Chicken Thighs with Dates, Olives and Lemon

December 7, 2020

I spent years trying to acquire a taste for olives. I wanted to like them SO badly and be one of the fancy people who asked for blue-cheese stuffed olives in a martini. Over the last few years, it finally happened (woo!) and now I’m *obsessed* with salty, briny olives. In this dish, capers would make a great swap if you’re still on the fence. The pan sauce that comes after browning the chicken marries together the salty olives or capers with sweet dates. The dates plump up and release their sugary sweetness and I could simply eat the sauce with a spoon! A little lemon and parsley make the sauce reminiscent of chicken piccata, but with a sweeter twist. The best part of it all – the whole dish is ready in just 30 minutes! I chose to make pearl couscous on the side, but any grain or pasta would be fantastic paired alongside.

Chicken Thighs with Dates, Olives and Lemon

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Recipe by Gabriela Rodiles Difficulty: Easy


Cooking time




  • 1 cup pearl couscous (or another pasta or grain of your choice)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for your grains if needed

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1/2 small shallot

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup pitted dates (about 5 dates)

  • 1/4 cup green olives or capers

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, reserving some for finishing

  • crushed red pepper, optional


  • Cook the pearl couscous or pasta/grain of choice according to package directions.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on each side. Add the flour to a plate or small dish and coat the chicken on all sides. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mince the shallot and garlic. Chop the dates and olives or capers. Zest the lemon and then slice it in half. Chop the parsley and set aside.
  • Remove the chicken once golden brown on both sides and reserve on the side. To the remaining oil in the pan, add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, about 1 minute. (We don’t want it to start browning here, just looking to get the rawness out!) Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add the chicken stock to the pan and stir, scraping any brown bits from the pan with your wooden spoon. Add the chopped date, olives, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring up to a simmer and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by about half and thickened, 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and squeeze the lemon juice into the pan. Use a spoon to coat the chicken with the sauce as it reduces. Taste the sauce to adjust seasoning as needed and add chopped parsley.
  • Plate the grains and top with chicken and sauce. Garnish with more parsley.


  • Want to get all your equipment sorted out? You’ll need: Small sauce pot for grain/pasta, medium stainless steel skillet, measuring cups and spoons (or just eyeball it!), plate for flour, cutting board, chef’s knife, tongs, wooden spoon, microplane zester, spoon.


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