A sheet pan dinner is a glorious thing: vegetables and protein (perhaps a potato or two) roasted together on one or two baking sheets while you finish the dishes, pour a glass of wine, and set the table.
But they often lack flavor, texture, and personality. Cooking all the elements of your dinner in the same pan, often with the same seasoning, can lend a utilitarian effect to the meal.
It works, but it does not inspire.
This sheet pan dinner helped me understand what Melissa Clark is always buzzing about.
By roasting bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts with chopped broccoli and scallions, the fat from the protein flavors the vegetables while the high heat turns the chicken golden and the vegetables bronze.
A garlicky sauce (a glorified ranch, really) and fresh herbs keep the dish bright, interesting, and irresistible.
It’s the perfect healthy and hearty dinner for summertime.
Sheet pan dinner tips
The key to a successful sheet pan dinner is cutting your vegetables into equally-sized pieces so that they will roast at the same rate. If you cut the scallions too finely, they might burn.
Another tip: don’t crowd the pan. If your ingredients are too close together, they will steam instead of crisp.
If you’d really like to stuff more vegetables on the pan (I hear you), just finish cooking under the broiler- that should blast the ingredients with enough heat to get them golden brown.
I like this dish with bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts; they stay juicy and succulent throughout the cooking process whereas boneless, skinless cuts almost always dry out.
Chicken legs or thighs will work wonderfully too.
I plan to make a version of this dish all year, varying the vegetables based on what I can get. I’ll try cauliflower and leeks, eggplant and red onions, whatever is in season near me.
I might even switch up the sauce, although it’s so good I probably shouldn’t mess with it (at least, that’s what my sister says).
Each time I’ve made this, I also threw a couple sweet potatoes in the oven to complete the meal. The Special Sauce tastes great on starches, too, so feel free to drizzle it over everything on your plate with abandon.
Just don’t expect leftovers.
- 4-6 cups broccoli cut into 2-3 inch long florets
- 1 bunch scallions cut into 2-3 inch long pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- Kosher salt as needed
- Black pepper as needed
- 2 lbs bone in split chicken breast about 2 large breasts total
- fresh parsley for garnish
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 teaspoons chopped onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons water
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Add broccoli and scallions to pan. Drizzle everything with olive oil, toss with salt and pepper. Take a bite of broccoli. How’s the seasoning? Adjust as necessary. While you season the veg, give the chicken some love with the same olive oil, salt, and pepper treatment. Nestle chicken into the vegetables, or place on a separate sheet pan if there’s a vegetarian in the family. Roast chicken and vegetables, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes total, stirring everything around after 20 minutes (unless you have a convection oven, then no stirring necessary!).
Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, agave, onion flakes, granulated garlic, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and water in a small bowl. Season with more kosher salt if needed and black pepper.
Chicken is done when internal temp is 155-160 degrees or no longer pink inside. Let it rest at least 10 minutes before cutting out the bone. The broccoli and scallions will char naturally because 30 minutes at 425 degrees is longer than you "should" cook them, but turns out those blacked bits are the best. If the chicken isn't browned enough or the veg isn't charred to your liking, hit everything with the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes of cooking. Drizzle the finished product with Special Sauce and garnish with fresh parsley to be EXTRA special. Enjoy!