Za atar Chicken with Chickpeas

Za'atar Chicken

Love recipes with za’atar? This za’atar chicken is grilled, laid on a bed of chickpeas, topped with a za’atar sauce and placed on grilled na’an or pita bread. It is good! Really good!

Recipes with za'atar/ za'atar chickenI love recipes with za’atar which means this za’atar chicken is right up my alley. Middle Eastern recipes are some of my faves and this healthy ground chicken recipe brings back memories of Israel where it seemed wherever you walked, one could not escape the aroma of grilled food.

Shashlik, shish kebab, grilled chicken, grilled lamb, skewers of goodness, all of it was enough to make your mouth water.This recipe for za atar chicken reminds me of those visits.

I think I devised this recipe because I loved those skewers and I love za’atar which can now be found in my local market, run by Kroger.

So what is za’atar?

Za’atar is related to thyme and oregano and grows wild in the Middle East. In the late 70’s in Israel, it was discovered that wild za’atar was almost on the verge of disappearing so they made it a protected species.

It probably was known as hyssop in the bible.

Now za’atar seasoning is commonly composed of thyme, oregano or marjoram, possibly sumac which has a lemony taste, salt and sesame seeds, but everyone has their own favorite combination. There are many brands out there and I leave it to you to find the one you prefer.

I actually buy mine from a Middle Eastern grocery in an unmarked bag. There are some varieties that are more brown, but I prefer the green.

Recipes with za'atar chicken

There are so many recipes with za’atar and once you have it in your spice cabinet you will find many ways to use it.

I love it baked on ma’aneesh. I love it with labneh and pita. I love to use it in dips or on popcorn. And of course, I love it on chicken!

Ground chicken is what I used in this recipe, but ground beef or lamb could also be used. Mix up the meat mixture with za’atar, garlic, onions, parsley and harissa and form into meatballs or small patties.

Set aside or refrigerate until ready to cook. The longer they sit, the better the flavor gets.

You can grill these patties or you can pan fry them., but the grill flavor is excellent.

Now saute some chickpeas or garbanzo beans until they crisp up and take on some color.

Make the za’atar yogurt sauce that is so so simple and so good.

Don’t know what harissa is? 

Harissa is a North African chile paste that often contains caraway, cumin and coriander. I buy the Mina brand at my regular grocer. We even use it in cocktails.

Za'atar Chicken with chickpeas/ recipes with za'atar

The fun thing about this za’atar chicken is that you can use these tasty patties so many ways. Place them on flatbread or stuffed in pita, or serve them over saffron rice.

They’d also be great on a salad!

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 along with 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’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?

Whoever thought a little black book was just for secret phone numbers?

Need A Few More?

Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
Baba Ganoush
Israeli Salad
Roasted Za’atar Chickpeas
Chicken Sofrito
Moroccan Fish with Saffron Aioli and Chickpeas
Spinach Salad with Za’atar, Dates and Almonds

Spinach Salad with Za'atar, Dates and Almonds
Kadaif or Middle Eastern Cheesecake


I’d Love it if You’d Follow Me and Pin and Share:

This is an updated post from March, 2014.
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za'atar chicken flatbread

Za atar Chicken with Chickpeas on Flatbread

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


Za’atar chicken meatballs are a star on your favorite flatbread, rice bowl or salad. Enjoy this grilled Middle Eastern treat and see how good za’atar tastes!



Za’atar Ground Chicken Patties

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 to taste
Na’an bread or Pita brushed with oil and grilled or lightly toasted

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

Za’atar Yogurt Sauce

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

Additional Toppings:

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




Chicken Patties:

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!

Cook or grill for about 5 minutes or until brown on both sides!

Fried Chickpeas:

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:

Mix all ingredients together whisk well with a whisk.

To assemble: 

Take your bread of choice and place chickpeas on top. Place chicken patties on top of chickpeas. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with your favorite toppings.


Feel free to use these chicken patties however you would like!

Keywords: za'atar recipes, za atar chicken, Middle Eastern recipes, recipes with za'atar, healthy ground chicken recipes


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  • Chef Mimi
    July 24, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Fabulous! And I have everything I need to make these, although not “true” flatbreads. My husband won’t care!!!

  • Healthy World Cuisine
    July 22, 2021 at 7:32 am

    These are the kind of recipes we like to make on Friday night. Get everything ready and let everyone make their own delicious flatbread. Your toppings sound amazing. We always have zaatar on hand so we are ready to go.

  • John / Kitchen Riffs
    July 21, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Flatbreads are so versatile, aren’t they? They’re wonderful as-is, of course, but I really like to use them as “plates” as you’ve done in this dis. Such nice flavors and textures in this, too. Really good stuff. 🙂 Thanks!

  • 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!