Growing up Lebanese means zaatar manakish have been a breakfast staple for as long as you can remember. Zaatar is a Lebanese spice mixture made up of dried thyme, sesame, sumac, salt, and olive oil. It is used in the making of this delicious flat zaatar bread that is so popular in Lebanon.
Manakish zaatar are made with simple ingredients but taste heavenly. The smell of thyme infused with olive oil spread on dough as it bakes in the oven is something else. We're all used to buying manakish zaatar from our local bakery but it's also so simple to make them at home.
The taste is just as divine and the process can bring the whole family together. Ready to make some manakish? Let's go.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Dry zaatar spice: Zaatar is a mixture of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. You can buy ready-made zaatar mixes available in Middle Eastern grocery stores, trader joes, or online. I mix my own blend at home. This is just because it allows me to determine the flavor my family likes by adding less sumac and salt. If you want to customize the blend's flavor according to your taste, I recommend that you buy the zaatar blend ingredients separately and combine them at home. If you would like to make your own za'atar spice, see the section below.
- Olive oil: I like to drizzle a little bit of extra olive oil on each flatbread before popping it into the oven.
- Teta's homemade dough (ajeen recipe): My favorite recipe for Lebanese dishes. Its ingredients are as follows: active dry yeast, vegetable oil, milk, salt, sugar, flour, egg, and water. If you are short on time, you can use ready-made pizza dough, whole wheat biscuit dough, and dinner roll dough.
How To Make Zaatar Spice
Homemade zaatar spice is easy to make, just mix 1 heaped tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon sumac, and a dash of salt. The dry zaatar blend is then mixed with olive oil prior to spreading on the flatbread dough.
Is Manakish Healthy?
Though a zaatar manouche is considered a calorie-packed breakfast, it does boast several healthy elements. For one, the zaatar is super healthy and includes several ingredients that are packed with antioxidants. These include the dried herb and sumac. In Lebanon, we also serve manakish zaatar filled with greens, tomatoes, and other vegetables. This adds to the health benefits related to this dish.
Zaatar Manakish Variations
- I sometimes make this using wholewheat dough by swapping all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. I also love sprinkling some chia or flax seeds into this dough to add to its nutrition value.
- Manakish can also be made using dough that's made out of oat flour or gluten-free flour. This version is perfect for people with food intolerances.
- Manouche zaatar extra: This manouche version gets its name from local bakeries where it is sold packed with vegetables and "extras" or additions. From fresh mint to tomatoes and even cheese the Lebanese add pretty much everything to their manouche.
- Zaatar w Labneh: This is one of my favorite versions. To make it basically add some labneh, a thick Lebanese strained yogurt, to the manouche.
Tips and Tricks
- The secret is all in the dough: The more we let it rest, the better. Kneading it a few times during the resting phase also makes a huge difference. Check out this full recipe for the perfect manakish dough.
- If short on time, use store-bought dough. This recipe is the best when making the dough from scratch, however, if you are short on time, use store-bought dough. Suitable options are pizza dough, whole wheat biscuit dough, and dinner roll dough.
- Watch that oven: I always make sure I don't over bake manakish. All they need is around 12-20 minutes in the oven (just until the dough is done).
- Don't overdo it with the zaatar mixture: I spread a teaspoon of zaatar mix on every rolled out dough portion (a circle that's usually double the size of my palm). If I add more the mixture will end up drenching the dough or running over its sides. So always make sure to keep the amount of zaatar mixture you add proportional (this changes depending on the size of your dough).
How To Serve Manakish?
A manouche can be served and eaten all by itself especially if we're grabbing it from a bakery on a busy day. However, when we do have time to sit down for a manakish zaatar breakfast feast, we do it right. There's an array of dishes that work really well on the side of a plate of manakish. These include labneh (Lebanese dip made with strained cow milk's yogurt), Lebanese white cheese chunks, and marinated olives.
I often eat manakish with a side green salad or sometimes even a bowl of fatoush. I also sometimes serve mini manakish pastries alongside hot and cold mezze. No matter what I've served these with, they've always made for an incredible addition.Print