Grilled Squash and Asparagus with Zaatar Recipe
Zaatar is used widely in Mediterranean cooking and is a wonderful combination of dried herbs and spices such as thyme, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and oregano. There are other variations of Zaatar in regional Middle Eastern kitchens, sometimes adding lemony sumac, cumin and even fennel.
Whichever blend you happen to buy, Zaatar is high in antioxidants and along with vitamins A and C from the asparagus and squash, this quick and easy to make side dish is packed with nutrition and has a fantastic flavor. You can find Zaatar at any Middle Eastern market and is easy to obtain online too.
Check out my cook’s notes at the end of the recipe for other ways to use this versatile Middle Eastern herb blend.
2 medium zucchini (courgettes)
2 medium crookneck yellow squash
1 lb. asparagus
2 - 3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. Zaatar
1 tbsp. curry powder
1. Mix the salt, Zaatar and curry powder together and set aside. Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/4 inch slices. You can do this by hand, sliced on the bias or on a mandolin. Place the squash into a large bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, Zaatar and curry powder - reserving a little of the spice mixture for the asparagus.
2. Cut the woody ends from the asparagus. Bring some water to a boil in a large pan, approximately 2 inches and place the asparagus in a steamer basket and in the pan and cover. Steam until the asparagus turns bright green and is firm tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
3. Heat your indoor or outdoor grill on medium high for at least 5 minutes. Grill the squash until you achieve nice grill marks on one side, then flip and repeat on the other side and place in a large bowl. This will only take approximately 2 minutes per side. Toss the asparagus spears in the remaining spice mixture and place on the grill. Lastly, slice into bite sized pieces and toss together with the squash.
Here are a few suggestions on other ways to use Zaatar.
Homemade focaccia bread – brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Zaatar. Easy, delicious and is great with curry!
Homemade Pizza – give your pizza a Mediterranean flair by rubbing Zaatar on the dough, crumbled feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Try rubbing Zaatar onto meats, sprinkle on top of hummus, salads or as a seasoning for soups and stews.
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