Four reasons why you need Zahtar in your life

Four reasons why you need Zahtar in your life
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Four reasons why you need Zahtar in your life

Meet the Ancient Savory Spice Blend Behind Today’s Hottest Taste Trend, Zahtar (Za’atar)

There are hundreds of ways to make it and hundreds of ways to use it. There are even lots of different ways to spell it! It’s ZAHTAR – the new “it spice” for savvy foodies – and it’s showing up everywhere from pita and pizza to matzo balls and cocktails.

Now that the word is out, home cooks will want to know all about the tangy, crave-worthy flavor everyone’s talking about. Pereg, the leading purveyor of all-natural exotic spices, has the lowdown.

First of all, what is ZAHTAR? This collection of herbs and spices (sometimes spelled Za’atar, Zatar, Zaa’tar, Zahatar, and Zatar) has been a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries. Base ingredients usually include hyssop, sesame seeds, oregano, marjoram, and salt. Like chicken soup or curry, there are countless variations. The way it’s made depends on where the maker’s roots are – some families keep their recipes “top secret.”

Pereg Zahtar (Za'atar, Middle East spice).

Pereg Zahtar (Za’atar, Middle East spice).

Here’s everything you need to know about this trend-setting taste sensation.

  1. ZAHTAR is versatile. This blend of herbs and spices works beautifully as a dry rub for all kinds of meat, poultry, and fish. (ZAHTAR and lamb are a match made in culinary heaven.) A pinch of ZAHTAR adds an intriguing Middle Eastern note to your favorite stews, soups, marinades, breads, and more. Mix it with olive oil, sour cream, or yogurt for a sensational dip. Keep some on the table to sprinkle over veggies, hummus, eggs, avocado toast…no wonder The Guardian calls it “magic dust!”
  2. ZAHTAR is good for you. It’s full of antioxidants and also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. ZAHTAR has also long been considered “brain food.” In fact, Maimonides is said to have prescribed it to his patients. (And we know how smart he was!)
  3. ZAHTAR tastes like no other spice blend. It’s very aromatic and has an earthy, warm flavor. ZAHTAR is kind herbaceous, kind of zesty, kind of tangy, and totally unique.
  4. ZAHTAR is a Thing. Chefs across the U.S. are introducing it on their menu items – from fried chicken and pizza to Asian-fusion – and restaurants are offering it as a table top condiment. Bakeries are celebrating it in breads and pastries. Food blogger Mollie Yeh even came up with a popsicle-style cocktail featuring ZAHTAR and cucumbers!
Potatoes recipe with Zahtar (Za'atar). Photo courtesy of Pereg

Potatoes recipe with Zahtar (Za’atar). Photo courtesy of Pereg

Pereg ZAHTAR is a blend of 100% pure hyssop, parsley, sesame seeds, ground chickpeas, coriander, salt, and olive oil. All ingredients are fresh, natural, gluten-free, vegan, and OU kosher-certified.

Now that you know all about this trendy “magic dust,” it’s time to give it a try!

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Zahtar Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe:

Recipe Courtesy Shoshie Steinhart, Koshermoms.com

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges

3 Tbsp. avocado oil

3 tsp Pereg Zahtar

1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place sweet potato wedges in a mixing bowl, place. Pour 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 tsp. Zahtar over and coat the potatoes well. (Reserve the rest of the oil and Zahtar for dressing).

Place potatoes on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Meanwhile mix together the remaining oil and Zahtar and honey in a bowl. Drizzle over the potatoes before serving, when the potatoes are still warm from the oven.

Popular Ziyad Brand Zatter Green (Za'atar)

Popular Ziyad Brand Zatter Green (Za’atar)

ABOUT PEREG NATURAL FOODS

Pereg was established in 1906, and is based in Clifton, NJ. They first became known for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.

Today Pereg produces an array of all-natural products that includes ancient grains and ancient grain blends, gluten free pasta, couscous, rice, gluten-free cereal and much more. Pereg Natural Foods products are available at select retailers throughout the US and Canada, and on their website, www.pereg-gourmet.com.

Pereg manufactures all its products from start to finish, controlling the quality from the sourcing until the product is packed and ready for the consumer. All Pereg products are kosher certified by both the Orthodox Union (OU) and CRC, are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many products are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO. Follow Pereg Natural Foods on Facebook.com/peregnatural, Twitter @pereggourmet and Instagram @peregnatural.

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RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

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