One skillet Za'atar Chicken with Grain-free Orzo and Herbed Tahini is the most amazing weeknight dinner. This dish is full of za'atar spice, lemon, and garlic and drizzled with zesty herbed tahini dressing. It is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and ready in under an hour!
How to make this recipe
The first step in making this recipe is to rub Za'atar spice, paprika, olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper all over some chicken and marinate it for a minimum of 30 minutes all the way up to 12 hours. Next, place the chicken in a hot skillet with some oil and pan-sear it until brown on both sides.
While the chicken is browning, make the herbed tahini by placing everything in a food processor and blend. This is a quick and easy dressing that takes about five minutes. The herbed tahini will be drizzled on the chicken after it's done cooking.
Lastly, grain-free orzo from Jovial Foods is added to the skillet with lemon juice and chicken stock before being finished in the oven. Once cooked, drizzle with the herbed tahini and serve with Paleo naan or tortillas for an incredibly easy and delicious weeknight dinner.
Jovial Foods grain-free orzo
If you're like me and are on a restricted diet, finding foods to eat at family dinners or to replace your old favorites can be difficult. Leaving foods out of your diet can leave you feeling like you're missing out and feeling deprived. Having companies like Jovial Foods make replacements that taste good and taste like the real thing is amazing.
The grain-free orzo from Jovial foods is what you will want to use for this recipe. Jovial Foods is a food product company making all kinds of pasta. When I ate gluten, their rice-based pasta was always my favorite. It wasn't like other gluten-free pasta that turned to mush but rather felt slightly firm and held up well to meat sauces. They recently came out with a cassava-based grain-free pasta line including grain-free orzo and of course, it's my favorite grain-free pasta.
What is za'atar seasoning?
Za'atar seasoning is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spice blend typically made of dried oregano, dried thyme, marjoram, sumac, and sesame seeds. It is extremely flavorful and a little goes a long way.
What spice is similar to za'atar?
The closest za'atar spice blend substitute would be Italian seasoning. It contains a lot of the same ingredients like dried oregano, thyme, and marjoram. Italian seasoning can easily be used in place of Za'atar. If you want to make your own za'atar spice blend, try this recipe from Hildas Kitchen Blog.
How do you use za'atar in cooking?
Za'atar seasoning can be mixed with olive oil and lemon juice and used as a quick marinade for chicken and beef. The spice can be added to your favorite meatball recipe for a Middle Eastern flare. If you make naan or tortillas, brush on some olive oil and then sprinkle with za'atar for some added flavor. Even sprinkle it on avocado toast, breakfast eggs, or a big green salad. The options are endless!
Paleo naan recipes
I love serving cassava tortillas from Ms. Modify on the side. She labels them as tortillas and works great as tortillas for Taco Tuesday, but I think they are a perfect naan substitute.
Naan and Tortilla substitutions
If you do not want to make homemade naan or tortillas, considering buying from the store to make dinner that much easier. My favorite store-bought grain-free tortillas are from Siete foods. The almond flour and cassava flour tortillas are the best in my opinion. They are not as thick as traditional naan but would work great to help scoop up all that delicious orzo.
What equipment I use to make this recipe
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Braiser
Le Creuset recently came out with their Enameled Cast Iron Braiser and it has been one of my favorite additions to my kitchen. I use it to make this Za'atar Chicken with Grain-free Orzo along with everyday foods like frying bacon, making eggs, etc... It is chip and crack resistant, easy cleanup, and most importantly, gets the best sear on meat and prevents sticking. It's a great skillet to have in your pots and pans repertoire and I highly recommend it.
Cuisinart Immersion Blender
If you do not have an immersion blender or also known as a stick blender, you are truly missing out! The clean-up is so incredibly easy. I will never go back to using a food processor or blender for small amount recipes. The herbed tahini in this recipe can easily and be made in a food processor but having a stick blender eliminates some of the dirty dishes.
Za'atar Chicken with Grain-free Orzo and Herbed Tahini
For the za'atar chicken:
- 2 # chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp za'atar seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ yellow onion, chopped, about ¾ cup
- 2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
- 1 package Jovial Foods Grain-free Orzo
For the herbed tahini:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ¼ tsp salt
- pinch of black pepper
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the za'atar seasoning, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper, and mix well. Add the chopped chicken breasts and toss to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a cast-iron or large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a drizzle of cooking oil to the skillet. Once hot, remove the pieces of chicken from the marinade and sear on both sides. Keep the remaining marinade. Don't throw it away! Do not worry about cooking the chicken all the way. It will finish in the oven.
- Once the chicken is browned on both sides, move to the edge of the pan and add the yellow onion. Saute for about one minute. Add the remaining marinade to the pan along with the lemon juice, chicken stock or broth, and the grain-free orzo. Move the chicken around in the liquid so no orzo is on top and that the pasta is covered. Place the entire skillet in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the herbed tahini by adding all the ingredients to a food processor or food blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside until the chicken is cooked.
- Once the timer goes off and the chicken has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove and allow to cool slightly before serving. Drizzle with the herbed tahini and enjoy!
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