Although I’m not big into lemon desserts, I love the bright, citrusy burst lemons bring to the table in cooking! Lemon freshens up so many dishes with its acidity. And winter here in California means my Meyer Lemon tree is heavy with fruit and I better get to using the bounty! I’ve been making this gluten-free, paleo Chicken Tray Bake with Potatoes and Meyer Lemon-Olive Salsa on repeat. Think crispy chicken and roasted potatoes with brilliantly tangy salsa. It’s warm enough for winter, but also reminds me that spring is around the corner. And even though this dish sounds fancy, it all comes together easily and quickly — on just one sheet pan and in one bowl!
Types of Lemons
Meyer Lemons are slightly smaller and sweeter than a regular lemon — they’re thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin. They give a lovely flavor, without being too sour, and are great to use in both cooking and baking. But if you can’t find them, regular lemons work here too. Your salsa may just be a little bit more tart!
These Sicilian olives are green, large and worth finding! They have a meaty bite and buttery quality to them. And in this recipe, they pair with the chicken and potatoes so well. Don’t chop the olives too fine. The salsa should have a more robust texture to it so that you’re getting small pieces of olive and herbs with every bite. If you have an olive bar at your grocery store, you can probably find them there. But jarred ones work too and are available on Amazon!
Chicken Thigh Rub
These bone-in chicken thighs get a rub made from a mix of two warming spice blends — cajun and tagine! The cajun marries paprika with cayenne and red pepper for some spice. And then the tagine combines the warmth of cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. The mix of the two blends give the chicken a deep, smoky, rich flavor with a touch of heat.
You can sub chicken breasts or boneless thighs if you wish, but you’ll want to watch the cooking time, as boneless pieces can cook faster.
Lemon & Olive Salsa
While your Chicken Tray Bake roasts away in the oven, the salsa topping comes together in a snap. It has just three ingredients, plus some herbs (parsley, mint, and dill). It is fantastic paired with the crisp chicken and potatoes, but I also like to throw it in the food processor to make a spread for chicken or turkey sandwiches.
Here are some more dinner ideas — take your pick between sheet pan or InstantPot, and chicken or fish!
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Chicken Tray Bake with Potatoes and Meyer Lemon-Olive Salsa
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning blend*
- 1 teaspoon Tagine Seasoning blend*
- 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (Hannah or other white sweet potatoes would work well here too)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
For the lemon-olive salsa
- 1/2 cup Castelvetrano green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of one Meyer lemon (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
- Juice of one Meyer lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 1 pinch coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Lightly grease a half sheet pan (18×13) with oil or line the pan with parchment paper. Place the chicken thighs in the center of the pan.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of the oil with the Cajun Seasoning blend and the Tagine Seasoning blend. Rub the mixture on the tops and bottoms of the chicken.
- Toss the potatoes in the remaining oil and salt. And scatter them around the chicken.
- Roast for 28 to 30 minutes, until the chicken reads 165F and the skin is crispy, and the potatoes are fork tender. Toss the potatoes and rotate the tray halfway through.
- While the chicken roasts, make the tapenade by stirring together the rough chopped olives, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, herbs, and salt.
Keywords: dinner, easy, Danielle Walker, against all grain, paleo, sheet pan, chicken, healthy in a hurry seasoning blends