Zaatar salad (salatet zaatar akhdar)

August 16, 2013  •  Category:


Zaatar comes in many varieties in Lebanon; heard from a couple of sources that the total count was in excess of 133! The one above is called green (akhdar), and gets foraged and used in salads. The equivalent could be wild savory. It is pungent and good with grilled meat as well. Chef Mattar has a recipe in which she makes a pesto out of it. Real good.

The difference between this zaatar and the one that ends up as a mix with sumac and sesame seeds, is this one is either consumed fresh or gets pickled; the pickles can be found at the Middle-Eastern grocers in the US; pickled zaatar is good added to a feta or labneh salad or mixed as a condiment with other foods.

The salad here is very traditional and typical of village food. 

zaatar for mix

This zaatar bush above is for the variety that ends up as a dry mix.  


15 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A wonderful salad! So flavorful and delightfully herby.



  2. Nadege says:

    I am not going to Lebanon anytime soon; I just have to find a good Lebanese restaurant in Los Angeles. This refreshing salad really looks lovely!

  3. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Mmmm…Served with Olive Oil, Humus and Pita, Delicious!

  4. Katerina says:

    Hi Joumana! I have heard many times of Zaatar many times and I am so curious! I will have to try and make it sometime!

  5. Jay says:

    What is the scientific name of wild savory? It looks like rosemary or a close relative.

    — jay

  6. sippitysup says:

    Isn’t there also a spice blend called zaatar? Or am I missing your point. Hey’ maybe that’s the one with “sumac and sesame seeds”. Also sometimes I see an apostrophe in the word. Since I don’t know where the apostrophe goes, I left it out here. How deep is the hole I’m digging now? XOGREG

    • Joumana says:

      @sippitysup: yes, zaatar is the name of the spice mix as well; the spice mix uses a different variety of the wild herb, called origanum syriacum. the one used for salad is not made into a spice. each variety has a slightly different taste and smell.

  7. Nidal says:

    La remarque de Jay me paraît judicieuse !
    C’est vrai que la plante que je vois dans la salade me fait plus penser au Romarin “Rosemary” qu’au “Thym”.
    sippitysup a également raison de relever la nuance (amalgame) entre la plante Zaatar et le “Spice mix”, appelé également Zaatar.

  8. Hilda says:

    Hello Joumana. A quelle plante aromatique correspond le zaatar en France ?? Dans la salade les feuilles ressemble effectivement à du romarin mais ce dernier à un parfun et un goût très prononcés et très differents du thym. En revance sur la photo de la plante les feuilles rappelle l’origan ??? Alors à quoi correspond le zaatar ??. Amitiés

    • Joumana says:

      @Hilda: ça depend; il faut demander a un jardinier en France; il y a des dizaines de variétés; celui qui est le zaatar en poudre s’appelle origanum syriacum. celui dans la salade c’est le savory. je ne connais pas le nom en Français.

  9. Oui, Chef says:

    All my favorite flavors in one gorgeous salad!

  10. Jay says:

    Merci, Nidal. A web search turned up nothing as did wikipedia. The Texas climate seems good for za’atar (Origanum syriacum ) so I believe it would for this if I could identify it.

    Sorry to be a pedant, but local common names can be confusing. I have a friend who grew up on a farm in Lebanon. I’ll see what he knows.

  11. Hisham Assaad says:

    Ah! I love zaatar. I love it in this salad, i love to have it with white cheeses or labneh.
    It’s amazing

  12. allison says:

    Did anyone identify the scientific name for zaatar akhdar? I’d like to try and grow it in Canada.

    • Joumana says:

      @allison: if you are referring to the zaatar with long leaves that is either pickled or made into a salad, not the spice mix then I need to make sure and the book that I have (somewhere) is not to be found. I looked at two reference books and one says thymus hirsutus. the one made into the mix is called origanum syriacum and origanum libanoticum, although it is the syriacum we use in the Chouf. Once I get a hold of this book I will tell you for sure. The book was a study done at the AUB on the edible wildflowers in Lebanon and the zaatar akhdar is listed.

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