Healthier Msakhan

Msakhan is a fan favorite among so many people but unfortunately it’s not the most macro friendly of dishes (because of the carbs in the taboon bread and the excess amount of oil in general.) If you’re counting calories and carbs, use this super macro friendly pizza crust (from Trader Joes) and satisfy your msakhan craving without feeling guilty about it.

pizza crust


  • 8-10 chicken thighs or chicken breast (breast is less fat)
  • 4 medium – large white or yellow onions
  • 6-8 tablespoons sumac (for the chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons sumac (for the onion)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil spray



1.) Spray a nonstick pan using a light amount of olive oil spray. Add in all the chopped onions and saute on medium heat until onions begin wilting/sweating.

2.) Add the 2 tablespoons sumac and a dash of salt and pepper to the onions and allow to cook until onions caramelize. You can add a little bit of water to deglaze your pan if necessary.

3.) Place chicken in a bowl and add the 6-8 tablespoons sumac, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tablespoon allspice, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until all the pieces of chicken are covered. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour in the fridge. You can also allow the chicken to marinate overnight if you’d like.

4.) Once the chicken is marinated enough, you can now begin cooking.
I cooked the chicken using an indoor grill because I like the char/flavor of it more than baked chicken but you can choose whichever method you’d like.
If you chose chicken thighs, cook them for about 6-7 minutes on each side on medium heat. If you chose chicken breasts, cook them for about 7 minutes on each side on medium heat.

5.) Now it’s time to assemble the msakhan! There are different ways each household makes msakhan. You can assemble it and then bake it or you can just bake the bread on its own and then add the toppings. My personal preference is baking the bread separately so I will walk you through this process:

  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the pizza crust on the parchment paper. If your tray is too small you can cut the bread in half.
  • Use your olive oil spray to lightly coat the top of the bread.
  • Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes (check the oven window at 5 minutes to see if the bread is toasted to your liking. Do not open the door as this will let the heat out.)

6.) Once the bread is done, remove it from the oven and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. It is quite hot at this point and hard to handle.

7.) Add the cooked onions to the top of the bread. Be generous with this step as msakhan is widely known to have a lot of onion.

8.) Now you can add your cooked chicken to the bed of onions.

9.) You can garnish your msakhan with toasted pinenuts, slivered almonds and/or a bit of chopped parsley.



Note 1: The Trader Joes bread has multiple cooking methods on the back of the package so if you want you can even grill the bread!

Note 2: This dish is typically served with a whole chicken chopped into smaller pieces but this is my easier to eat take on it. Feel free to go the traditional route if you’d like!

Note 3: Serve this dish with a side of yogurt, salad or pickles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s