Grilled Chicken with Za’atar

MAKES 4 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes to marinate • COOK TIME: 5 minutes

Can you say “za’atar?” Sure you can. In fact, if you lived in the Middle East, you’d be invoking the name of this herb-and-spice mix nearly every day. Za’atar has long had a reputation as a brain enhancer, and science may be providing a clue; researchers wrote that, in low concentrations, the carvacrol found in oregano and thyme may increase feelings of well-being. Chicken is particularly rich in brain-enhancing nutrients. This recipe makes about half a cup of za’atar, which is a lot more than you need for the chicken; store the extra in a jar and use to sprinkle on top of vegetables, dips, salad dressings, fish, eggs, or anything you would like to add a touch of the exotic.


2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon dried sumac
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried marjoram


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts or thighs
2 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh parsley, for garnish
My Everything Drizzle

To make the za’atar, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside 1 tablespoon to season the chicken and reserve the remainder for other uses.

To make the chicken, put the olive oil, za’atar, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Working with one piece at a time, put the chicken between several layers of parchment paper and pound with a meat pounder until about 1/4 inch thick. Put the chicken in a pan in which the pieces fit without overlapping. Spread the reserved tablespoon of za’atar evenly over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Bring the chicken to room temperature. Oil a grill or grill pan to and heat to medium-high heat. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until the chicken is firm to the touch and the juices run clear, 2 minutes on each side.

Serve garnished with the parsley and the drizzle.

COOK'S NOTE: Giving your chicken a good pounding will allow the flavor to infuse into the meat in as little as 15 minutes of marinating time.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.