
Spread the za'atar/oil mix on bread, add cheese, place on grill.
Best done with Halloumi cheese, but a nice sharp Kashkaval is a good alternative.

You can also make a Labneh and Za'atar mix [thrown them in a bowl and get all up in there mixing it] - spread it on some Pita bread, add olives, enjoy.
posted by xqwzts at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2013

This is a bit too close to 'bread,' perhaps, but it's nice thrown in a sandwich (particularly a tomato-oriented one).
posted by kmennie at 2:40 PM on June 7, 2013

I often have it on eggs for breakfast--eggs, za'atar, sometimes (unflavored) yoghurt (with more za'atar on it) or feta, and a torn-up pita.

Also, I can verify that it is, in fact, fantastic on popcorn. I've also used it to make chex mix--sub in za'atar for all the spices usually used, and use lemon juice instead of worcestershire, reducing the amount by about half. It also makes good chip/veg dip: za'atar, greek yoghurt or sour cream, chopped olives. Consume by the truckload.

I've made za'atar seasoned falafel, which was great--just my normal falafel recipe, but with za'atar instead of the regular spices. (And, I think, the quantity of spices upped somewhat--I just kept tasting the mixture until I liked it.)

Also, if you like roasted cauliflower, you'll love roasted cauliflower with olive oil and za'atar and, maybe, some nice kalamatas tossed in there.

I'm super hungry now.
posted by MeghanC at 7:48 PM on June 7, 2013

It is fantastic on fattoush salad.

I have been taught to heat up/light toast pita in a bit of olive oil, and use this oil to affix sprinkled za'atar on the pita. Then, tear it up and dip it in freshly made, room temperature hummus that's been dizzled upon with olive oil.

Also, I once introduced za'atar to my Indian grandmother and she put it in potato paranthas after telling me how beautiful the scent was.

I have also used it in tahini-za'atar kale chips, and sometimes mixed za'atar with tahini and a sweet syrup and then spread it on toast.
posted by mayurasana at 11:09 PM on June 7, 2013

Seconding za'atar on fattoush, one of my favorite salads. This recipe looks good. Fattoush, a Lebanese dish that often incorporates toasted pita, is a fantastic summer food and a great showcase for za'atar.
posted by reren at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2013

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