Quick Mediterranean Oven-Baked Breaded Chicken with Spiced Veggies

Around this time last year, we got our first Ottolenghi book as a gift, and it came with a hamper of ingredients that I barely ever heard of before, despite my very obvious Mediterranean heritage. We discovered za’atar, sumac, rose harissa paste (oooh our beloved rose harissa paste, we’re now the biggest fans and we’re on our third jar) and we had a lot of fun exploring new recipes from the book and improvising our own ones at the same time.

This one came from a night when we really wanted fried chicken but were feeling guilty about our “diets”. So we just breaded the chicken and threw it in the oven. I’m not gonna claim that it’s the same thing, because it’s not. Nothing can match the flavour of fried chicken, but this dish does a really good job in delivering flavour and elevating an otherwise plain chicken breast.

A special note on the za’atar: don’t skip it. It makes the dish. If you can’t find za’atar in a local store, make your own! It’s very easy and it only involves 5 super common spices that we all have, plus sumac. If you don’t have sumac, just substitute with lemon zest. We’ll give you the proper breakdown after the recipe. It takes literally 3 minutes to make!

za'atar breaded chicken with spiced veggies on the side and two slices of olive bread

Mediterranean Oven-Baked Breaded Chicken with Spiced Veggies

A super easy, quick, straightforward weekday meal that you can put together in less than 45 minutes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people


  • Oven


For The Chicken

  • 650 g chicken (breast or thighs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tbsp za'atar (see notes after recipe)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the Veggies

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (slightly crushed)
  • 3 bell peppers (preferably red, orange, or yellow)
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper


For the Chicken

  • Start heating your oven up to 180°C/355°F fan. If you're using breasts, you might want to tenderise the chicken to make them even.
  • Whisk your eggs with the cold water in a bowl. Prepare a separate bowl for the flour and another one for the breadcrumbs, za'atar, salt and pepper mixed together.
  • Start by dipping your chicken in the egg wash, followed by the flour, and finally the breadcrumb/spices mix.
  • Place on your oven mat/baking paper and add a bit of extra za'atar on top and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

For the Veggies

  • While the chicken cooks, heat up the olive oil and start infusing with the garlic on very low heat while you chop your bell peppers and courgettes in small
  • When the olive oil is hot, add the bell peppers and courgettes to the pan bringing the heat to medium-high heat. Add the mix of spices and let cook for 15 minutes.
Keyword Easy and quick recipe ideas, Weekday Meals

Praise for oven-baked chicken breast and spiced veggies

I am the biggest fan of oven-baked chicken breast, either breaded or plain and covered in spices. It has the perfect cooking time, you don’t have to do anything in the meantime, and if you cook it just enough it stays nice and juicy. What’s not to love? Of course when it’s breaded chicken, well, it only gets better. There’s literally nothing in the world that is not made better by carbs. None. I’ll fight you on that if I need to.

It almost goes without saying that this dish makes an excellent weekday meal: prep time is minimal and you can put it together very quickly for those late nights where you’d rather use your free time to do something that is not cooking. Literally, this recipe only has six steps for the main and the side, SIX! You can also switch the veggies for a salad if you feel the need for a summer-y dish (and we do have a recipe for an excellent salad here).

oven-baked chicken breast with za'atar seasoning, accompanied by spiced veggies

The real star of this oven-baked chicken breast: za’atar seasoning

We talked about it for the first time when we made our Moroccan chicken with a side of vegetable couscous, and since then we couldn’t just stop using it. From those times, we finished our jars of za’atar repeatedly but we found a way to make our own. If you feel lazy, you can probably find it at your local Middle Eastern store or well-stocked supermarket (Tesco and Morrisons have it in the UK, and in the US there’s a whole dedicated website), but in case you’re in a rush and you really want to try this vegetable couscous the same way we made it, you can always substitute with the mix below.

Za’atar Seasoning – how to:

  • 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of sumac (or if you don’t have it, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest)
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of marjoram 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of thyme 

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 mins or until they become slightly golden, tossing every minute or so to ensure they don’t burn. Once toasted, add the mix of dried herbs. Here you go. You have homemade za’atar mix. Store it in an airtight container for up to a month.

You can use za’atar in pretty much everything. It does have a herby, lemony flavour that makes it the perfect seasoning for most vegetables. If you’re a courgette lover, I’d definitely recommend covering them in za’atar and grilling them: one of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest ways to use za’atar.