Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

5 from 2 votes

This recipe for Moroccan chicken is a hearty, comforting meal that is easy to make and bursting with authentic North African flavor. A vibrant blend of warming spices transforms everyday chicken, lentils, and vegetables into a mouthwatering Moroccan feast.

moroccan chicken on round white plate with vegetables

There are some fantastic spice blends in African cuisine, especially if you’re a fan of warm, spicy flavors like cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and chiles. The great news is, those spicy flavors pair really well with chicken.

For example, Ethiopia is known for berbere spice, which I use in my recipe for berbere chicken and lentils. Harissa is a hot chili paste from Tunisia, and it, too, adds amazing flavor, especially to chicken. I  like to use it in the summer months to make grilled harissa chicken

Because the weather is turning cooler, I decided to oven roast chicken thighs. Today’s recipe is one I spotted in a magazine a few years back that I adapted using fall vegetables. The spices are fantastic – lots of flavor, minimal heat!

map of morocco and algeria

This chicken and lentils recipe is one of my go-to meals on cool autumn evenings. Savory chicken, tender green lentils, and a medley of rustic veggies team up with warming spices and herbs. The result is a sensationally spiced meal that will fill your belly and warm your spirits without weighing you down. 

As exotic as this dish may seem, Moroccan chicken is quite simple to put together. Not to mention, you end up with a complete nutrient-packed meal, rich in protein, fiber, and more. Easy, delicious, and nutritious — spiced chicken and lentils really has it all!

For more dishes featuring lentils, check out my Mujadara Lentils and Rice, Lentil Tabbouleh, and these Zucchini Lentil Fritters. For other incredible Moroccan dishes, try these too.

overhead: seasonings on uncooked chicken pieces

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – Boneless, skinless thighs are what I prefer for this recipe. However, feel free to use bone-in if desired. Just keep in mind that the chicken might take around 20 minutes longer to cook. Adjust accordingly and use your meat thermometer to be sure. You’re also welcome to keep the skin on if you don’t mind the extra calories!
  • Herbs and Spices An all-star cast of spices featuring chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and cayenne — along with herbs like dried mint, bay leaves, and sesame seeds — infuses the dish with smoky warmth, pungent heat, and deeply aromatic flavors. 
  • Vegetables – I chose butternut squash, carrots, red onion, and red bell pepper, but don’t hesitate to include any of your favorites. Autumn vegetables play really nicely with the flavors in this meal. If you want to switch it up, some good alternatives to try are acorn squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, turnips, or beets. 
  • Green Lentils – I like to use French green lentils for their firmness and creamy texture. Bob’s Red Mill is one of my favorite brands. You can use any lentils you have on hand, though.
overhead: lemon zest in bowl with green lentils

Watch the Video!

Be sure to see me make this in the video below in the recipe card.

How to Make Moroccan Chicken

  1. Prepare the Lentils. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the lentils and bay leaves in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-22 minutes, until tender. Drain and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Season the Chicken. Blend all of the spice mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Separate half of the spice blend and rub it on all sides of the chicken thighs. 
  3. Season the Vegetables. Use a large mixing bowl to toss the vegetables with olive oil and the rest of the spice blend. Transfer the seasoned veggies to a rimmed baking sheet or 9×13-inch casserole dish lined with parchment paper. 
  4. Combine Chicken & Veggies. Place the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and put the pan in the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and browned. 
  5. Season the Lentils. Remove and discard the bay leaves from the lentils. Combine the lentils with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and half a lemon’s worth of zest. 
  6. Plate & Serve. Add an even amount of yogurt to each plate along with ½ cup of lentils. Then, add the roasted chicken and vegetables and top with pomegranate seeds and freshly chopped parsley.
african spices on raw chicken pieces in white baking dish with carrots, red onion, peppers

Tip From Kevin

More on Lentils

Lentils are pulses and, like other members of the legume family, they contain certain carbohydrates and fiber that can be difficult to digest. To avoid unpleasant side effects like gas and bloating, simply soak the lentils in water for a few hours. Then, drain the lentils, rinse well, and continue cooking.

close up: roast chicken and lentils

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I serve with Moroccan chicken?

Complete with roasted chicken, lentils, and vegetables, Moroccan chicken is perfect to enjoy just as it is — but that doesn’t mean you have to! Here are a few simple serving suggestions for enjoying this delicious dish. 

– Serve with a bowl of steaming Basmati Rice, Jasmine Rice, couscous, or quinoa. 
– Enjoy with Pita Bread, Zaatar Bread, or other Flatbread. This is great for soaking up all the tasty juices. 
– Have alongside a fresh, crisp salad like this Moroccan Carrot Salad, Lebanese Fattoush, or Chopped Vegetable Salad.
– Finish with a North African dessert like this  Egyptian Basbousa (Semolina Cake).  

Is Moroccan chicken spicy?

Moroccan chicken contains tons of flavorful spices like cinnamon, cumin, garlic, and mint along with some “spicier” spices like chili powder and cayenne. However, the flavor profile is more warming and aromatic than super hot and spicy. Think flavor over heat.

If you are worried about the heat level, you can use smaller amounts of the cayenne or omit it altogether. On the flip side, you can add extra cayenne and add in some red pepper flakes to make it as spicy as you’d like.

Can I make chicken and lentils ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, it might even be tastier when the flavors have a few hours to marry. 

When it is time to reheat, place the entire casserole dish in a 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes. Keep it covered with some foil to prevent the chicken and lentils from drying out while cooking. 

Any additional leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

north african spiced roast chicken on white plate with vegetables

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moroccan chicken on round white plate with vegetables

Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

5 from 2 votes
Cinnamon, cumin and mint help season this healthy, hearty Moroccan chicken dish that includes butternut squash, carrots, and bell peppers.
Servings: 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes


Spice Blend


  • 2 cups butternut squash cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 cup green lentils (See Note 1)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt plain (or Labneh)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small saucepan place the lentils and bay leaves. Cover with water to 2 inches above lentils and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low, and simmer until tender, 20-22 minutes. (See Note 1) Drain and cool in the refrigerator.
  • Combine the spice blend ingredients in a small bowl and rub the chicken thighs with half of the spice mixture.
  • In a bowl toss together the vegetables and remaining spice blend and olive oil. Place vegetables in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or deep 13”x9” baking dish. Lay the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and roast until tender and browned, 25-30 minutes.
  • Discard the bay leaves from the drained, cooled lentils. Mix together in a bowl with olive oil, salt and lemon juice and zest from half the lemon.
  • Dived the yogurt on each plate and top with a 1/2 cup of the lentils. Serve the roasted vegetables and chicken alongside and top with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.



  1. I like to use Petite French Style green lentils from Bob’s Red Mill. They stay firm and don’t turn to mush and are perfect for cold salads. Lentils are pulses and like legumes, they are FODMAP foods. This means, they have short chain carbs and/or difficult to digest fiber, which often times can cause gas.
    To help reduce gassiness, soak the lentils for a few hours, then rinse them well before cooking. This is completely optional.


Calories: 729kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 1425mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 14070IU | Vitamin C: 75mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 6mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan, North African
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): Moroccan roasted chicken with lentils


I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    You know how to make a great spice blend, this turned out fantastic Kevin. Will definitely make this again, the chicken was wonderful and I loved the sides accompanying it. *****

    1. Lola,
      Lentils are pulses and like legumes they have short chain carbs and/or difficult to digest fiber, which often times can cause gas. To help reduce gassiness, soak the lentils for a few hours, then rinse them well before cooking. This is completely optional.