Onion za'atar rolls Onion za'atar rolls Israeli Kitchen Photo: MorganStudio/Shutterstock

Onion za’atar rolls

Looking for ways to use up excess flour led to this delicious bread.

  • Yield: Makes 10 rolls
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes

Do you know about the za'atar herb? It's a small green herb related to oregano and marjoram. We have many culinary uses for it in the Mediterranean, and one is to sprinkle it on flat breads before baking. Here in Israel, pizza parlors offer shakers of ground za'atar next to the usual shakers of oregano, for you to spice your pizza up a little more, if you want.

These rolls aren't flat and they hide a filling of sautéed onions. You can find za'atar in Mediterranean groceries or order it online, but you can substitute ground oregano for it in this recipe if you can't get hold of some.


  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dried yeast or 1 cube fresh yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt (divided into 2 plus 1)
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar spice (you may substitute 2 tablespoons plain sesame seeds or a mixture of sesame seeds and oregano)
  • Pepper
  • More flour for dusting
  • More olive oil for drizzling


Chop the onions coarsely. Fry them in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until they are golden – about 10 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

Add sugar, flour and 2 teaspoons salt to the yeast water. Mix well.

Knead briefly to obtain a smooth dough.

Cover the dough and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Leave them on a floured surface.

Choose a piece of dough and roll it out into a fat square.

Lay a tablespoon of seasoned sautéed onions along in the center of a square.

Bring all the sides of the dough square up and pinch them together to make a closed package. Turn the dough package over and rub it gently between your palms to give it a rounded shape.

Do the same with the remaining pieces of dough.

Cover and let the rolls rise for 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 375° F (200° C).

Just before putting them in the oven, brush olive oil over each one and sprinkle with za’atar.

Bake the rolls for 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.

These savory little breads are cool because you don’t see the filling until you bite into one and then – oh my onion goodness.

Related Topics: Baking, Mediterranean

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