Mediterranean Chicken Thighs is an easy one-pot meal that is deliciously seasoned with Mediterranean spices, then browned and braised in the oven with earthy green lentils & carrots. I’m telling you this is a winner dinner recipe and I will be adding these Mediterranean Chicken Thighs to my weekly menu rotation.
Hello my friends. Today, I’m sharing a fascinating and super delicious chicken thigh recipe seasoned with Mediterranean spices, braised in the oven with lentils & carrots. This recipe is a truly satisfying one-pot meal.
The star ingredient of this delicious dish is the green olives. The olives are added as a garnish along with lemon zest and lemon thyme. But don’t think that just because the green olives are added as a garnish and not during the cooking process they will not add much to the dish. I thought the same thing until I made this recipe. I was wrong because the olives add a special meaty, spicy tartness, and a bit of a peppery touch. You can use any green olives, but I recommend using the Greek varietal jumbo premium Chalkidiki olives, which we have available for purchase in our online shop. These olives are famous for their size, texture, and flavor. I always have an open jar of these olives in the refrigerator, and I eat them as a snack, and as part of a cheeseboard, and my most common way is in recipes. Olives are a must-have product in our house. I will talk a little more about the Chalkidiki olives a little bit farther down in this post.
How to make Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
First, be sure to buy chicken thighs with skin and bone-in. Wash and pat dry, and remove the excess skin. Put the chicken thighs on a baking tray while you prepare the Mediterranean spice mix in a small bowl. Rub the chicken thighs with the Mediterranean spice mix, getting into all the crevices. If you follow the recipe below, you will have some of the spice leftover (unused). Keep it aside. Use a large Dutch oven (I use this Dutch Oven from Lodge). Add a couple of TableSpoons of olive oil and brown the chicken thighs skin side down for four minutes, and then three minutes on the other side. Set aside the chicken on a large plate and add more olive oil to the pot if it’s needed. The chicken skin will release some fat; I didn’t add any oil. Sautee the onions and carrots for 4-5 minutes, and add some of the Mediterranean spice mix, garlic, tomato paste, and lentils. Make sure to get everything mixed together. Add the chicken broth and taste to make sure it’s well seasoned. Now you can bring the chicken thighs back into the pot, and arrange them to make sure that most of the meat gets submerged in the liquid. Throw in a couple lemon-thyme herbs or regular thyme. Bring to simmer and then cover and braise in the oven for 45 minutes. Check the recipe card below for complete details.
FAQs about this Mediterranean Chicken Thighs recipe
- Why do you like to braise chicken thighs? Because using this cooking method you get a more flavorful chicken and tender meat. The chicken parts more suited to braise are chicken thighs and drumsticks. Check my recipe BBQ Short Ribs to read more about what braising is, and how to do it. You can also check out the recipes Salted Caramel Pulled Pork Slider and Pork Carnitas with Roasted Pineapple Habanero Sauce where I also use the braising method.
- Why do you use green lentils? Green lentils are perfect to cook for longer period because they will hold their shape better than other lentils.
- Why is Mediterranean Chicken Thighs perfect as a meal prep? Because in this one pot meal you have a complete meal and you can get eight complete meals from this recipe packed with protein and nutrients.
- What are the Mediterranean spices for this recipe? Za’atar, smoked paprika, ground coriander, cumin, sumac, and Greek sea salt & pepper
What are Halkidiki / Chalkidiki Green Olives?
Halkidiki Olives are big pale green Greek olives in an oval shape and usually harvested while they are still young. These olives are usually processed through brine curing which gives a firmer meat texture that can provide full flavor with a little tartness and a bit of peppery taste. Often referred to as Chalkidiki, the Halkidiki Olives grow only in Greece in the Halkidiki region, part of the Central Macedonia region in Northern Greece which is adjacent to Mount Athos. This area constitutes the easternmost part of the peninsula, but not of the region. Read more about the Chalkidiki region.
This Greek olive is also called a “donkey olive” because of its big size. Halkidiki Olives are high quality olives which are excellent table olives large enough to stuff with other ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, blue cheese, almonds, and other food ingredients served as hors d’oeuvres or appetizers, and snack food. These olives are carefully processed to maintain their nutritional value and distinctive taste which includes a hint of fruity aroma without any hint of oiliness. You can find these Pitted Green Olives and Whole Green Olives in the Snack Section of our Online Shop.
Are black olives and green olives different fruits?
Yes, an olive is a fruit, and black olives and green olives are the same fruit. The only difference is the time when they are harvested. Green olives are picked before they are ripe, whereas black olives are picked after ripening. Raw olives taste quite bitter, and therefore they go through a curing process before they are ready for consumption. The variations of colors and tastes of olives depend on the curing method.
Two Halkidiki Olive Color Varieties:
- Green Olives: The green Halkidiki olives are cured in salted brine and sometimes in oil.
