Makes 1 cup.

Note: Find sumac in the spice aisles of many grocery stores and co-ops; it adds a distinct lemony tang. If sumac is not available, substitute equal amounts of dried lemon zest. The sesame seeds are best toasted; to do so, place them on a baking sheet in 350-degree oven until golden, about 2 to 4 minutes. If Aleppo chile flakes are unavailable, use red pepper flakes. This variation on za’atar is from Beth Dooley.

• 1 tbsp. dried thyme, crushed

• 1 tbsp. dried oregano

• 1 tbsp. ground cumin

• 1 tbsp. ground coriander

• 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. sumac (see Note)

• 1 tsp. coarse salt

• 1/2 tsp. Aleppo chile flakes, optional (see Note)


Place all of the ingredients into a small bowl and combine. Spoon into an airtight container or spice jar.

Za’atar and Lemon Roast Chicken

Serves 6.

Note: The za’atar spice mix is available commercially prepared or make your own (see recipe). Find the blend at specialty shops (i.e. Penzeys and the Golden Fig) and in the spice isles of co-ops and groceries. For extra flavor, coat the chicken with the oil and za’atar and set in the refrigerator, uncovered, for an hour or overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 large free-range chicken, cut into pieces (about 3 1/2 to 4 lb.)

• 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling

• 4 tbsp. za’atar (see Note)

• 2 yellow onions, sliced thin

• 4 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1 large Meyer lemon, thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, oil and za’atar until evenly coated.

Spread the onion out on a roasting pan and scatter the garlic on top of the onions. Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the onions and place the lemon slices over the chicken.

Roast, turning the pan once or twice, until the chicken is brown and crispy and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced, about 45 to 55 minutes. Serve on a mound of barley pilaf, wild rice or farro.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 380 Fat 25 g Sodium 180 mg

Carbohydrates 6 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 32 g Cholesterol 100 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 4 ½ medium-fat protein, ½ fat.