Zaatar Chicken (or Tofu) with Green Tahini Sauce and Broccolini – a simple flavorful Middle Eastern sheet-pan dinner that is vegan adaptable and gluten-free.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi~
Here is vegan-adaptable, sheet-pan dinner that is full of delicious Middle Eastern flavors. Make this with chicken or tofu (or both for mixed households!) and a double portion of broccolini.
What I love about this meal, besides how easy it is – is how it is loaded up with one of my favorite veggies, broccolini, which pairs well with Middle Eastern flavors.
Use store-bought Zaatar, or homemade Zaatar – and I’ll also show you how to make a quick cheater version, with spices you most likely have on hand. While this is roasting, make the Spring Green Tahini Sauce – a creamy vegan sauce that brings it all together.
If unfamiliar, Zaatar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that varies a bit depending on the region. Most versions include some variation of cumin, coriander, sumac, thyme and sesame seeds. If you can’t find Zaatar, don’t fret, I’ll show you how to make some!
As you can see on the sheet-pan, I served up both tofu and chicken. I kept mine vegan with the tofu, while my husband had a double serving of the chicken. One meal, two ways.
The zaatar spice gives both the tofu and chicken such a flavorful crust.
A simple, healthy, veggie forward dinner that can be easily adapted for different dietary needs.
Place chicken (or tofu) on one side of a parchment-lined sheet-pan. Brush chicken ( or tofu) with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt. Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of zaatar spice – 1 teaspoon, per piece of chicken.
In a medium bowl, toss the broccolini with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Place it next to the chicken on the sheet-pan.
Place all in the oven to bake and check the broccolini after 12-15 minutes. Using tongs, remove it to a plate and cover with foil.
Continue cooking the chicken ( or tofu) until it is cooked through, keeping in mind that bone-in, skin on chicken thighs and legs will take longer to bake ( 30-40 minutes) than boneless skinless chicken breasts ( 20-30 minutes) Tofu filets will take 25-30 minutes.
While this is roasting, make the Spring Green Tahini Sauce. Place all the ingredients in a blender except the tahini paste. Blend until smooth. Then add the tahini paste, blend again until smooth. Taste, adjust salt and lemon. You will not need all the sauce so save some in a mason jar in the fridge to drizzle over buddha bowls, veggies and salads during the coming week. A nice gift to your future self.
Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and legs will for sure have the best flavor, but feel free to use breast meat for lower fat and calories. When choosing tofu -use firm or extra firm tofu. ( I love Trader Joe’s organic, sprouted tofu.) Blot dry and cut into ¾-1 inch thick pieces.
If you can’t find zaatar, sub an equal blend of cumin, coriander and sesame seeds ( 1 tsp each) and a pinch of dried thyme if you have it. Sumac gives zaatar it’s tang, so if you don’t have it, a squeeze of lemon at the end of roasting will mimic this. Make sure to season chicken and tofu with salt.
Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.
THANK YOU FOR THIS RECIPE! This is a staple at our house. I make it every week! My husband and I love everything about it: the green sauce, the roasted broccolini, and the protein of course!!!!
Great to hear Pinaydiva!
This was yummy! I made it with okra since I didn’t have broccolini and it turned out great with the zaatar spice. I actually made the sauce the prior evening but totally forgot about it but it was still delicious. I guess I’ll have to make it with tofu so I can try it with the sauce 😉
Thanks Diane- So happy you liked this! Okra sounds like a yummy pairing!
I made this with tofu and broccoli tonight and it was a delicious, low-carb vegan meal. The zaatar tofu came out crisp and paired perfectly with the sauce. I added rice to my husbands portion since he needs the extra calories. It was very quick to make, had simple ingredients and was full of flavor- definitely will be making this again and again.
Simple and delicious!! Easily doubled for leftovers. As stated, your future self will really enjoy the extra spring green tahini sauce throughout the week. WOW! I’ve eaten it under my morning eggs with tomatoes, and even with pita chips. It’s so addicting!
I saw this recipe on the 4/4/19 email ftom Edible Seattle and I instantly knew it was yours. It looks so good.
Can’t get enough of this! It’s on the menu at my house at least once a week! The sauce is amazing and I put it on everything! I’m always looking for a different seasoning as for my basic baked chicken and this is sooo good. So easy to do and the 1 dish clean up after dinner is a life saver.
Jessika, I’m so glad you tried and liked this one! One of my favorites~!
This recipe is just perfect. Perfect in that it comes together quick and easy (with only a piece of parchment to throw away as clean up!). Perfect in that there’s a meat and vegan option…which works out perfect for my husband and I (I’m not vegan or vegetarian but definitely a meat-lite eater). I have a jar of the tahini sauce in my fridge which worked its way on top of some salmon later in the week. I will definitely be making again! Thank you.
I’m curious the difference between Syrian and Israeli Zahtar besides color.
Are they interchangeable ? I have both on hand and wondering which to use in this recipe.
Hi Kate, just try them, and see what you like better. Most likely one is more herb heavy. But both would work, just different flavors….just take a pinch and taste it and see what you think. They are all so different!
Definitely planning to make this in the upcoming week, I love zaatar. I appreciate the fact that your recipes accommodate both vegetarians and meat eaters.
This looks like another interesting sheet-pan dinner. That green tahini sauce looks quite delicious. I’ll have to look for some broccolini at my local market. You did not mention this… so I will… if one does a search of your recipes they will find a separate page just for your Zaatar recipes. It gives several variations to try.