Za'atar Is A Powerhouse Seasoning To Add To Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole in a dish
Green bean casserole in a dish - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Green bean casserole may be a classic, but the flavors of the dish don't exactly have much dimension. The original recipe Campbell's created in 1955 called for canned cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, water, and French fried onions, and the only seasonings were celery salt, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Today the brand's recipe is even simpler, only containing the soup, green beans, soy sauce, French fried onions, and milk instead of water.

While the traditional recipe has proven to be loved for many years, if you're looking to change it up, one additional ingredient — za'atar — can make a big difference. Za'atar is a spice mix commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine, and it's made up of za'atar leaves (hence its name), often referred to as black thyme, as well as sumac and sesame seeds. Many za'atar blends also include marjoram, dill, orange zest, and salt, and ones produced in the U.S. typically substitute the za'atar leaves with conventional thyme and oregano (though it's one of the rare spice blends you don't need to buy).

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How Za'atar Can Transform Green Bean Casserole

Wooden bowl filled with za'atar
Wooden bowl filled with za'atar - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Many green bean casserole recipes call for various components to elevate the flavor, like bacon bits to make it more savory and meaty, or mayo as an ingredient for creaminess and extra tang. However za'atar transforms green bean casserole by creating depth of flavor, resulting in a more satisfying and savory dish. So while you might not taste every one of its ingredients individually in your green bean casserole, you'll definitely taste the effects of it.

In addition to introducing an herbaceous quality to green bean casserole by way of its most fragrant ingredients (the namesake leaves are especially pungent), za'atar also adds tartness because of the sumac and/or orange zest. The sesame seeds also add nutty, toasted notes. You probably wouldn't think to add any of these to a green bean casserole, but together they enhance the overall flavor of the dish, complementing the earthiness of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the green beans without making it taste completely unrecognizable from the classic.

How Much Za'atar Should You Add To Green Bean Casserole

Scooping cooked green bean casserole
Scooping cooked green bean casserole - Allison McAdams/Shutterstock

Whether you buy it from the store or make your own homemade za'atar, adding the spice blend to green bean casserole is fairly simple. To ensure you get it in every bite, simply mix it in with the soup along with any other seasoning you want to add to your green bean casserole. Alternatively you can mix the za'atar with the onions or breadcrumbs that get sprinkled on top.

Za'atar generally isn't overpowering so you don't have to be too concerned about adding too much. However, you may want to check the ingredients on the back before you get heavy-handed with it. Some za'atar has salt in it, and you don't want to oversalt your green bean casserole. If it does contain salt, just make sure to taste as you go. Roughly 1 tablespoon of za'atar for every 2 pounds of green beans should be plenty of seasoning to take your basic green bean casserole to the next level.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.