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.
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.
While in Israel we made jars of za’atar to take home with the ladies of Sindyanna of Galilee, a really cool non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working to create social change from the ground up.
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.
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.
This particular one pan bake is perfect for weeknights because once the chicken is marinated and the veggies are chopped — two steps that you can totally do in advance — the dish only takes about 10 minutes to toss together and 30-40 minutes to bake. Once cooked, the chicken and veggies can be served as is or topped with a drizzle of my zesty tahini dressing, which complements the za’atar seasoning perfectly.
One thing I thought about after taking the photos for this recipe is how awesome it would be as a salad. If you’re up for trying it as a salad, just follow the recipe as written. Then once the one pan bake is finished cooking, simply chop the chicken and serve both the chicken and veggies over a bed of mixed greens. Drizzle the zesty tahini dressing on top and serve! I’m going to try the salad method next week.
I hope you like this Middle Eastern one pan bake as much as we do!
If you try this one pan za’atar chicken bake let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers.