This Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar is a recipe that was sent to me by a reader, and this was one of those must-make-again recipes from the first bite. If you don’t have the middle eastern spice mix called Za’atar, use any dried spices that you like on tomatoes.

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Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar shown in serving bowl with Za-atar and forks on the side.

Sometimes I try a recipe and from the very first bite I know it’s something that I’m going to be making over and over again, and when Jake and I made this Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar, we couldn’t stop exclaiming over how fantastic it was. But just as fun as the salad itself is the story of how I happened to be making this delicious salad with cottage cheese, cucumbers, olives, and tomatoes!

I learned about this salad when I got an e-mail from a reader named Effie who told me she enjoys the blog, and she offered to send me some spices from Israel. I love Middle Eastern flavors, so I was excited when a few weeks later I got a package with lots and lots of different spices, plus recipes!

Effie’s package had so many new things I’m having fun experimenting with, but since I was at least a little familiar with Za’atar, this cottage cheese salad with Za’atar Spice Mix (affiliate link) was one of the first things I tried. And I was pretty sure Za’atar would taste great on American cottage cheese, and it did!

And even if this version of cottage cheese salad is slightly different from the authentic one Effie says is a favorite of her kids, we simply could not stop eating it. Many, many thanks to Effie, and now I am working on a package to send back to her!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

  • cucumbers, preferably small Persian cucumbers or mini-cucumbers
  • fresh tomatoes (see notes)
  • green onion
  • sliced olives (see notes)
  • cottage cheese
  • olive oil (a generous drizzle)
  • Za’atar Spice Mix (affiliate link)

Za'atar spice blend from Black Cherry Market

What is Za’atar?

Za’atar (pronounced zaa-tuh) is a middle eastern herb plant called bible hyssop or Syrian oregano in English, but the name most often means a blend of spices that always includes thyme, powdered Sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. Authentic Za’atar often has Hyssop instead of thyme. Za’atar Spice Mix (affiliate link) is widely available, even in the U.S. The Za’atar you see in the photo above is the brand that’s recommended at my favorite Black Cherry Market in Salt Lake, where they sell a wide variety of middle eastern foods.

Can you make this Cottage Cheese Salad without Za-atar?

If you don’t have the middle eastern spice mix called Za-atar, I would love this salad with a middle eastern spice called Sumac (affiliate link), which is one of the ingredients in Za-atar. And if you don’t have either of those just season the salad with any seasonings you like on fresh tomatoes.

What is Cottage Cheese like in Israel?

When I searched for information about cottage cheese in Israel, I discovered it’s one of the most popular dairy products sold there. Israeli cottage cottage seems to be thicker and creamier than the American version, and it’s a staple in Israeli homes.

What Cottage Cheese did I use?

For both sour cream and cottage cheese in America, I’m pretty loyal to Daisy brand, which I think is creamy and delicious, and Daisy Cottage Cheese is something that’s almost always in my fridge. (For the record, this company has never given me any cottage cheese and I’m sure they don’t even know that I’m alive.)

Effie's Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar

How to make Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar:

(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)

  1. The Za’atar Effie sent me was very green compared to what I had seen here, and the flavor was amazing.  Za’atar contains Sumac (affiliate link), which I’ve loved in so many recipes. 
  2. For four servings of salad, I cut up 4 small Persian cucumbers, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup sliced green onion, and 1/2 cup sliced olives.
  3. Mix the veggies in a salad bowl that’s big enough to toss the ingredients together.
  4. I used my favorite Daisy cottage cheese.
  5. We topped the vegetables with 1 cup cottage cheese, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and about a tablespoon of Za’atar.
  6. Stir together, and enjoy, with more Za’atar to sprinkle on at the table for people like me who can’t get enough of this flavorful spice mix!

Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar cropped image with salad in serving bowl and Za'atar on the side.

More Tasty Recipes where you can use Za’atar:


  • 4 small Persian cucumbers, cut in fourths lengthwise and then into slices (Persian cucumbers are sometimes called mini-cucumbers in U.S. stores)
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives (see notes)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 T olive oil (a generous drizzle)
  • 1 T Za’atar (more or less to taste)


  1. Cut the Persian cucumbers into fourths lengthwise and then cut into slices.  (If you have to use regular cucumbers, they may need to be fully or partially peeled.)
  2. Dice the tomatoes, slice the green onions, and slice the olives.
  3. Combine the vegetables in a salad bowl, large enough to toss the ingredients together.
  4. Put the cottage cheese on top of the tossed vegetables.
  5. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkle with Za’atar to taste, and toss again.
  6. Serve right away, with more Za’atar to be added at the table.


I used grape tomatoes cut in half. I used regular black olives, but Kalamata olives would be good.

This recipe is from a generous reader named Effie who lives in Israel.  Effie says this salad is a favorite of her kids.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 169Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

Did you make this recipe?

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating (under the PRINT button in the recipe) or share a photo of your results on Instagram! THANKS!

Effie's Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar finished salad in serving bowl

Low-Carb Diet / Low Glycemic Diet / South Beach DietSuggestions:
This Cottage Cheese Salad is loaded with healthy ingredients, and it would be great for low-carb eating plans. You could also eat this for any phase of the original South Beach Diet, but South Beach would recommend reduced-fat cottage cheese!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2012 when a reader named Effie sent me the recipe. I made it quite a few times since than, and it was last updated with more information in 2023.

Pinterest image of Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar

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