Grilled Za’atar Chicken and Cumin Eggplant

in the kitchen, Savory | April 12, 2015 | By

Chicken breasts are a staple in our home for their simplicity and their low fat content.  I do love chicken thighs, but I’m the outlier in my otherwise white meat family.  But let’s be honest, because of their lack of fat, chicken breasts can often be dry if not given some assistance.  Marinating your chicken breasts in olive oil, white wine, za’atar and garlic produces a moist and very flavorful piece of meat.  Za’atar (also spelled za’tar, zatar, zatr, zattr, zahtar, zaktar or satar) is a blend of spices used in Middle Eastern cooking.  It is often found on the tables as a condiment throughout North Africa and into Turkey.  I’ve used Za’atar in my hummus and as a seasoning on baked pita chips.

The exact ingredients sometime vary.  The mix I use contains thyme, sesame seeds and sumac.  I’ve seen others that also add paprika, cumin, oregano and salt.    

Because of the Middle Eastern ‘feel’ of the chicken, we wanted to stay with that theme, so added some cumin-rubbed eggplant and a minted-yogurt sauce to top both the chicken and eggplant.  A green salad and maybe some pita bread make this meal complete.

zatar grilled chicken and eggplant with mint yogurt


Grilled Za'atar Chicken and Cumin-Rubbed Eggplant
Serves 4
Grilled chicken marinated in olive oil, white wine, za'atar & garlic. Cumin-rubbed eggplant & a mint-yogurt sauce finish the meal.
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For Chicken
  1. 4 chicken breast, pounded to an even thickness
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup white wine or lemon juice
  4. 2 TB za'atar
  5. 3 cloves minced or grated garlic
For Minted-Yogurt Sauce
  1. 4 TB finely chopped mint
  2. 1 TB lemon juice
  3. 1 cup greek yogurt (we used fat free)
  4. 1 tsp white vinegar
  5. 1 tsp za'atar
  6. 2 garlic cloves, grated
For the eggplant
  1. 1 large eggplant (peel if desired as skin can be tough)
  2. Olive Oil
  3. 1-2 TB cumin (per taste)
  4. 1 tsp salt
For Minted-Yogurt Sauce
  1. We made ours about 9 hours in advance to let the flavors meld. The key is to really crush the mint to release the flavors. We found that adding all ingredients to the food processor and giving them a quick whirl really helped the flavors come together. After mixing, set in refrigerator until ready to serve.
For Chicken
  1. Combine all ingredients early in the day and refrigerate. We let ours marinate for 9 hours.
  2. One-half hour prior to dinner time, heat grill to medium-high and grill for about 6 minutes per side. An instant read thermometer should read between 150' and 160'. Once removed, the breast temperature will continue to rise. The FDA says it should read 165', but you decide how you like it.
For Eggplant
  1. Slice in 1/2" thick rounds
  2. Brush with olive oil and rub with cumin and salt on both sides of slices.
  3. Add to grill when you turn your chicken (after 6 minutes).
  4. Turn eggplant after 3 minutes
  5. They should be ready when the meat is ready.
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  1. Leave a Reply

    April 28, 2015

    yippee! Don’t think we had leftovers, but I imagine they’d be great on a panini! Good idea.

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