Zaatar/Oregano rolls

February 27, 2014  •  Category:

I have become quite fond of this Bedouin lady, Nujud, who roams the streets of Beirut with her knapsack hawking her wild herbs; I can hear her from four stories up “khobbeyzeh w zaatar!” she repeats in her direct and farm-like intonation. I hurry down and get some fresh, wild, zaatar; it is growing aplenty now all over the mountains. Oregano, home-grown or store-bought will do (it is closer in taste to wild zaatar than thyme).  These rolls are a classic in mountain villages, especially in the Chouf Mountains where zaatar is abundant.

dup nujud selling zaatar

 The dough in these rolls is mostly semolina, which makes them super crunchy; if you prefer your rolls soft and chewy then switch to mostly flour and a bit of semolina or cornmeal for a tad of crunch.      add the zaatar into the flour mixture   knead briefly   scoop into mini-muffin tins


3 cups semolina flour (can replace with cornmeal or regular flour)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour (can switch to semolina or cornmeal)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tablespoon instant dry yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water with the sugar

1/4 tsp mahlab (optional)

1 cup olive oil

3 cups (3 ounces) fresh zaatar or oregano, washed and air-dried

1 1/2 cup warm water

1. Place the semolina, flour, salt and mahlab (if using) in a mixing bowl; mix to combine and add the olive oil. Mix to combine then add the zaatar or oregano leaves. Finally, add the proofed yeast and enough warm water to get a moist but compact dough. Leave it to the rest a few hours or overnight. 

2. Scoop out walnut-sized balls of dough and place in mini-muffin tins or on a baking sheet lined with paper. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 10 minutes until golden and dry. Cool and serve. Store in a tightly closed box for up to a week. 


NOTE: These bites are super crunchy; if you would rather eat soft and chewy ones, switch to regular flour and a bit of semolina instead. 


8 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Sylva says:

    These look delicious! You can eat them warm and cold. Thanks Joumana I added this to my favorite things to make along with lots of your stuff. <3

  2. Rosa says:

    Those bites are great! Perfect party food.



  3. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Quelle délicieuse idée; L’idée de ces petites bouchées craquantes et parfumées est proprement insoutenable, Joumana ! ;o)

  4. Serena says:

    Your recipes are always inspiring especially for moustequiin or middle east lovers like me! ciao!

  5. Margaret Leon says:

    Just brought back a ton of Zaatar to Italy where I live and other than spreading it on dough and baking it..(like my mom did..or with the triangles) this is a great one to try..thank you

  6. Oui, Chef says:

    Such beautiful looking oregano, I bet these muffins are AWESOME! I think I would stick with the semolina amount you used, crunchy sounds good to me.

  7. Hisham Assaad says:

    I have some zaatar in the refrigerator. I think I’ll make some of those.

  8. Jamie says:

    I’m sure you have talked about this herb lady before and I find it fascinating someone like this still exists in parts of the world. Wonderful! And these bites look marvelous, actually and I’ll bet one could vary this basic recipe in so many ways.

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