Za’atar Chicken Flatbreads with Chickpeas and My Little Black Book

These grilled na’an flatbreads are topped with Middle Eastern chicken and fried chickpeas. After that it’s all up to the za’atar sauce to bring it together. Oh man! This is good!
Naan flatbread topped with fried chickpeas and grilled chicken

Ever since I started blogging I’ve kept a little black notebook in the kitchen so I can actually write down the dishes I’ve cooked and their measurements. My little black book might be a bit dull if you are hoping for lots of phone numbers and special contacts, but I’ll bet my book is much tastier than THAT kind! I’m only sorry that I didn’t do this throughout my years of cooking, because I bet I’ve lost a lot of great recipes. And food ideas and places I loved to go, and words I love to use. What does your little black book contain? Tell the truth now!

I know one thing I wish I would have had was a little black book of dinner parties, and attendees, and menus. It seemed silly when I was young, but it was just the other day that someone mentioned to Manservant that a person he worked with way back when, still raves about a dinner he had at our home some 20 years ago. The sad thing is that I don’t remember that person, but I must say that it makes me feel good knowing he remembered the occasion. Now if I had a book, I’d have been able to look that up and probably would have had some great memories of the evening. So starting now, I’m going to start a book and keep track. I figure I have at least 20 more years of entertaining ahead of me and there is no time like the present-right?


But back to my little black book…  I came across a few recipes that I’ve never posted for some reason or another. And looking at the pictures I took made me hungry. Yes, it’s about time to write these up and share. Since I’ve been on a Middle Eastern kick with the chicken and the skakshuka I thought I would give you another that I came up with. This one came about when I looked at what was in my fridge and pantry and when I put everything together, it became a filling and simple dinner.

I used ground chicken, but any ground meat combo would work with ground lamb being the most traditional. You can grill these patties or you can pan fry them. Grilling is great if your weather allows. You can dress these up or down. I served them on grilled na’an bread but pita could also be used. For that matter, there really is no need for bread except it makes up about 4 of my five food groups. I totally love bread! Rice or farro or quinoa would make an appropriate base and as you can see from the photo, I had leftover rice, so I just dumped it on to this flatbread, too. This is one fast way to clean out the fridge!

Hope you like this. It is just another  invention from my kitchen that actually made it to the little black book. Whoever thought a little black book was just for secret phone numbers?


Za’atar Chicken Flatbreads with Fried Chickpeas

Yield: 2-4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
1 lb ground meat
2 T za’atar
1 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves minced
1 T chopped parsley
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/2 t salt
1/2 to 1 t harrisa or chili paste
Na’an bread or Pita brushed with oil and grilled or lightly posted
Combine all ingredients together and stir well. I use my hands to really knead the meat mixture to get a good, fine texture.
Using 2 T of meat, form into patties, which should give you about 12-16 patties.
Set aside until ready to use. The longer this sits the more flavor the meat takes on.
When ready to grill, brush with oil especially if using chicken, because it is very lean. For other meats, use your discretion. If you don’t want to grill feel free to pan fry these and then take them out of the pan and keep them warm. Or shove them to one side and you can cook the chickpeas in the same skillet. Lots of good flavors that way!

Fried Chickpeas
1 T olive oil
3 T minced onion
1 minced jalapeno
1 minced garlic clove
1 chopped Roma tomato
1 can of drained garbanzos
1 T chopped parsley
Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet on medium high heat. Add onion, jalapeno and garlic and saute until lightly colored. Add tomatoes and garbanzos and cook, stirring often, until garbanzos crisps up and turn a soft golden color. Stir in parsley and salt to taste.

Za’atar Yogurt Sauce
3 T thick Greek yogurt
1 t harrisa
2 t za’atar
2 T buttermilk
1 T mayonnaise
1 t olive oil
1 t minced parsley
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk.

Take your grilled bread. Spoon on some chickpeas. Top with a few patties. Drizzle on some sauce. Garnish with optional ingredients.  My mouth is watering right now!
Other Optional Ingredients:

Chopped Feta Cubes
Chopped Parsley
Hot Sauce
Leftover Rice
Chopped and Seeded Cucumber
Chopped Red Peppers

The above may be used on top of the flatbread and meat. User discretion is advised to not make this so unwieldly as to not be able to pick this flabread up. In which case, there are such implements as a knife and fork!

