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Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon Grilled Chicken with Eggplant and Tahini

Za'tar spiced grilled chicken thighs and eggplant
Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

For her za'atar and lemon grilled chicken, Eden Grinshpan of Eden Eats marinates juicy chicken thighs in olive oil, lemon juice, zest, zaatar, sumac, garlic, salt and black pepper. She grills them up and serves them with fire-roasted eggplant, tahini sauce, herbs and flatbread.


Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2 cup good quality raw tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup ice water or more as needed to make the tahini smooth
  • Kosher salt to taste
Grilled Za'atar and Lemon Chicken
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin off
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons za'atar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fire-Grilled Eggplant
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced, plus more as needed
  • kosher salt, to taste


For the tahini sauce:

In a bowl, combine the tahini, salt, garlic, lemon juice and water and mix together. The sauce will get to a weird thick consistency - not to fear, this always happens. Keep adding water until it becomes smoother and becomes a lighter color. Tahini with the perfect consistency can fall through the tines of your fork—but not too easily. Check for seasoning, you may need more salt or lemon juice.

For the grilled lemon chicken with za'atar:

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken thighs in all of the ingredients. Preheat a grill or grill pan. Grill the chicken for 6 to 7 minutes on each side.

For the fire-grilled eggplant:

Preheat a grill or grill pan. Score the skin of the eggplant all over. Place on the grill. Grill on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes until the skin is black and the eggplant has deflated. The meat inside gets steamed within the skin and because you are burning the outside, the meat gets a nice smoky flavor. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the skin. Squeeze over the lemon juice and kosher salt. Drizzle over the tahini, fresh herbs, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and season the top with kosher salt, a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh lemon juice as needed.

To serve:

Serve the grilled chicken with the tahini and eggplant, pita and salad.