Za’atar Pizza

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Delicious fresh pizza that is crisp on the bottom and chewy, with fragrant olive oil, salt, and za’atar – this Lebanese flatbread is insanely easy and tasty!

A plate of bread with sesame seeds on it, known as a za'atar manakish or za'atar pizza.
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A Za'atar pizza, also known as za'atar manakish, is sitting on a pan with seeds on it.

Lebanese Za’atar Pizza

Za’atar pizza is a delightful Middle Eastern twist on a classic favorite. Start with your favorite pizza dough and roll it out. Spread olive oil and a generous amount of za’atar spice mix on the dough. Top it with some crumbled feta cheese, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Bake until the crust is golden and enjoy your savory za’atar pizza!

It’s a tasty blend of flavors you’ll love.

The first time I had authentic za’atar pizza, I was in the home of a Maronite Catholic Christian woman living in Jaffa, Israel – the hipster Arabic city a stroll south of Tel Aviv. We made a whole lenten feast since it was Cheesefare Sunday (a date I was the only one to observe from our group, since I was the only Orthodox Christian there) packed with fresh vegetables, rice, and spices – Doris is an amazing host who brings guests into her home to learn her family’s recipes, about life in Israel as an Arabic Christian – it’s an awesome afternoon of coffee, food, and so so much fun.

One of the dishes Doris made for us for our vegetarian feast was Za’atar pizza (manakish) – delicious crunchy flatbreads loaded with fragrant olive oil and tangy, savory za’atar. Doris made them on pita bread halves since it was a quick cooking demonstration – but I then sought out more manakish on my trip. I fell hard, fast! It is such a delicious blend of herbs, oil, and dough.

A plate with a stack of manakish, a type of flatbread, with za'atar (a seasoning blend) and pistachios on it.

How to Make Za’atar Pizza

First assemble the following ingredients:

  1. Premade Pizza Dough: basic pizza dough is the base for this pizza, I like to use this recipe!
  2. Za’atar Spice Mix: Za’atar is the star of the topping. It’s a blend of dried herbs, typically including thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, and sesame seeds. Za’atar provides the unique and aromatic flavor that defines Za’atar Manakish. Thyme and oregano offer earthy and herbaceous notes, while sumac adds a tangy, citrusy kick.
  3. Olive Oil: Olive oil is mixed with the Za’atar spice mix to create a paste-like consistency. It not only binds the spices together but also adds richness and a silky texture to the topping. The olive oil also helps the spices adhere to the dough during baking.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness. If using a pizza stone, transfer the rolled-out dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the Za’atar spice mix and olive oil.
  4. Brush the Za’atar mixture evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a small border around the edges for the crust.
  5. If using a pizza stone, carefully slide the parchment paper with the pizza onto the preheated stone in the oven. If not using a stone, place the pizza on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the toppings are lightly browned.
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a minute or two. Garnish diced tomatoes or olives with fresh mint leaves if desired.
  8. Slice your Za’atar pizza and enjoy the wonderful blend of flavors!
A plate with a stack of flatbreads topped with Za'Atar.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Za’atar Pizza

For the Dough:

Use Quality Flour: Start with good-quality all-purpose flour for the dough. It should have a moderate protein content for the best texture.

Properly Activate the Yeast: Make sure the water you use to activate the yeast is warm but not too hot (around 110°F or 43°C). If it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast. A frothy yeast mixture indicates that it’s active and ready to use.

Knead the Dough Well: Spend enough time kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This helps develop gluten, which is crucial for a chewy and airy texture.

Allow Sufficient Rising Time: Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. This usually takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, but it can vary depending on room temperature. A longer rise can enhance flavor.

For the Za’atar Topping:

Use High-Quality Za’atar: Invest in a good-quality Za’atar spice mix for the best flavor. Freshness matters, so check the expiration date.

Adjust Za’atar-Olive Oil Ratio: Customize the Za’atar topping to your taste. If you prefer a milder flavor, use more olive oil; for a stronger flavor, increase the Za’atar spice.

Assembly and Baking:

Preheat the Oven: Ensure your oven is preheated to the recommended temperature (usually around 475°F or 245°C). A hot oven helps create a crisp bottom crust and allows the Manakish to puff up.

Roll Out the Dough Evenly: Roll the dough into rounds or ovals of consistent thickness, around 1/4 inch thick. This ensures even baking.

Evenly Spread the Za’atar Topping: Distribute the Za’atar topping evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. A uniform spread ensures balanced flavors.

