Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Thyme
with zucchini / olive tapenade / pasta
If you made the olive and bell pepper tapenade earlier in the week, this meal has very little prep and comes together fast. The flavors of this dish play well off each other, so serve them in shallow bowls, getting a bit of everything in each bite.
Olive and Bell Pepper Tapenade:
- Olives, mixed and pitted green and kalamata - 3/4 cup (ideally from the olive bar)
- Roasted red bell peppers - 4 oz , drained and chopped (from a jar)
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Capers - 1 tsp , drained and rinsed
- Celery seed (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/4 tsp
- Vinegar, red wine - 1 tsp
Sheet Pan Chicken with Lemon and Thyme:
- Zucchini - 1 1/2 lbs , cubed
- Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless - 1 lb
- Thyme, fresh - 2 sprigs + 2 sprigs
- Lemon zest - 1 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Pasta, ditalini - 4 oz (sub orzo or any small pasta shape)
- Make tapenade - (Skip if tapenade was made ahead for Tuesday.) Combine olives, roasted bell peppers, garlic, capers, celery seed, dried oregano, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped but some pea-sized pieces still remain. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop everything very finely by hand or use an immersion blender or standing blender, which will produce a more smooth tapenade.) Taste and season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cook pasta - (Skip if made ahead for Monday. If prepping right before cooking, get the oven heating / vegetables roasting while pasta water is coming to a boil.) Cook pasta according to package directions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Zucchini - Cube zucchini. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - Tenderize with a fork and season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Thyme sprigs / Lemon zest - Tear leaves off half the thyme sprigs; leave the other half of the thyme sprigs whole. Combine thyme leaves with lemon zest. Reserve whole sprigs. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Heat oven to 400F / 204C degrees.
- Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray or rub it with some oil.
- Toss zucchini with first portion of oil and some salt and pepper. Spread it out on the sheet pan. Transfer to the oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes to get it started cooking.
- Once zucchini is in the oven, heat a large skillet with second portion of oil over medium heat. Sear chicken thighs on each side just until light golden brown, ~3 minutes each side.
- While chicken is searing, melt butter in the microwave until soft. Stir in thyme leaves and lemon zest.
- Remove zucchini from the oven and turn it with a spatula. Add chicken to the zucchini (cooking chicken over the zucchini will give the zucchini extra flavor.)
- Brush or drizzle lemon-thyme butter over top of chicken thighs. Top everything with whole thyme sprigs.
- Return sheet pan to the oven and continue roasting for 12 to 18 minutes, until chicken reaches 165F / 74C. (The timing will depend on the size of the chicken thighs you’re using, so if using smaller pieces, be sure to start checking the chicken on the lower end of the range.)
- If pasta was made ahead, reheat in the microwave. If it seems sticky, stir in some cooking oil as it heats.
- Serve chicken and zucchini over pasta. Top with tapenade. Enjoy!