Monday, February 23, 2009

za'atar chicken and squash

i love squash. all kinds of squash, butternut especially, but also spaghetti. it's an under-utilized vegetable, and that's a shame because it's really quite fun to cook with. i love how it comes to you all whole and packaged up perfectly, and with minimal effort, it turns into perfect strands of vegetable goodness.

fun with food!

this dish features za'atar powder, which is a commonly used herb and spice blend from the middle east. it usually contains thyme, oregano, and marjoram with toasted sesame seeds and often sumac. it's a nice blend, and though it has an exotic name, will taste very familiar and comforting.


1 spaghetti squash

2 tablespoons za'atar powder

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pint cherry tomatoes

small handful of fresh parsley, chopped


preheat oven to 375 degrees.

cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. smear the inside of the squash with olive oil and then coat with za'atar powder and salt. turn cut side down onto a baking sheet and then pop into the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

cut the cherry tomatoes in half. heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. add tomatoes and let them break down slightly, about 5 minutes.
meanwhile, cube the chicken and then add it to the pan with some salt and pepper to taste. then add a sprinkling of za'atar powder and cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. mix in parsley and then remove from heat and set aside.

once the squash is cooked through (pierce with a knife to make sure it's soft), use a fork to remove the individual strands from the skin, discard the skin. mix around the squash to make sure the spices are mixed through and then add to a plate. top with the chicken and tomato mixture and enjoy!

notes: this is so good. spicy (not hot spicy, but flavorful spicy) and totally good for you. low in fat, and no simple carbohydrates...wonderful.

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