Use Parchment Paper or Pizza Stone: To prevent sticking and achieve a crispy bottom crust, use parchment paper or a preheated pizza stone to bake the Manakish.

Check for Doneness: Keep an eye on the Manakish while baking. It should be golden brown with slightly crispy edges. Don’t overbake to maintain a soft interior.

Serving:

Serve Fresh and Warm: Za’atar Manakish is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven or shortly after baking to preserve its flavor and texture.

Traditional Accompaniments: Serve with fresh vegetables, olives, and labneh (strained yogurt) for a traditional Middle Eastern experience.

FAQs

What is za’atar, and why use it on pizza?

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that typically includes thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. It adds a tangy, nutty, and herbaceous flavor profile to pizza, offering a delightful twist on traditional toppings.

What ingredients do I need for za’atar pizza?

Besides your pizza dough, you’ll need za’atar seasoning, olive oil, and your choice of toppings such as cheese (like mozzarella or feta), sliced tomatoes, olives, or red onions. Some also like to add a drizzle of labneh or tahini for extra flavor.

What are some recommended toppings for za’atar pizza?

Traditional toppings include fresh tomatoes, olives, thinly sliced red onions, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. After baking, fresh herbs like mint or parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice can enhance the flavors.

How can I make my za’atar pizza crust more flavorful?

In addition to covering the dough with a za’atar and olive oil mixture, you can also incorporate some za’atar into the dough itself for an extra flavor boost throughout the crust.

Is za’atar pizza suitable for a quick weeknight meal?

Yes, za’atar pizza is perfect for a quick meal, especially if you use pre-made pizza dough. The preparation is simple, and the baking time is short, making it an ideal choice for a busy weeknight.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftover za’atar pizza in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until warm and crispy, about 5-10 minutes.

A plate with a stack of pita bread and pomegranate seeds on it, sprinkled with Za'atar seasoning.

What to Serve With Za’atar Pizza

Fresh Vegetables: Serve a platter of fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and bell peppers. These provide a cool and refreshing contrast to the warm and aromatic Za’atar pizza.

Olives: Offer a selection of green and black olives for a briny and salty side that complements the flavors of Za’atar.

Labneh: Labneh is a strained yogurt that’s tangy and creamy. It’s a classic accompaniment to Za’atar Manakish and helps balance the flavors. You can drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of Za’atar for extra flavor.

Feta Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese pairs wonderfully with the Za’atar topping. It adds a creamy and slightly salty element to the meal.

Pita Bread: Warm pita bread is an excellent choice for scooping up bites of Za’atar pizza or for making small sandwiches with the toppings.

Pickles: Middle Eastern pickles, such as pickled turnips or cucumbers, provide a tangy and crunchy contrast to the Za’atar’s earthy flavors.

Sliced Onions: Thinly sliced red or white onions add a refreshing crunch and a touch of sharpness to the meal.

Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro for a burst of freshness and color.

Lemon Wedges: Serve lemon wedges for squeezing over the Za’atar pizza to add a zesty and citrusy kick.

Tahini Sauce: A simple tahini sauce made with tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and water can be drizzled over the pizza or used as a dip.

Baba Ghanoush: This roasted eggplant dip is a flavorful companion to Za’atar pizza. Its smoky notes complement the dish nicely.

Salad: A light salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes dressed with a lemon vinaigrette is a great side dish for a balanced meal. Try this Israeli salad!

Try these other favorites:

A person holding a piece of bread with Za'atar sprinkled on it.

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A plate with a piece of bread with sesame seeds and Za'atar on it.
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Za’atar Pizza

Pizza with za'atar seasoning transforms the classic dish with a Middle Eastern twist, infusing the crust with an aromatic blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac for a unique and flavorful experience.
Course pizza
Cuisine Israeli
Keyword flatbread, Lebanese bread, middle eastern bread, pizza, seasoned bread, za’atar
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 12″ pizzas
Calories 101kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

For Za’atar Topping

  • ¼ cup Za’atar spice mix
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats.
  • Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness. If using a pizza stone, transfer the rolled-out dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Za'atar spice mix and olive oil.
  • Brush the Za'atar mixture evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a small border around the edges for the crust.
  • If using a pizza stone, carefully slide the parchment paper with the pizza onto the preheated stone in the oven. If not using a stone, place the pizza on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the toppings are lightly browned.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a minute or two. Garnish diced tomatoes or olives with fresh mint leaves if desired.
  • Slice your Za'atar pizza and enjoy the wonderful blend of flavors!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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