Za’atar is a seasoning blend that has been around for a longggg time. I am a fan of archaeology and anthropology….and this little tidbit really got me when I was doing some research on this seasoning blend to find it’s origins “archaeologists have found evidence that the herb was used by Egyptian Pharaohs“. That’s crazy! Makes me love it even more.
You will find variations of the ingredients depending on what region your za’atar originates from – but generally it’s a combination of sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano, thyme, sumac and coriander.
Making marinades for your grilled chicken takes it from a 7 to a 10, every time. This marinade is a keeper. What I mean by that is, keep this in your arsenal and pull out when you need something delicious, quick and a stunner. The za’atar with the lemon and cilantro make a citrusy, tangy, delicious bite.
This chicken gets 2 thumbs up from kids and adults alike.
Here’s how you make it:
Simply chop your cilantro, mince your garlic, grate the ginger and zest and juice your 2 lemons….and add to a large mixing bowl or Ziploc bag. NOTE: you can easily use ginger/garlic paste if you have it…..if you do have that, then I’d suggest 2-3 tablespoons for this recipe.
Now all you have to do is add the rest of the ingredients (salt, pepper, oil) and stir – add in your chicken thighs and let marinate for 2 hours or overnight. NOTE: this marinade still shines if you are making this quickly and only have a little bit of time to let it marinate. Don’t worry if you don’t get in the full hours. I promise it will still taste great!
Grill over medium to low heat — I have a propane Weber grill and I grilled it at 2 notches before the lowest setting — the temperature hovered around 350.
I find cooking it on a relatively low heat helps the chicken cook evenly without burning the outside too much. Grill for about 8-15 per side (the variation in time is dependent on the thickness of your chicken….you know how it is, sometimes chicken thighs are thin and small, other times they are large and thick).
Once cooked thru, remove from the heat and you can let it rest for a few minutes before digging in.
I served ours with grilled onions and peppers, a few Arabic breads and labneh yogurt.
Za’atar and Lemon Grilled Chicken ThighsCourse: Chicken, Dinner, GrillCuisine: ArabicDifficulty: Easy
3 pounds chicken thighs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, about 1 cup
3 T. za’atar
3 T. avocado oil
2 T. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
5-8 garlic cloves (dependent on your preference) (see note below)
1″ ginger, grated (see note below)
- Make the marinade: Mince your garlic, grate the ginger, zest and juice the lemons and add to a large bowl (or a ziploc bag). Add in the za’atar, oil, salt and pepper, and mix.
- Add the chicken to the marinade and let sit for as long as you have…up to 24 hours. 1-2 hours is fine.
- Grill the chicken: heat up your grill to medium/low heat. For best results, keep it around 350 – 375 degrees.
- Grill the chicken for 8-15 minutes per side, flipping the chicken to ensure it is thoroughly cooked thru.
- You can sub the ginger and garlic with ginger garlic paste if you have it – I suggest 2-3 Tablespoons.
- This marinade still shines if you are making this quickly and only have a little bit of time to let it marinate. Don’t worry if you don’t get in the full hours. I promise it will still taste great!