Crispy Za’atar Chicken and Cauliflower

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crispy zaatar chicken and cauliflower recipe
Meseidy Rivera/Weeknight Gourmet Dinners

There’s nothing wrong with falling back on the usual dinner staples to save time and effort. But Meseidy Rivera’s cookbook, Weeknight Gourmet Dinners, is showing us that switching it up can make any Tuesday night feel special, and you barely have to lift a finger. Take her recipe for crispy za’atar chicken and cauliflower as proof.

“Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds and sumac,” Rivera writes. “It’s very savory and aromatic, and I recommend everyone add it to their pantry.”

“These chicken thighs are seasoned with za’atar and roasted with cauliflower, red onion, lemons and whole garlic until the chicken is tender and the skin is crispy,” she continues. “You put everything on a sheet pan, rub it with seasonings and toss it in the oven. It is a full Middle Eastern–inspired meal.”

Served with basmati rice, warm naan bread or some roasted sweet potatoes, it’s a weeknight dinner dream.

Reprinted with permission from Weeknight Gourmet Dinners by Meseidy Rivera, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020.


2 tablespoons (30ml) melted ghee or clarified butter

3 tablespoons (23g) za’atar

1 tablespoons (15ml) fresh lemon juice

1½ tsp (9g) kosher salt

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4 cups or 400g)

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

3 garlic heads, tops trimmed

2 lemons, halved

2 pounds (905g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 large thighs)


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine the melted ghee, za’atar, lemon juice and salt. Place the cauliflower, onion, garlic heads, halved lemons and chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Add the seasoning mixture and toss until evenly coated. Arrange everything into a single layer on the baking sheet.

3. Bake until the chicken is cooked, 40 to 45 minutes, then broil on high until the skin is crispy, about 1 minute. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the heads and sprinkle over the chicken, then serve.

Note: The chicken can be seasoned the night before and stored in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready to cook, to get your dinner on the table even faster.

Nutrition Facts
  • 705 calories

  • 47g fat

  • 26g carbs

  • 46g protein

  • 5g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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