- Black Olives: The black Halkidiki olives are harvested in their adult stage which is about two months after the young green Halkidiki olives are harvested.
Health Benefits of Halkidiki Olives
Regardless of its high fat content, Halkidiki Olives are packed with good nutritional value and are a good source of omega fatty acids, Vitamin E, iron, dietary fibers, copper, monounsaturated fats, polyphenols and flavonoids.
- Promote a healthy heart. They are a good source of monounsaturated fats that can reduce the risk of getting atherosclerosis. This olive can help to balance blood pressure while increasing good cholesterol.
- Antioxidant source because they contain vitamin E that can fight against free radicals, which can damage body cells.
- Anti-inflammatory properties. Olives contain flavonoids and polyphenols, which can protect every cell in our body from developing some inflammation like arthritis and other illnesses associated with swelling or inflammation.
- Olives are great to counterbalance premenstrual syndrome symptoms during a woman’s period due to hormonal imbalances.
What to do with a Leftover Jar of Green Olives
Now that you used some green olives for the Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, you have an open jar sitting in your refrigerator waiting for the next recipe. With the leftover olives, you can make the following recipes that will be featured here on the blog or on Instagram in the coming weeks. Make sure to subscribe to our Tasty Happenings Foodletter, or follow us on Instagram so you don’t miss the recipes and photos.
Crushed Green Olive & Parmesan Crostini
Aperol Spritz with Green Olive
Dirty Martini Cocktail
More Recipes Using Green Olives
Here are some more recipes that I made using a half jar of green olives and other olive varieties. You can certainly make these dishes with any olives that you have in your refrigerator:
- Summer Antipasto Salad in a Jar
- Mexican Lasagna with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
- Wine and Cheese Tasting Party
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Sicilian Olives
- Classic Nicoise Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
I hope you get to make this Mediterranean Chicken Thighs recipe, or one of the recipes above. Leave me a comment below with what you think about this recipe, and let me know if you will give it a try. Share this recipe on social media and tag us @spoonabilities and use the hashtag #NoJarsLeftBehind. Thank you.
Wishing your Tasty Happenings,
Your Recipe Concierge!
Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Lentils & Greek Olives
Yield 8 serving
This one-pot meal of Mediterranean Chicken Thighs is braised for 45 minutes in the oven with green lentils & veggies. The chicken thighs are well seasoned with Mediterranean spices like Za’atar, sumac, smoked paprika and other spices. Garnish with pitted jumbo premium Chalkidiki olives, lemon zest, and some lemon thyme herbs.
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
- 2 TableSpoons Lia Extra Virgin Olive Oil Click to purchase in our online shop
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1-1/2 cups carrots in bite-size pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 TableSpoons tomato paste
- 2 Fresh lemon thyme sprigs
Mediterranean spice mixture:
- 4 TableSpoons za'atar
- 1 teaSpoon smoked ground paprika
- 1 teaSpoon ground coriander
- 1 teaSpoon ground oregano
- 1 teaSpoon ground sumac
- 1 teaSpoon ground cumin
- 1-1/2 teaSpoons Greek Sea Salt Click to purchase in our online shop
- 1 teaSpoon and black pepper
- 1 cup pitted Greek Green Olives Click to purchase in our online shop
- Lemon zest
- Fresh lemon thyme sprigs
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Combine in a small bowl the za'atar, sumac, smoked paprika, coriander, oregano, cumin, sea salt & pepper.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs. Rub them with the Mediterranean spice mixture getting into all the crevices. You will have some leftover (unused) spice mix. Keep it aside.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 TableSpoons of EVOO over medium-high. Brown chicken in two batches, placing skin side down for four minutes and then three minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate.
- Sautee the onions and carrots for 4-5 minutes and add some of the spice mix, garlic, tomato paste, and lentils. Make sure to mix well.
- Add the chicken broth. Taste if needs more seasoning, and add more Mediterranean spice mix if so.
- Bring the chicken thighs back to the pot and arrange them to make sure that most of the meat gets submerged in the liquid
- Throw in the bay leaves and a couple lemon-thyme herbs (or regular thyme). Bring to simmer and cover.
- Braise in the oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender (at least 175°F).
- Transfer chicken to a platter. Strain remaining mixture, reserving liquid. Add lentils and vegetables to chicken on platter and cover to keep warm.
- Return liquid to pot and boil over medium-high heat for around 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.
For plating, put the lentils and carrots on the plate, add the chicken thighs, and then pour the reduced sauce over the chicken. Add the pitted green olives, lemon zest, and finish with some chopped lemon thyme.
Serving Size 8 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Saturated Fat 3 g
Unsaturated Fat 14 g
Cholesterol 130 mg
Sodium 941 mg
Total Carbohydrates 53 g
Dietary Fiber 13 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 42 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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