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Crispy Chicken With Za’atar-Olive Rice

Crispy chicken with zaatarolive rice on a plate
Photograph by Emma Fishman, food styling by Micah Morton, prop styling by Dayna Seman

Not only is ground chicken or turkey a fast-cooking weeknight superstar, but the fat leftover from crisping it up can get work done. Case in point, this low-lift one-pan dish. The leftover fat is used to blister olives that then get mixed with cooked rice (or any other cooked grain you’ve got) and chopped greens like spinach, kale, or chard. Za’atar provides another layer of flavor. Be sure to check the ingredient list on your blend and season accordingly—if it includes salt, you might not need to add any extra.

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What you’ll need


4 servings


lb. ground chicken or turkey


tsp. smoked paprika


tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper


Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


cup Castelvetrano olives, smashed, pits removed


cups cooked rice


Tbsp. za’atar, plus more for serving


cups coarsely chopped greens (such as spinach, kale, or chard)

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon


oz. feta, thinly sliced into planks

Coarsely chopped dill (for serving)


Step 1

Place chicken in a medium bowl. Sprinkle paprika and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt over chicken; season with pepper. Gently mix with your hands to combine.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Arrange chicken in pan in a thin, even layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crisp underneath, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring and breaking up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate, leaving oil and fat behind.

Step 3

Add olives to same pan and cook, undisturbed, until heated through and blistered, 1–2 minutes. Add rice and 1 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 3 minutes. Add greens and lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in lemon zest, feta, and chicken. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Step 4

Transfer chicken and rice to a large shallow bowl; sprinkle with more za’atar and top with dill.

How would you rate Crispy Chicken With Za’atar-Olive Rice?

  • This was great! I used a wok and it worked really well. Great for a weeknight dinner with leftovers for lunch.

    • AJ

    • Nashville, TN

    • 3/22/2022

  • I really enjoyed this as a lunch for a few days. I used tofu instead of chicken (torn up firm tofu with cornstarch, olive oil, and paprika baked in a 400 oven for about 35min). Added red pepper flakes also. For olive-averse people, castleveltranos are quite different from the typical Spanish green olives, really urge you to try them if you haven’t before!

    • Julie

    • Philadelphia, PA

    • 3/21/2022

  • How is this without olives? Outside of a martini, I really don't care for them, but the rest of the dish sounds good!

    • Drew H

    • Oith

    • 3/21/2022

  • Excellent Dish - Flavorful, Easy-to-Make This dish came together very well! I loved the strategy of arranging the turkey "in pan in a thin, even layer and cook, undisturbed." That seemed to keep enough liquid / moisture to bring everything together. You might like a wok-sized pan to finally bring everything together, but a terrific dish that will be a go-to in our home.

    • Drew C.

    • Fairfield, CT

    • 3/21/2022

  • The flavors in this dish are amazing, but I had a hard time getting the rice crispy due to the sheer volume of ingredients in the pan (who has a non stick that big?). Next time I will do the rice by itself in a separate pan (or maybe do the whole thing in the wok?) and combine at the end. The dill on top is a great touch, really brings the freshness out, and as someone who can make 30-40 olives be dinner, it's great to use them IN something. This is going in the rotation for sure.

    • chelsea

    • richmond, va

    • 3/18/2022

  • Very dry. There’s no liquid in this recipe! Maybe some chicken broth would help.

    • Anonymous

    • Amarillo, TX

    • 3/18/2022