Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mjadra



Recipe Information

Total Time: 

35 minutes (plus 6 hours to marinate)



Marinated in lemon, garlic and spices, this baked chicken is delicious atop mjadra, a popular Middle Eastern pilaf.


  • 4 6-ounce boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 4 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 cup green lentils, uncooked
  • 5 cups yellow onions, julienned (2-3 large onions)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. In a glass or metal bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin to make a marinade. Add the chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place marinated chicken breasts in a shallow casserole dish in a single layer, and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked to an internal temperature of 165º F. While the chicken is baking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ground cumin and the oregano to the onions and saute 10 minutes more until the onions are browned. Remove from heat.
  3. While the onions are cooking, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let the bulgur soak up the water (about 10 minutes), then drain through a fine mesh strainer. In a small stockpot, add the lentils, 3 cups of water, and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes until lentils are tender, and remove from heat and drain. To serve, toss the bulgur and lentils together, divide the pilaf among four plates, and top each portion with caramelized onions. Serve with a chicken breast.

Serving Suggestion

This style of pilaf is commonly called mjadra or njedra, and many cooks use brown rice in place of the bulgur and serve it as a vegetarian meal. A squeeze of fresh lemon over the finished lentils brings out the sweetness of the onions.

Tips & Notes

In place of a boullion cube for the lentils, you can also use 1 cup of vegetable stock plus two cups water (instead of three). 

Nutritional Information

Calories: 716, Fat: 15 g, Cholesterol: 145 mg, Sodium: 169 mg, Carbohydrate: 75 g, Dietary Fiber: 15 g, Protein: 73 g