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Za atar Chicken with Chickpeas

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 chicken

I 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


Za’atar Chicken with Lemon and Red Onions

Za'atar Chicken in skillet

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

Za atar Chicken with Chickpeas on Flatbread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • 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!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Chef Mimi

Saturday 24th of July 2021

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

Healthy World Cuisine

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

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

Wednesday 21st of July 2021

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

Saturday 19th of April 2014

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! :D

Wednesday 2nd of April 2014

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. :)