Gluten free Israel and homemade za’tar!

photo gf israel

 Breathe in, breathe out. Another milestone passed--and this was a biggie! I have looked forward to and dreaded the 8th grade Israel trip since Nursery school and now in a blink it is over.

We heard stories about rafting, za’tar making, goat herding, a chocolate factory, the "really nice" hotels, the cool guide and the hysterical medic.

The gluten free boy was nervous the night before the trip--he wasn't sure how he would handle his food. Even though I packed food- he didn't know what he would eat, who would carry his epi-pens, he didn't like that he had an extra suitcase for food.

After all the diligence, planning and packing he is home in the same condition as which we sent him. Actually, he is in better condition. He knows he can handle his allergy in a country as far away as Israel. He knows to pull out the allergy translation card and ask for help in a foreign coffee shop or small market.

Below is a recipe for homemade gluten free za'tar. Za'tar is a divine middle eastern seasoning which can be found all over Israel.  The gluten free boy didn't eat the za'tar in Israel because of possible cross contamination.  I sent him with a jar of homemade za'tar--he loves it mixed with olive oil and dipped with warmed gluten free pita. In the Chicago area the best gluten free pita can be found at Rose's Gluten free bakery--Whole foods also sells it frozen!

Homemade gluten free za'tar


  • 1 Tablespoon ground sumac*
  • 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • available at speciality spice shops*


  • combine all ingredients in a small bowl- store up to 2 months in air tight container.
  • combine all ingredients in a small bowl- store up to 2 months in air tight container.

I have compiled a short list of Israeli items which are considered gluten free. Please check all labels and ask for a translation before eating anything!

Gluten free Israel- this is a store which sells only gluten free items. You should be able to order ahead and they will deliver to your hotel.

Magnum Ice cream bars—chocolate covered or with nuts. Found in small stores all over the country.

New Olim chocolate factory—chocolate is ok“Spoke with the chocolate factory at the Kibbutz this morning. The chocolate and the ingredients used in the workshop are all gluten free. There are items for sale in the gift shop that are not gluten free such as brownies and cakes.”

Aroma Coffee shops Coffee slushies at aroma coffee shops—OK. They also have some packaged gluten free rolls and brownies.

Coffee slushies found at other places: Please read ingredients—you are looking for the words GLUTEN, WHEAT, OAT, BARLEY, MALT-
‘It seems that the “slushy” type ice coffee comes in a mix and then the ice is added:
Dextrose, glucose solidified vegetable syrup, stabilizers-E340.E486,E331, cocoa, milk, good flavoring, color flavoring, stabilizers, emulsifier, liquid whey and anti-caking agent-E551. These ingredients were found on the back of the large bag of the mix.”

Apropo chips-by OSEM like American bugles.  

29611 apropo corn snacks view 1
 Apropo corn snacks 

Bamba peanut snack by Osem-looks like a Cheeto but has a peanutbutter taste.

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gluten free pita, hummus and za'tar
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homemade gluten free za'tar


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