Sumac Chicken Salad

Recipe from “a beautiful plate”


Willy C (Year 0), Chief Contributor


Chicken Marinade:

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground sumac
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large clove garlic grated with a microplane or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts roughly 1½ lbs
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Mediterranean Salad:

  • 2 large scallions finely sliced
  • 4-5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 heaping teaspoon za’atar spice blend
  • ½ teaspoon ground sumac
  • ¼ small red cabbage cored and thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 small heads of romaine cored, and sliced
  • 4-5 ounces mixed greens
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • lemon tahini sauce
  • za’atar spice for sprinkling
  • ground sumac for sprinkling
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • grilled assorted vegetables optional
  • crumbled feta cheese optional


  • Marinate the Chicken: Place the olive oil, spices, garlic, and lemon juice in a large gallon freezer Ziploc bag. Close the bag, squeezing out any excess air, and combine the ingredients together – you want to make the spices are evenly incorporated – by squishing the contents of the bag with your hands. Using tongs, add the chicken breasts to the Ziploc bag, squeeze out the excess air from the bag, and reseal. Make sure the marinade is evenly coating both sides of the chicken breasts. Place the bag flat on a large plate (I like to place mine on a quarter-size baking sheet, as I can store it easily in the fridge this way) and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours if prepping ahead in the morning.
  • Grill the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the fridge about 15 minutes prior to cooking, so that it comes slightly closer to room temperature. Heat an outdoor grill or large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, place on a large plate, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Discard the remainder of the marinade. Grill the chicken (I prefer to do this in batches, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, so that the grill stays hot) for 4 to 5 minutes per side (cooking time is roughly 10 minutes per inch of thickness) or until the internal temperature reads 165°F. Adjust the heat and time depending on the thickness and size of your chicken. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean plate or serving platter and allow it to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the salad.
  • Prepare the Salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, za’atar spice, sumac, and cabbage. Add the romaine, mixed greens, lemon juice, olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toss and season to taste, adjusting with additional salt, lemon juice, or olive oil as needed.
  • For Serving: Once the chicken breasts have rested, slice them against the grain into ½ or ¾-inch thick slices. Distribute the salad evenly into four large bowls. Top with grilled chicken and sprinkle each serving with a pinch of za’atar spice and sumac. Serve with assorted grilled vegetables, crumbled feta cheese (optional), wedges of lemon and a large spoonful of lemon tahini sauce.