More Great Middle East Inspired Recipes
Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
Baba Ganoush
Israeli Salad
Roasted Za’atar Chickpeas
Chicken with Figs, Pumpkin and Red Wine
Chicken Sofrito
Moroccan Fish with Saffron Aioli and Chickpeas
Spinach Salad with Za’atar, Dates and Almonds
Kadaif or Middle Eastern Cheesecake
Ma’aneesh with Za’atar


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These grilled na'an flatbreads are topped with Middle Eastern chicken and fried chickpeas. After that it's all up to the za'atar sauce to bring it together. Oh man! This is good! #MiddleEasternfood #za'atar #sandwich

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  • Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    April 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, wow! This looks incredibly good!!!! Really, really incredibly good! I especially love that yogurt sauce – yum! And, I enjoyed your story of your black book! I'm right there with you! I have massive college-ruled notebook-binders of recipes I'm testing. They're food-stained with multiple-colored markings signifying changes I make as I test all the different parameters of a recipe through all the different versions. And, I try to keep lists of what I make when I entertain – but I don't always quite get around to that. You've reminded me to try harder on that one! lol! 😀

    April 2, 2014 at 2:25 am

    I have fallen in love with Na'an and use it for pizza night. (There's a post in the works.) I bet your flatbread creations are really tasty with such great toppings, Abbe. I must branch out a bit and give them a try. T+Your black book is a great idea. Like so many others, I wish I had started one years ago. 🙂

  • Biz
    April 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    MY mouth is watering – love everything about this dish, and actually just noticed that my store sells ground lamb. I may cheat and buy tzatziki sauce – I used to make it but my store sells a 16 ounce container for $1.99 – done! Thanks for sharing this Abbe!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 2, 2014 at 2:27 am

      This would taste great with lamb, Biz! And I love tzatziki sauce! Love to share, Biz!

  • Karen Harris
    March 31, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    My little black book is probably my little red notebook that I keep in the kitchen to jot down recipes as I write them. There are probably 50 ruffled pages of shorthand like scribbled recipes. Like you I would have loved it if I would have recorded my dinner party menus and guest lists. Oh well, thank goodness for our blogs, that is the ultimate diary. Thank you so much for this gorgeous recipe. I'll add this to my list of summer grilling recipes.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 2, 2014 at 2:26 am

      Blogs are the ultimate diary! This is definitely a great grilling recipe!

  • Carol at Wild Goose Tea
    March 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    This is the 3rd time now in a week that I have run across the Za'atar spice. That cinches it. I am on the hunt. I need to get a little black book too—-one that I literally keep handy in the kitchen. I forget to write changes I make that I like. Often I don't measure and that poses a problem of re-creating a recipe or even sharing it. This looks delicious. I love flat bread anyway.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 2, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Za'atar is wonderful Carol,as long as you like thyme and sesame. It is a really fresh, kind of woodsy taste. I've loved it since i first tasted it!

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    March 30, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Wow, this is one amazing flatbread Abbe! In my 20's, I started a recipe book with all my favorite ones, hoping that someone would find it in the future and be thrilled to have all the good and tried ones in one place. Guess the internet took care of that, didn't it? lol!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 2, 2014 at 2:24 am

      It did, Paula! And that's why I started a blog so my kids would have most of it in one place!

  • Amy
    March 30, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Your flatbread looks and sounds amazing. Wish I have one for late night snack now. 😛 A little black book is a great way to keep track of things. I usually write things down on little piece of paper or whatever I could find. Guess I need a better system.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      It is hard isn't it Amy? And you strike me as so well organized!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    March 30, 2014 at 1:57 am

    These flatbreads look like they would hit the right spot for YUM! I really need to straighten up my kitchen notebook and binder, it's really messy and basically hasn't been cleaned up in over a year. 🙁

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      At least you have one to straighten. So sorry I didn't do it long ago!

  • Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    March 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I have a big blue book that hold photos and notes from dinner parties years ago. I keep meaning to blog about it and never do. I'm glad I have it. And this chicken flatbread looks amazing.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Lucky you, Lea Ann! And thank you!

