Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower Bake

January 31, 2017


Author Notes: Inspired by a favorite recipe for roasted cauliflower, which Molly Wizenberg wrote about on her blog several years ago, this one takes the recipe a step further, adding Shawarma-inspired spices and chicken thighs to make it a more complete meal. Note: This is not traditional shawarma, which is typically made with chicken or lamb and cooked on a vertical rotisserie for hours, then sliced thinly.

Spices: If you are up for it, toast whole cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until they turn light brown and smell fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Grind in a mortar and pestle with the smoked paprika and cayenne.

To make a simple yogurt sauce: Stir together 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and adjust with more salt or lemon to taste.

Another delicious sauce option is this: Yogurt-Tahini Sauce.

To use boneless breasts instead of thighs, check them after 8 minutes—depending on their size, they may take more or less time than the thighs.
Alexandra Stafford

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • Neutral oil, for greasing
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2.5 lbs pre trimming), cut into florets, large florets halved or quartered if necessary (see photo above as a reference)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds or ground cumin, see notes above
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds or ground coriander, see notes
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1.5 lbs.
  • Lemon wedges, flatbread, and yogurt sauce (see notes) for serving
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and position a rack in the center. Rub a sheet pan with about a teaspoon of neutral oil. Place cauliflower florets and onion on top. Season all over with a teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne. (If using whole seeds, see notes above.) Pour half (about 1 tablespoon and a scant teaspoon) of this mixture over the cauliflower. Use your hands to toss the cauliflower and onions evenly with the oil and spice mix. Transfer pan to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing once after about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place chicken thighs in a large bowl. Season all over with salt (at least another teaspoon). Add the remaining spice mix, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and minced garlic. Toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature while vegetables roast.
  4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Toss everything around. Nestle the thighs around the vegetables. Return pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes—if thighs are large, they may need 5 more minutes or so. Cut into one to check. Remove pan from the oven and let everything rest on the sheet pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt sauce (see notes), warm up some bread, cut the lemons, etc. When chicken has rested, transfer it to a platter to cut or cut directly on the sheet pan, taking care not to ruin your pan. The chicken should be in 1- to 2-inch cubes or so—about the same size as the cauliflower. Return chicken to sheet pan or to a serving platter along with the cauliflower. Toss everything together. Taste. Adjust with more salt and pepper if necessary and squeeze a lemon over everything, if desired. To serve, spread flatbread with yogurt sauce, nestle chicken and cauliflower inside, and eat taco-style. Alternatively, serve the flatbread on the side and eat with a knife and fork. Serve lemon wedges on the side.

More Great Recipes:
Middle Eastern|American|Vegetable|Coriander|Cumin|Paprika|Chicken|Chicken Thigh|Cauliflower|Sheet Pan|Fall|Winter

Reviews (85) Questions (0)

85 Reviews

Julie B. October 22, 2018
I followed others advice and basically put the chicken in at the same time as the cauliflower and served it over rice. It was so easy! I also needed to use up some hummus so I made a quick dip using hummus, lemon juice and buttermilk. My husband gave it a very enthusiastic thumbs up! Thanks for the great new dinner idea. :)
 
Merry April 4, 2018
Just tried this last night - great combination of flavors. After reading comments about cooking time, I chose to combine the cauliflower florets with the chicken thighs (cut in quarters), onion and garlic then tossed with the dry spices before adding oil and tossing until combined. Perfectly cooked in 25 mins. Only sub was using hot smoked paprika which eliminated the need for cayenne. Definitely plan to make again, thanks for a great recipe.
 
Kathleen March 8, 2018
This was fantastic! My boyfriend, who still orders a burger no matter where we go, is obsessed. One little change: I used chicken breasts, cut into 3-inch pieces, and baked them for 10 minutes on each side. I also added zucchini, since I had some leftover from another meal. This is definitely going into my regular rotation.
 
Lily December 7, 2017
This was absolutely delicious! Made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts and used thinned out Siggi's skyr instead of yogurt for the sauce and added a bit of minced garlic to it and served it with thick, Greek restaurant-style whole wheat pita wraps. My husband and I have been eating this for three days it makes so much!
 
Jyssica S. November 9, 2017
Hey! I just made this last night. It was great! <br />The only thing I did differently is I added Brussels sprouts (they were on sale at the store) and instead of taking the time to make a yogurt sauce, I cheated and just bought Sabra brand tzatiki and it went with it very well. <br />My husband and I eat chicken and cauliflower all the freaking time and he LOVED this one. He asked if I could "just make this all the time, forever." The spice mixture works really, really well here. <br />For me, the recipe didn't say, but I cut the chicken thighs into cubes BEFORE putting in the oven, because when I bake chicken thighs whole, they typically take about 45 minutes at 375, so even at 425, there was no way it would be 10. <br />I put in the veggies first and at 10 minutes, I mixed it all up and added the cubed chicken. <br />This was extremely delicious.
 
