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For a delicious weeknight dinner, make this sheet pan green harissa chicken with cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Drizzle the chicken with a bright green harissa lemon sauce for one flavorful meal that's restaurant-worthy.
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What makes this dish special
Don't ask me why but I've never been a huge pan of sheet pan meals (except for sheet pan shrimp fajitas). For some reason, I always was under the impression that sheet pan meals are boring. That is until I decided to give it another try and create sheet pan green harissa chicken. One bite of this dish and I was sold.
This sheet pan dish combines green harissa roasted chicken with sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, and charred red onions with a zesty finishing sauce for one amazing meal. Prepare the green harissa the day before and it'll come together in no minutes the next day. If you ever thought sheet pan meals were boring like I used to, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try.
- Green bell pepper: To replace the red bell pepper in harissa, we're using green bell pepper instead.
- Jalapeno: Although the harissa has jalapenos, the sauce is mild because we are omitting the seeds. If you prefer a spicy harissa, add the seeds to the sauce.
- Cardamom: A spice with peppery, piney notes and hints of citrus. It has a unique and distinctive flavor that adds great flavor to the harissa.
- Chicken thighs: Use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts. If you're using boneless chicken, you will need to adjust the cooking time for the chicken since it will cook much quicker.
- Vegetables: I used cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and red onions for this sheet pan meal, but you can any other combination of vegetables. Some examples include broccoli, carrots, and potatoes.
- Tahini: The sesame paste adds a nutty flavor to the finishing sauce. If you can't find tahini, you can omit it.
How to make sheet pan green harissa chicken
Step 1: Make green harissa
The real star of this sheet pan green harissa chicken is the vibrant green harissa. It's the main flavor component of the chicken and is the foundation of the finishing sauce. To make the sauce, start by roasting green bell peppers and jalapenos until charred. You can roast them over an open flame on the stovetop but I prefer to roast them in the oven.
Then transfer the peppers to a bowl, covering them with plastic wrap. This creates a steaming effect which helps facilitate the release of the pepper skins, making them easier to peel.
Peel the skins and discard the jalapeno stem and seeds. If you want a spicy green harissa, you can keep the seeds.
Blend the peppers with the remaining harissa ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and let it cool. Feel free to make the sauce up to 3 days in advance.
Step 2: Season chicken
Once the sauce is cooled, infuse the chicken with the flavorful harissa. Season thighs or breasts with salt and pepper, tossing them in the green harissa and arranging them on a sheet pan.
Toss the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and red onion with olive oil, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Make sure not to cut the vegetables too small or they will overcook in the oven before the chicken is done. I sliced the sweet potatoes about ⅜-inch thick and sliced the red onion into eighths.
Step 3: Roast
Arrange the vegetables and chicken on a sheet pan. Don't worry if some of the ingredients slightly overlap - you can flip the vegetables over halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Cut off the top of a garlic head and drizzle it with oil. Wrap the entire garlic head in foil and place it on the sheet pan along with a halved lemon. Then, roast the entire assembly for about 40-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, the chicken is cooked through, and the garlic cloves are soft.
To check if the chicken is done, use a meat thermometer to check that it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Now for the finishing sauce. Remove the roasted garlic from the skin by squeezing the garlic head and mash the cloves. Add the mashed roasted garlic to the remaining green harissa along with the roasted lemon, olive oil, chopped mint, dill, and tahini.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper and drizzle this flavorful green harissa sauce over the sheet pan chicken. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
As much as I love the original harissa, I think I love this green version just a tiny bit more. With the fresh herbs and hints of cardamom, cumin, and coriander, the sauce adds so much life and brightness to the entire dish. This sheet pan green harissa chicken is, without a doubt, going on the regular menu rotation!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, the green harissa can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, providing convenience and allowing you to streamline the cooking process.
Broccoli, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and zucchini are all great options for this sheet pan. Just be sure to cut the vegetables the right size so that they will cook by the time the chicken is ready.
Allow the chicken and vegetables to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Store any remaining green harissa sauce in a separate container. Reheat the chicken and vegetables in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot and serve with green harissa sauce on the side.
More one-pan recipes
Looking for more one-pan dishes? Try these:
Sheet Pan Green Harissa Chicken
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 jalapenos
- ½ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons coriander
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
Sheet pan chicken
- 2 lb chicken thighs or breasts bone-in, skin-on
- ½ cup green harissa
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium head cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 small sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into half-moon slices
- 1 medium red onion peeled and cut into wedges
- ¼ cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoons turmeric
- ½ lemon
- 1 head garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- ¼ cup chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Make green harissa. Place green bell pepper and jalapenos on a sheet pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping the vegetables over halfway. Remove from oven and transfer to a heat-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap and peel skin off peppers. Discard jalapeno stem and seeds if desired. Place peppers in a blender with remaining harissa ingredients including cilantro, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cardamom. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and toss with ½ cup cooled green harissa. Arrange on a sheet pan.
- Toss cauliflower florets, sweet potato slices, and red onion wedges with ¼ cup olive oil, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Arrange vegetables on the same sheet pan as the chicken. Place half of a lemon on sheet pan.
- Cut the top of the garlic head and discard. Drizzle the top with 1 tablespoon olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on the sheet pan. Roast chicken and vegetables for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender, chicken is cooked, and garlic cloves are tender.
- Squeeze garlic head to remove cloves and discard skin. Mash with a fork until smooth and combine with remaining green harissa, ¼ cup olive oil, mint, dill, and tahini. Squeeze the roasted lemon juice and add to the sauce. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle green harissa sauce on top of sheet pan chicken and serve with extra sauce on the side.