Turkish Za’atar and Veggie Phyllo Tart

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Featuring a delicious blend of spices, the surprise star of this recipe is the sauce. Cinnamon, cumin, chili, mint, shallots and a pinch of tart sumac marry beautifully with tomatoes and roasted veggies atop flakey phyllo, all sprinkled generously with za’atar for an authentic Turkish finish.

This sauce is also excellent for pasta or flatbread pizza, or served with grilled vegetables, rice and lamb. For a vegan version, simply omit the cheese and butter.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 min
Difficulty: moderate
Cook time: 30 min


Turkish Tomato Sauce
1 shallot, diced fine
1 T garlic, minced
3 T extra virgin olive oil 1/2 T smoked paprika
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t chili flakes or Aleppo
1/2 t ea salt and pepper pinch of ground sumac
1 T brown sugar
15 oz can crushed tomatoes 1 T tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 T fresh mint, chopped

Roasted Veggie Phyllo Tart
1 ea red and yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 sm eggplant, sliced 1/4″
1 sm red onion, wedged
1 ea sm zucchini and yellow
squash, thinly sliced
3 T + 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil pinch ea salt and pepper
1/4 c butter, melted
7 sheets phyllo, thawed
2 oz feta, crumbled za’atar*


Turkish Tomato Sauce
In a saucepan over medium heat, saute shallot and garlic in olive oil until softened and fragrant, approx. 2 min. Stir in all spices and sugar, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and mint. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat down to low, cooking 10 min, until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. The sauce can be made in advance and chilled in an airtight container up to one week.

Roasted Veggie Phyllo Tart
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cut vegetables with 3 T olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Ensure eggplant is especially well- oiled for best results; add more oil, if needed. Spread vegetables on parchment-lined sheet pan(s) and roast until veggies are softened and beginning to color, approx. 15 min, then remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, combine melted butter and 1/4 c olive oil. Cut phyllo sheets to fit tart pan with slight overhang. Using pastry brush and working quickly, oil/butter tart pan, then place sheet of phyllo into pan, brush phyllo all over and repeat with remaining sheets, brushing each sheet well with more oil/butter. Top phyllo with a thin layer of Turkish Tomato Sauce, roasted vegetables and feta. Bake 25-35 min, until crust is deep golden brown. Serve warm, topped with a generous sprinkle of za’atar.