Friday, September 14, 2012

Everythingtastiful recipe for this week: Fresh Za'atar Salad

One of the best parts with Lebanese cuisine is that most of their foods are healthy and are being prepared using the freshest ingredients. Wanna share one of our favorite salad, we seldom make this salad 'coz the za'atar leaves are not always available in the super market. So what is Za'atar?  If you live in the Middle East region or probably have eaten in any Middle Eastern restaurant, Za'atar is commonly being served and use in salads, breads, and as a seasoning. It belongs to the family of Middle Eastern herbs - oregano, thyme and Satureja. I first encountered Za'atar in a dried herb form, mix with sesame seeds, dried sumac, salt and other spices. I love mixing it with some olive oil and spread it with toasted bread. And later on, discovered that one of the Lebanese restaurant here occasionally sells fresh Za'atar. Za'atar has a long green leaves and has similar flavor like thyme.


I was told by a Lebanese friend, that there is an old belief that za'atar makes the mind alert and makes the body strong. That's why her mom used to tell her to eat za'atar sandwich in the morning before she go to school. Well, up till today there's is no actual study which will proof that this is a fact. But anyhow, like any other herbs Za'atar has a good benefits,- such as eating it with bread helps digest the heaviness of the bread and can prevent many digestive and allergic reactions related to bread. Mixed it with boiling water and sweetened with honey, the fresh herb is a safe cure for stomach problems and cough/sore throat.

Well for me no matter what is the health benefit that za'atar can offer, I always consider any green leafy vegetable as a great nutritional boost to any diet.

Bone a petite!



Ingredients:

one bunch of fresh za'atar* leaves

1 medium size white onion (sliced)
1 cup green olives (stoned and sliced lengthways)
1 tsp sumac*
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
salt to taste

1. Removed the leaves of the zaatar from the stem and clean in a running water.
2. Drained the leaves/pat dry and place in a salad dish.
3. Add the onion and olives.

Salad dressing:

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt.
5. Pour the lemon dressing in the za'atar salad.
6.  Sprinkle with sumac.

You can service this with grilled chicken or meat or eat it with pita, or enjoy as is!

*You may find this with your local Middle eastern food shop


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