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Smoked beets with za'atar

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've been wanting to use za'atar, a middle eastern spice mix that is mostly roasted thyme. I ran across a recipe for puréed beets with za'atar and so I took that idea and made my version. First I cleaned 6 medium sized beets and saved the leaves. In an aluminum pan I drizzled the larger cut end with olive oil then sprinkled garlic powder, salt and pepper. I then gave them a good covering with za'atar.

I already had my SI #2 going on some pastrami but I added 3 oz of cherry and placed the foil pan in the smoker set at 250 uncovered. After 3 hours I checked them and they needed a bit more time so I pulled them out and put them into my oven at 400 for an hour. I poured a bit more olive oil and added about 2 oz of water then covered with foil. After an hour they came out fork tender.
At this point I peeled them then cubed them. I tossed them with feta cheese crumbles and walnut pieces. Drizzle oilive oil, added more za'atar, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. I also sautéed the beet leaves with olive oil and about 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic. Here's how they turned out. Sorry for blurry photo but was rushing to get dinner on the table.
post #2 of 7
Zatar is a great thing, goes well with those Labna style cheeses & tomato.
I love beets in a that style you showcased here,great stuff .
post #3 of 7

Now that looks lovely! Best use of beets I've seen in ages! Great job! Cheers! - Leah

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'm gonna try to incorporate za'atar in meat smoking next. Likely chicken or turkey.
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by db28472 View Post

Thanks! I'm gonna try to incorporate za'atar in meat smoking next. Likely chicken or turkey.

Have you thought about quail or spatchcock,grilled ,lemon,garlic,EVO zatar sprinkled on just at the end? Just my 2 cents.

post #6 of 7

I agree with Leah. Beautiful job with the beets, and a recipe I've marked for future use.


Za'atar works very well with poultry as Mick says. A chicken recipe (not mine) that I've made in the past with good success follows.


Grilled Chicken with Za'atar



  • 2 heads of garlic, top third cut off
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 3-4-pound chicken, cut in half lengthwise, backbone removed
  • 1/4 cup Za'atar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, seeded, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cumin Aioli



  • Preheat oven or grill to 400°. Put garlic on a large sheet of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and wrap tightly with foil. Roast until tender and golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Let cool.
  • Place chicken in a 13x9x2" glass baking dish. Sprinkle 2 1/2 tablespoons za'atar over chicken. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of skins and into a small bowl; mash into a paste with the back of a fork. Add 4 tablespoons oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, chile, and marjoram; whisk to blend. Pour over chicken; turn to coat. Cover; chill overnight.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill rack with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is crisp and browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of thigh without touching bone reads 150°-155°, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon za'atar, and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Cut each chicken half into 4 pieces and serve on a platter with Cumin Aioli.


Obviously,  the chicken could be smoked for a period of time before finishing in the oven or grill.

post #7 of 7
Good looking recipe , I think it would be a great chicken dish.
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