Za'atar Chicken & Lentils


Za'atar, a mixture of herbs traditionally used in Middle Eastern cooking, takes this braised chicken recipe from basic to brilliant. Add French green lentils, chopped carrots, and green olives to make it a one-pot meal.

Za’atar Chicken and Lentils in dutch oven pot next to lemon slices
Photo: Blaine Moats
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins


  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed

  • 3 tablespoon za'atar

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion

  • 1 cup bite-size pieces carrot

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup French green lentils*

  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 cup pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, whole or halved

  • Lemon zest

  • Fresh thyme sprigs


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season chicken with za'atar. In a deep oven-going skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until brown. Transfer to a plate.

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and carrots to pot. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, lentils, and tomato paste. Return chicken and juices to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover; braise in oven 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender (at least 175°F).

  3. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Strain remaining mixture, reserving liquid. Add lentils and vegetables to chicken on platter; cover. Return liquid to pot. Boil over medium-high 10 to15 minutes or until reduced by half. Pour liquid over chicken and lentils. Top with olives, lemon zest, and thyme. Makes 6 servings.


French green lentils have a firm texture that holds up to longer cooking methods better than most other varieties so they won't turn to mush in a braise.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

587 Calories
24g Fat
53g Carbs
42g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 587
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 941mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 20.2mg 101%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 4.8mg 27%
Potassium 575mg 12%
Folate, total 18.9mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.5mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.6mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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