Bringing you all some springtime vibes with this Lebanese Chicken with Charred Lemon Cauliflower. Grilled (or roasted) Lebanese style chicken, served with a charred lemony cauliflower and herb salad, and the most deliciously addicting garlic yogurt sauce. It doesn’t get more delicious than this grilled chicken…simple, healthy, extra colorful, super flavorful, and so delicious. A fun switch-up from the usual chicken dinner.
And just like that, I’ve really begun to embrace the springtime recipes. We’ve been in quarantine “lockdown” mode for so long now that I’m craving anything fresh and anything different. Yes, I love my pasta and all my cheesy comfort food recipes, but some nights need to be different. And let’s be real, it might not feel like spring here, but we’re in the last week of April. I sure hope it feels more like spring where you are, because, you guys, it’s definitely spring!
So springtime eats it is. This means herbs (fresh or dried) on just about everything, and strawberries for dessert.
Enter this chicken. It’s my favorite recipe of the week. Inspired by Lebanese Shish Tawook (grilled chicken skewers) and my eldest brother’s love for Persian cuisine. I view this recipe as street food, but a bit healthier, and much more colorful too.
Honestly, we can’t get enough of this recipe. I actually served this dish two nights in a row. My brother Creighton, who has been quarantined here with us in Colorado, is obsessed. He said it beats out his favorite Cleveland Lebanese “street food” spots. If you know Creighton, then you know this means the recipe is GOOD. And since I had all the ingredients in the fridge…and we’re avoiding the grocery stores…I figured why not. I love making that kid happy!
The details…start with the chicken!
I want to say that this Lebanese chicken with charred lemon cauliflower. isn’t as hands-off as some of my other recipes, but the extra prep time is worth it. And please do know, this recipe is still so simple. It comes together in under an hour using a good mix of pantry, fridge, and freezer staples.
Start with the chicken. I marinate the chicken in quite possibly one of my favorite marinades. It’s a combination of olive oil, tomato paste, smoked paprika, plenty of garlic, and lots of lemon (always so much lemon). If you’re familiar with Lebanese style chicken, this is the more traditional marinade for Lebanese Shish Tawook, grilled chicken skewers. It’s simple yet delicious. The tomato paste, garlic, and lemon are key.
Now, when I say marinate, I really just mean toss the chicken in this mix and let it sit while you get everything else for the bowls together. I’m not sure about you guys, but I can never plan ahead enough to cook a recipe requiring a long marinating time.
It almost never happens…
So, I do a quick marinade. It works.
Moving onto the cauliflower.
While the chicken “marinates” roast the cauliflower. Find yourself a good sheet pan and toss the cauliflower with some olive oil, lemons, and salt. Roast this mix at a high heat to char the cauliflower, but yet still leave it with a bit of a bite.
As the cauliflower roasts, make the herb sauce for the cauliflower. This sauce is extra special. Its main two ingredients are the roasted lemon slices and herbs. You use not only the lemon juice, but the lemon rind as well. Yes, I’m about to tell you to chop up the WHOLE lemon, rind and all, and add it to your herb sauce. I know this seems odd, but roasting the lemon removes any bitterness and makes them extra sweet and tangy. Once the lemon is finely chopped and stirred together with the olive oil and herbs it becomes vibrant and incredible! The perfect marriage of flavors to coat the cauliflower.
For the herbs, I love to use a mix of tender herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and dill. But you can use a mix of whatever you have on hand, fresh or dried.
Once the cauliflower comes out of the oven, toss it with the sauce, then add the cucumbers and toasted pumpkin seeds. And that’s the cauliflower. It’s basically a charred lemon cauliflower and herb salad, and it’s delicious.
Finish it up and put it all together.
And then finally, the garlic sauce. It’s simple, plain Greek yogurt, lots of lemon, grated garlic, and salt.
Once the cauliflower is tossed together and the garlic sauce is made, grill or roast the chicken and put it all together. I served the cauliflower and chicken with fresh naan and homemade fries. I used homemade naan, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought pita or flatbread.
I then added a very generous amount of that garlic sauce, fresh herbs, and a few extra slices of lemons to top the dish off.
Super pretty, on the (very) healthy side, and so very delicious.
Substitutions, suggestions, and ideas.
You can use all pantry staples or a mix of pantry staples and fresh ingredients. It’s all about using what you’ve got on hand. So if fresh herbs aren’t available, use dried…or maybe think about ordering some. I keep mentioning these guys (and this is not sponsored), but here is my go-to source for herbs right now. I am obsessed.
No yogurt? Try sour cream or mayo.
And if you don’t have cauliflower? Try broccoli, carrots, or beets. Any heartier vegetable that roasts up nicely will work well.
The ingredients that you need most…chicken, olive oil, lemons, garlic, spices, and dried herbs. If you’ve got these you can make your version of this recipe. And yes, it’s going to be great.
Sooo, how about a Lebanese street food style inspired dinner tonight? Promise it is going to be good!
Lastly, if you make this Lebanese chicken with charred lemon cauliflower, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Lebanese Chicken with Charred Lemon Cauliflower.
Calories Per Serving: 1236 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Cauliflower and Garlic Yogurt
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, 1 quartered, 1 juiced
- 1 cup fresh parsley, cilantro, and or dill, chopped (I use a mix)
- 1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, tomato paste, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and a large pinch of salt. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge.2. Meanwhile, make the cauliflower. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange the lemons around the cauliflower. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and charred.3. Remove the charred lemon slices from the baking sheet. Finely chop the lemons, rind and all, discarding any of the seeds. Add half of the chopped lemon to a salad bowl. Add the parsley/cilantro, olives, red wine vinegar, and remaining 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Add the cauliflower, cucumbers, and seeds, and toss well.4. To make the yogurt, combine the yogurt, grated garlic, and 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt. Taste, adding more of the lemon as desired.5. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Take skewers and thread the chicken pieces on. Grill the skewers until lightly charred and cooked through, turning them occasionally throughout cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Alternately, you can roast the chicken at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.6. To serve, spread the yogurt sauce onto plates. Add the cauliflower salad and chicken. Top with fresh herbs and serve with naan. Enjoy!
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Herbs: if fresh herbs are not available, use 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried coriander, and 1 tablespoon dried dill.