I am so excited to share this week's recipe with you all, not only because it's incredibly easy and delicious and making me more excited for all things roasted, warm, and fall, but because this is my first entry for The Recipe ReDux challenge!
What is the Recipe ReDux you ask? Essentially it's a recipe challenge created by and for registered dietitians that poses a culinary challenge each month. The term "redux" in Latin means to revisit or reinvent, and it is the mission of the RR and RDs like myself who choose to contribute to reinvent the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach.
September's ReDux challenge is sheet pan meals. Who doesn't love a weeknight dinner that requires only a few simple ingredients and one piece of cooking equipment (give or take a knife, cutting board, and a spoon or two)? While sheet pan meals can be made any time of year, I usually find that root vegetables and poultry or beef are better suited for turning on the oven during the colder fall and winter months.
After a weekend with my in-laws, where I ate my fill of flavorful dishes paying tribute to their Persian roots, I knew I wanted to make a recipe with za'atar. Za'atar is a spice blend popular in the Middle East that is a mixture of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano, and salt. Living in New York City I was lucky enough to find it premade at my local, run of the mill supermarket, but if you live in a part of the country with a less diverse ingredient selection, you can always find the spices and seasonings and make your own!
For inspiration all things Middle Eastern, I turned to and tweaked a recipe from Yotam Ottonlengi to make the chicken, and went according to my taste buds for the veggies. The smells coming from my oven as this pan roasted away were heavenly. Had my oven been a tad larger and able to accomodate my largest sheet pan, I would have done this in one stage; however, NYC ovens are made for teeny tiny footprint apartments, requiring me to prepare the full recipe as two batches- don't think I'm tricking you if you notice only half the ingredients on the pan in my prep pictures!
After the sheet pan was washed and the chicken and vegetables were divided up into lunch containers, I did dirty one more pot to cook up some quinoa for a more complete meal. Want to include a grain but still abide by the ease of the sheet pan? I recommend some sliced red or fingerling potatoes, which will cook in ample time with the rest of it all.
Lunch will be served with a bite of pickled red onions and a cooling dollop of plain Siggi's yogurt because I'm all about the accoutrements and keeping lunchtime a fancy affair.
Do you have any sheet pan meals in your back pocket? If you're looking for inspiration, check out recipes from my fellow ReDuxers, just click on the image at the bottom of this post!
Roasted Za'atar Chicken with Cumin Maple Vegetables- serves 3
1.5 pounds chicken- a mix of skinless legs, breasts, or thighs, whichever you prefer
2 tablespoons za'atar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 medium lemon, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup olive oil
3 medium size carrots, scrubbed, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise
5 cups cauliflower florets
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt to taste
Toppings to serve- cilantro or other fresh green herb (oregano, parsley), pickled red onions, plain yogurt
On the side- cooked grain (quinoa, brown rice, bulgur) or roasted potatoes
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the chicken by placing it in a large mixing bowl or plastic ziplock bag in order to marinate it. Add the za'atar, crushed garlic, lemon slices, and olive oil. Let rest in the fridge for 1 hour or even overnight.
In a bowl, toss the carrots and cauliflower florets with the cumin, maple syrup, and light drizzle of olive oil. A pinch of salt can't hurt either.
Place marinated chicken and dressed vegetables on the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Test that the chicken is done cooking by using a meat thermometer (you're a-okay when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees) or peeking at the inner flesh to ensure it's no longer pink.
Serve with an already prepared grain, or the side-by-side roasted potatoes, and with the suggested toppings or any of your own choosing!