Ldbach November 6, 2017
How would this work with Chicken Breast?
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. November 6, 2017
I think it will work just fine. Be sure to check the breasts after 10 minutes of cooking or so to ensure they don't overcook and dry out.
 
aaCooks October 23, 2017
This will be in my regular rotation for my family - 3 teen-aged boys all ate it, I used a combination of chicken tenders and thighs, and added ground sumac to the spice mixture!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. October 23, 2017
I can only imagine how much food you go through every week :) :) :) So happy to hear this.
 
Megan October 5, 2017
Loved this. Easy & satisfying! We used the yogurt-tahini sauce. I also found that my veggies needed a little less time and the chicken needed a little more time than what's in the recipe, but it's very easy to adjust. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. October 5, 2017
So happy to hear this, Megan! Thanks for writing in :)
 
Diane September 25, 2017
Hi Robin, I have made this recipe several times and yes 30 minutes was to long for me too. I like my vegetables to have a bit of a bite to them. I do reduce the time for the cauliflowers but not sure by how much. I think I checked it after about 10 minutes. It all depends on how crisp you like your veggies. I have tried several other recipes of Alexandra's and I have really liked them. Make sure you try her sheet pan chicken and cabbage recipe. It's awesome.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 25, 2017
Diane, you are so kind — thanks for the nice response to Robin!
 
robin L. September 25, 2017
I've made this a few times and it's delicious, but does anyone else find that 30 minutes for the cauliflower and onions is way too long?
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 25, 2017
Hi Robin, See Diane's comment above re reducing the cooking time. Hope that helps!
 
catmudd September 22, 2017
Wow! i just made this and it is delicious. I followed the recipe except I used up some dark meat chicken quarters that I had. I marinated them and cooked them completely separate from the cauliflower. After they cooled a bit I shredded them. I will definitely make this again. You can leave the meat and veggies separate, in case you have any vegetarians over for dinner. Oh yes, I made the yogurt tahini sauce because I had some Soom tahini that I wanted to try. Kind of see what the fuss is all about. This is a great recipe and the colors are kind of autumnal or even wintry.
 
Beth R. August 9, 2017
Made this wonderful recipe with two changes, instead of oil for the chicken, I mixed about 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt with the spices and let the chicken marinate for a couple hours. Plus I used a non stick grill plate and grilled everything in our charcoal Weber grill. Added a clove of minced garlic and some cumin to the yogurt sauce. Will make this again for sure, in the oven when it gets cooler. Thank you for this recipe!
 
knittingbaker July 23, 2017
Delicious and simple! I made this for a potluck and it was a hit. The only change I made was to add a bit of fresh mint and a big handful of minced cilantro to the yogurt sauce. This is definitely going in the regular recipe rotation.
 
frecklywench July 20, 2017
Delicious! I went rogue and added some yogurt to the chicken marinade, which worked great with my chicken breasts!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. July 20, 2017
Nice — love it!
 
LisaJ July 11, 2017
I only changed one thing - I sautéed the chicken thighs in a cast iron pan during the 20 minutes the cauliflower was roasting, then added it to the sheet pan. My husband and I loved it! Don't skip the yogurt sauce. This will go in the regular rotation for sure.
 
Denise I. July 9, 2017
Wonderful! I made it as written and it was a perfect dinner. Then I made without the chicken -- served as a side -- and added a touch of turmeric. Best roasted cauliflower ever!
 
stephanieRD April 17, 2017
I knew I had to make this when I saw it. Glad I did! <br /><br />Because it's been warm out, I opted to cook it via the grill (ahem, my husband actually did that). It turned out wonderfully! <br /><br />I made my own yogurt sauce with dill, garlic, and cucumbers. Just made it earlier in the day so the flavors could all get to know each other better. :)
 
karencooks April 11, 2017
Delicious and will add a few carrots to the mix next time! Alexandra, I love your sheet pan dinner recipes! Keep them coming!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. April 11, 2017
So happy to hear this, Karen! Thanks :)
 
Debbie H. March 16, 2017
Not sure how 10-15 minutes would be long enough to cook chicken thighs?
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. March 16, 2017
I think it all depends on the size of the thighs you are using. 10 minutes of baking plus 10 minutes of resting on the warm sheet pan consistently has worked for me. Many others have found they need to add 10 more minutes or so to the cooking time.
 
Alecsandra T. March 7, 2017
I liked the flavor profile of the spice blend in this recipe a lot but the whole dish tasted...powdery? Like when you don't cook a roux long enough. Is there a way to get a round that? Toasting the spices? Are my spices too old? Not sure how to fix it.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. March 7, 2017
Alecsandra — hi! I'm thinking maybe there was just too much of the spice mix for the amount of vegetables and meat? Next time, I would just use less. I also think if you toast and grind whole spices (did you? or did you use all pre-ground?) and them grind them, that they taste less powdery and impart, instead, some nice texture. Sorry to hear about your trouble here!