Za’atar Chicken Bake

DF GF

This one pan za’atar chicken bake is so delicious and super easy to whip up. The chicken is marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and Middle Eastern spices and then baked to perfection with butternut squash and onion.

If you’ve been reading EBF for a while you’ll know I’m all about quick and efficient meals, and sheet pan bakes are on the menu at least once a week over here.

Today’s recipe for za’atar chicken and butternut squash is 100% inspired from our trip to Israel. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that I had heard about before, but it wasn’t until our trip when we actually made our own za’atar seasoning blend that I became familiar and excited about experimenting with it.

Why You’ll Love this Sheet Pan Meal

  • Perfect for weeknights – you can prep the ingredients in advance and have dinner on the table in under 45 minutes!
  • Delicious meal in one – eat this meal as is or serve with my zesty tahini dressing, which complements the za’atar seasoning perfectly.
  • One pan to clean – is there anything better than very few dishes to clean? I’ll answer that: no!
  • Versatile – eat as is for dinner then repurpose leftovers into a salad or a bowl the next day.
Get inspired by Middle Eastern flavors with this one pan za'atar chicken bake. It's easy to whip up and tastes incredible, especially with a drizzle of tahini dressing. Paleo, gluten-free and whole30 approved. 

What You Need

  • butternut squash – any squash works with this recipe but I love butternut squash. Here’s a simple tutorial for how to peel and chop butternut squash before cooking.
  • chicken breast – I recommend boneless, skinless for easy eating! Chicken thighs will also work.
  • olive oil – the oil base for the chicken marinade.
  • lemon zest and juice – part of the chicken marinade. The lemon adds a pop of flavor!
  • za’atar – a spice blend that is typically a mixture of dried sumac, sesame seeds and other spices.
  • sea salt and pepper – to season the chicken and vegetables.
  • optional for serving – this zesty tahini dressing pairs perfectly with the rest of the ingredients!
Get inspired by Middle Eastern flavors with this one pan za'atar chicken bake. It's easy to whip up and tastes incredible, especially with a drizzle of tahini dressing. Paleo, gluten-free and whole30 approved. 

What is Za’atar?

Za’atar spice blends vary, but our blend has dried za’atar leaves (which are very similar to oregano or thyme), sesame seeds, sumac, olive oil and sea salt. It’s aromatic, herby and salty with a hint of tang from the sumac. In the Middle East za’atar is used as a table condiment, like salt and pepper, so you’ll see people sprinkling it on everything from eggs and oatmeal to yogurt (or labneh) and meat. I personally love it mixed with olive oil as a dip for pita bread!

Since we’ve been home I’ve been experimenting with the za’atar and have almost used our whole jar! I’ve made a few dishes that we’ve loved, and this one pan za’atar chicken bake with butternut squash is definitely a favorite!

If you’re new to za’atar and don’t have it in your spice cabinet, no worries! You can find it at most international or natural grocery stores, or at a specialty spice shop like Penzeys. I’ve definitely seen it at my local Whole Foods.

How to Serve Za’atar Chicken Bake

Like I mentioned above, this is a meal in one that you can serve on its own or add zesty tahini dressing for added flavor. If you want more volume, I recommend serving with brown rice, quinoa or on a bed of greens. Drizzle on the zesty tahini dressing and enjoy!

Za'atar Chicken with Butternut Squash and Red Onion

More Middle Eastern Recipes to Try

The Most Popular One Pan Meals

One Pan Za’atar Chicken Bake

4 from 12 votes
This one pan za'atar chicken bake is so delicious and super easy to whip up. The chicken is marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and Middle Eastern spices and then baked to perfection with butternut squash and onion.
Sheet pan with baked butternut squash, onion, and za'atar chicken.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small, bite-size pieces (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons za’atar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • zesty tahini dressing, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, za’atar, salt and pepper in a small bowl to make the marinade. Reserve 2 Tablespoons to use on the veggies.
  • Coat chicken in the remaining marinade and let sit for at least 30-60 minutes and up to 24 hours; letting the chicken marinate longer will impart more flavor. Toss butternut and red onion in the reserved 2 Tablespoons of marinade.
  • Add butternut and onion mixture to a large baking sheet (for easy cleanup, line sheet with parchment or a silicone liner). Create space between the veggies and place marinated chicken on the sheet as well. Place in the preheated oven, uncovered. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until butternut squash pieces are easily pierced with a fork and chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately. Drizzle chicken and veggies with tahini dressing, if using.

Video

Notes

Feel free to swap tofu for the chicken to make a vegetarian/vegan version of this recipe!

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion Calories: 494kcal Carbohydrates: 34g Protein: 49g Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 125mg Sodium: 1054mg Potassium: 501mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: za’atar chicken

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    10 comments
    1. SHLOMO
      November 25, 2020 AT 9:09 am

      5 stars
      hi Brit. there is no such thing as za’atar leaves. za’atar in english is thyme….so just wanted you to know the difference.

      you can also take za’atar and mix it with thick, unrefined olive oil, then spread it on your pita for an amazing, rich, flavourful snack. BE CAREFUL! za’atar is absolutely addictive once you start putting it on foods you love.

    2. Lisa
      April 21, 2019 AT 12:44 pm

      5 stars
      I haven’t heard or tried several of the ingredients in this recipe before. The picture looked so appealing I had to try it! My husband & I really liked it! Thanks for getting me out of my comfort zone! I did refrigerate the leftover dressing, any idea how long you think it would last?

    3. Tina
      March 26, 2019 AT 1:22 pm

      This is my new favorite dinner recipe! I have not used Za’atar before and my entire family enjoys it, even my 3 year old. Thank you!

    4. Alicia
      October 6, 2018 AT 1:27 pm

      5 stars
      Forgot to rate it… 5 stars!

    5. Alicia
      October 6, 2018 AT 12:57 pm

      Delicious, Brittany! I’ve been stalking your website for a while now. First recipe I’ve made. Such a creative combination of flavors and textures. Just right for this time of year. And the zesty tahini dressing definitely ties things up with a nice little bow. Thank you!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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