almonds, dates and spices on parchment paper

These savoury roasted almonds are loaded with homemade Za’atar spice and just a hint of sweetness from dates are easy to make and a nice change from the usual salted nut mix. They’re a perfect vegan snack mix for parties, movie night or homemade gifts.

I don’t know about you…but I eat a LOT of raw almonds. I’m living that dietitian cliche on that one, alone with my love of kale salads and dark chocolate! It’s just that almonds are so incredibly nutritious, so I am always dreaming up new ways to enjoy them, whether it’s an almond parmesan here on the blog for sprinkling on all your favourite pasta dishes or the million or so baking recipes with almond flour in Eat More Plants Cookbook. My almond love is even funnier when you learn that my husband actually has an almond intolerance and acts like I specifically want to hurt him every time I come up with a new recipe, ha!

But sometimes, even I have to admit that I need a break from plain almonds so I can enjoy these nutrient-dense nuts with a lot more flavour! These simple Za’atar-spiced roasted almonds with Medjool dates are one of those perfect plant-based recipes for snacking that feel special but they’re actually super easy to make!

What is Za’atar spice?

Before we go any further, you might not be too familiar with Za’atar, so let’s start there.  Za’atar is an Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spice blend that has as many variations as cooks who make it. Some blends keep it simple with just three ingredients and others are more elaborate. Herbs and spices you might find in Za’atar blends include:

  • Sumac: The only spice you probably don’t have in your cupboard currently, it’s bright red and made from dried berries with a tart, lemony taste. Look for it online or in Middle Eastern markets. In Vancouver, you can actually find sumac (and pre-made za’atar!) at Superstore.
  • Oregano: Za’atar actually gets its name from a type of wild thyme called hyssop, Syrian Oregano or Za’atar. Italian thyme and oregano isn’t exactly the same but creates a similar flavour profile.
  • Thyme
  • Sesame seeds
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Coriander
  • Hyssop: Za’atar seasoning actually gets its name from a type of wild thyme called hyssop, Syrian Oregano or Za’atar. Italian thyme and oregano isn’t exactly the same but creates a similar flavour profile in this simplified blend.

Gather Your Ingredients for Za’atar Spiced Roasted Almonds

If you have Za’atar on hand, you’ll need just 5 ingredients to make this nourishing snack mix! You can substitute 2 rounded tablespoons of Za’atar for the herb mixture I’ve listed in the recipe for those who might not have Za’atar in their pantry.

  • raw almonds
  • Medjool dates: Medjool dates are the most caramel-like in flavour in texture but Deglet Noor dates are also fantastic. The key is you want tender, moist dates. Dried out dates won’t be as delicious.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: a little oil enhances flavour and helps the Za’atar mix cling to the nuts
  • lemon zest: creates another layer of flavour
  • Herbs + Spices: If you have Za’atar in your pantry, use it! Otherwise, I’ve created a simple mix of oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac to create the Za’atar flavour.

Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are one of my fave everyday ingredients because they have so much nutrition to offer—and they’re super versatile. I snack on almonds, create plant-based ‘cheeses’ out of almonds, and bake with almond meal. I even added them to my A-Z high fibre food list.

A quarter cup of raw almonds contains:

  • 7.5 g protein
  • 4.5 g fibre
  • about 10% of your daily calcium (97mg)
  • there are also 97mg of magnesium to support your nervous system, and heart health
  • Just over 1mg each of iron and zinc for energy and immunity
  • small amounts of choline (important for plant-based diets) and folate

Almonds have great crunch and they are a wonderful way to wean yourself off of hyper-processed and starchy snacks.

This za’atar spiced roasted almonds would be awesome at your next party (double the batch!!) or just to keep on hand for an upgraded desk snack.

More Nourishing Vegan Snack Recipes

almonds, dates and spices on parchment paper

Za’atar Spiced Roasted Almonds with Medjool Dates

These addictively spiced almonds get just a hint of sweetness from dates. Easy to make, perfect for entertaining or everyday snacking, it's a major upgrade on plain nuts.
5 from 11 ratings
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Roasted Almonds and Dates

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • zest of one lemon, or more if you wish

DIY Za'atar Spice (or 2 rounded tbsp of Za'atar)

  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon thyme


  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  • Place almonds and dates on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Toss well and place in the oven for 10 minutes to gently toast almonds.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Sprinkle with lemon zest, oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, thyme (or za'atar) and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and toss thoroughly.
  • Taste and adjust salt or lemon zest as you wish. Let fully cool and then transfer to an airtight container for up to two weeks.


If you don’t have sumac, you can substitute more lemon zest, perhaps from another whole lemon. Not an exact match, but same flavour profile!