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Kalyn's Kitchen

Effie’s Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar

Effie’s Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar was one of those must-make-again recipes from the first bite and this tasty salad low-glycemic, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Easy Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar!

Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar found on KalynsKitchen.com

Every now and then 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.  When Jake and I tried this Easy and Amazing 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 Effie’s salad!

In late 2011 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, where she lives.  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 has 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 was one of the first things I tried. And I was pretty sure Za’atar would taste great on cottage cheese, and it did!

When we ate this Jake and I wondered how different the cottage cheese in Israel is from what we call “cottage cheese” here, but even if this version is a little different from the 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.  (If anyone has ideas for uniquely American ingredients that are not too heavy to mail, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!)

Effie’s Easy Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar is a perfect Meatless Monday dish for tomorrow, although it has now joined my mental list of favorite lunch salads, so I’ll be eating it often any day of the week.

Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar found on KalynsKitchen.com

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, which I’ve loved in so many recipes. (You can buy Za’atar from the Spice House if you don’t have a nice person offering to send you some!  That’s not a sponsored link, I just love their products.) And Sumac will be found in most any middle eastern grocery store.

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. Mix the veggies in a salad bowl that’s big enough to toss the ingredients together. Then we topped the vegetables with 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and about a tablespoon of Za’atar. 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!

Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Meatless Recipes with Za’atar:

100% Whole Wheat Quick Bread with Za’atar, Feta, Olives, and Green Onions ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Fattoush ~ The Perfect Pantry
Avocado Toast with Feta and Za’atar ~ Mother Would Know

Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar

This Easy Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar is one you will make over and over.


  • 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 (I used grape tomatoes cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives (I used regular black olives, but Kalamata olives would be good)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • about 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.


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

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low Glycemic Diet / South Beach DietSuggestions:
This Easy Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar is loaded with healthy low-glycemic ingredients, and it would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet as well as other glycemic eating plans. South Beach would recommend reduced-fat cottage cheese and other plans might prefer full-fat dairy, so take your choice!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    54 Comments on “Effie’s Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar”

  1. OMG making this tomorrow ❤

  2. Hi- just to let you know that to balance this out and to make everything pop, it' pretty important to add some acid, as the olives dont quite do it. So I used about three quarters of a freshly squeezed lemon. Also, instead of black olives, may I suggest pitted calamata olives. (i personally think that black olives from a can are an affont to yummy olives everywhere…). You could also substitute the cottage cheese for feta for a yummy change!

  3. Mollie, fun to know. This was pretty spectacular with the American cottage cheese, but I'd love to try the real thing.

  4. Hi Kalyn,

    I think that that 'israel cottage cheese' is almost more like a soft, but more tangy version of our cream cheese, kinda like a greek yogurt sort of tang. It's highly popular and found at EVERY meal, either sweetened with fruit at breakfast (or even savory with za'tar and oil ) and then throughout the day! (I've been there to visit twice) I'm going to see what I can dig up at the israeli grocery here and let you know my results. This will be perfect for going back on phase one!

  5. Stace, I love this salad; hope you enjoy!

  6. I am late in commenting, since I just found this recipe on Pinterest. This looks and sounds so yummy, that I just ordered some Za'atar so that I could make this! I have been looking for some meatless meals and I'm so glad that I found this post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. You can use any seasoning blend that's suitable for sprinkling on prepared food.

    The ingredients in Za'atar are Sumach, Thyme, and Sesame seeds if you have any of those.

  8. Does anyone know what to use in place of Za'atar?

  9. I just started SBD last week and discovered your website today. I love the recipes you post. I imagine you probably already sent the package of goodies to Effie here in Israel, but just as a comment to your readers: Cumin is a common spice in Middle Eastern cooking, we have an abundance of dried cranberries here (sweetened and sugarfree). What we don't have is fresh cranberries, SF maple syrup (we have pure maple syrup here in every supermarket). Mexican spices and Cajun spices are sometimes available here but not always so that would be nice. When I visit the States (I'm originally from Long Island, New York but have been living in Israel for many years)I bring back Cream of Tartar, SF maple syrup and the big bag of Splenda from Costco.
    Effie's salad is also made here with a soft lowfat cream cheese simply called "white cheese" here and it's equally delicious.

  10. Hi Meg,
    So glad you're finding the recipes to be helpful. I loved this salad too! Luckily most of the ingredients here are things you don't have to worry about portion size, but I do like the idea of making a single serving.

  11. I've had this recipe bookmarked since you posted it back in February. I had to wait until we went to Memphis to get some za'atar at Penzey's.

    Because I have portion control issues, I made a single serving of this salad for lunch today. Oh My Goodness! Had I made the recipe as written, it would have become a single serving. I'll be eating this for lunch every day this week. I think I might even like it for breakfast.

    I too am trying to follow the SB way of eating, and find your recipes invaluable to have on hand. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  12. I'd probably just leave them out. I think the salad would still be great.

  13. 'Slap your MaMa' is a blend of Cajun spices that my son LOVES. The name is a laugh in itself.