You don’t need to toil away in the kitchen: if you throw beautiful things on a beautiful plate, you have a beautiful meal. Even if none of it requires skill, dexterity, or any meaningful effort!

(See alternate Japanese-ish version here citrusy-seaweedy-spicy Shichimi Togarishi).

Easy, breezy, backyard casual!  All it takes is 3 minutes to prep, another 8 on the grill. Your squash comes off flavorful and tender. It has grill marks. It’s vegan. Everyone is happy.

And you can do so much with it! Plate your squash with other Mediterranean goodies, like in the photo (feta, olives, chopped salad, hummus), or alongside grilled merguez sausage. Or chop it up, and toss onto a salad. Or stuff it in a pita bread with some tahini sauce and pickles. Or make a sandwich, with Bulgarian ajvar spread, and melted cheddar.  

What’s Za’atar? Za’atar is a Middle Eastern seasoning blend, ubiquitous across Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. Not all za’atar is the same, but a good one will be tangy and herbaceous, redolent of herbs, sumac berries and toasted sesame. Some za’atar is salted. I’ll recommend you get one that isn’t — or that’s salted only very lightly. (I’ll also add that the za’atar we sill in our bulk bins in the refillery is excellent, and very fresh). 

Traditionally you sprinkle za’atar on hummus (with a generous drizzle of olive oil), or thick yogurt-like labneh cheese (with a generous drizzle of olive oil). Or just mix it with straight-up olive oil, and dip bread. It’s also excellent on eggs, and chopped tomatoes. A sprinkle makes avocado toast sublime. 


6 medium summer squash¼ – ½  C nice olive oil
 ¼ cup Za’atar2-3 cloves garlic (optional)


  1. Cut the squash lengthwise into planks, roughly as thick as a pencil.
  2. Press or very finely mince the garlic into the oil with the Za’atar
  3. Coat the squash with the oil-za’atar mix. You can either toss and mix it in a big bowl, or brush it on with a pastry brush. I prefer the pastry brush, as it’s hard not to break the squash otherwise. Add salt as desired. 
  4. Grill about four minutes per side, on medium flame, on a preheated grill. (Flip with tongs).