  • Daniela Grimburg
    March 29, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Your little black book as back up for posts and recipes is a great idea, Evelyn.
    I keep one on entertaining about which Menue we served, names of guests, possible allergies or food restrictions and it is very helpful.
    But it never occurred to me to keep one for blogging. With your permission I'll copy this idea 🙂
    The flat bread looks amazing, love the addition of chick peas.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      No problem, Daniela! From now on I think I will make a little black book a wedding or shower gift!

  • Nazneen Hamilton
    March 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I've had spiral notebooks with recipes, attendees and food I made. Not in any neat order or for any particular reason but when I planned my parties preblog, I would write down all the people to get a headcount, and then the dishes I would be making and sometime the recipes, esp if they came from a magazine. I did that for everyone and now I realise how useful and cool that is! I look back at those spirals and remember the party. I still do it now but its more digital now. Our books are way more precious than any other black book with names of people, besides those numbers are kept digitally too 🙂
    Your flat breads look awesome!! I love zaatar, naan, rice, chickpeas….everything good is going on in this meal. Hope to see you soon. Hmmm, wonder if I'll make it into your black book…….

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Very smart, Nazneen! I hope some of your good habits rub off on me. Especially that great photography! And soon we will meet!

  • Barb | Creative Culinary
    March 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I guess my little black book was my website I started 20 years ago…and most of those recipes have YET to make it over to this blog; I needed a reminder to do that. Things dated many years ago are just recipes; no photo, no story but still a nice digital reminder for my!

    This sounds so good Abbe; maybe partially because I am in love with na'an right now. Costco shopping means buying in bulk and I fear eating it in bulk too! 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      You were very smart to start back then Barb! I wish I would have. But as someone says, there is no time like the present! Thank goodness for that!

  • mimi rippee
    March 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Beautiful! Looks delicious. I only started my book when I started blogging. So sad.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      I know what you mean Mimi! Wish i had done a lot of things sooner!

  • Angie Schneider
    March 28, 2014 at 4:29 am

    I have the book(s) too .-))
    This looks droolworthy with all those toppings…can't beat chickpeas, can you?

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      You really can't Angie! Yes, I bet you have a lot of books!

  • Bam's Kitchen
    March 28, 2014 at 3:35 am

    These photos make me hungry too. I have a little black book, well actually it is a little red book, to capture my recipe creations in the kitchen too. I am glad you were looking back at some of your oldie but goodie recipes so that you could share with us this wonderful recipe. Pinning this one!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks for pinning Bam! I try to write down what I do now in case I decide it is good enough to publish. This was good enough and I'll have to make it again! Hurray for little black/red books!

  • Adam J. Holland
    March 28, 2014 at 2:51 am

    You had me at "fried." Seriously though, this post is one of my favorite things about (my favorite) food blogs — I wouldn't think of this recipe in a million years. Thank you! 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      I'm not sure I'm believing that Adam, but thank you just the same! Those were really good chickpeas!

  • Ansh
    March 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Right from the beginning your post made me smile. My daughter got me a little "red" book and told me to write down the recipes exactly how I make them so she can keep that book. She was 10 and the book was really small. So we could get in a couple of recipes in there..LOL

    This recipe is Phenomenal. The best kind of dishes are the ones we just put together. I love it.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      You must have a very smart daughter, Ansh! Now buy a bigger book! Thanks you!

  • Rosita Vargas
    March 28, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Ohhh me encanta la combinación refinado aperiyivo,abrazos:)

  • Liz Berg
    March 28, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I started writing down dinner party menus years ago…but back then, my memory was sharp enough not to forget, so I backed off. Wish I had kept it up! I'm glad you found this winner in your little black book…it sounds amazing!!!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      I think the hardest part is keeping it up. And that means everything!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    March 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I need a black book! I've got loads of scraps of paper with notes and recipes from precomputer days, and loads of notes and recipes on computer. Actually I started my blog in an effort to make sense of some of it! I really wish, too, that I had started something listing all the dinners and menus we've had — I've forgotten way, way too many. Anyway, this dish is certainly worth entering into anyone's black book! Great flavors, and I love the fried chickpeas. Thanks.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      April 1, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      I still have plenty of paper but slowly, this book is helping! It was a very good concoction!