After an unseasonably warm October, cooler days are now upon us, and it is time to turn up the oven and get roasting. This Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner with Carrots, Cabbage and Onions is an easy and affordable weeknight option that is filled with fragrance and flavor.

I love a good sheet pan dinner and this one is no exception. Sheet pan dinners are typically easy to prepare and even easier to clean up, especially if you line the entire baking sheet with aluminum foil. This recipe features chicken thighs rubbed with a blend of warm spices, roasted atop a bed of green cabbage, yellow onions and baby carrots.

A staple in my freezer, chicken thighs have terrific flavor and are typically more affordable than other cuts of meat. I prefer thighs with the bone in and skin on, which helps to build maximum flavor when roasting. This recipe calls for eight thighs, which yields about four servings.

A blend of brown sugar, dried herbs and spices gives this dish incredible fragrance and flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
A blend of brown sugar, dried herbs and spices gives this dish incredible fragrance and flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The chicken is seasoned with a sweet and savory blend of brown sugar, dried herbs and warm spices. The brown sugar not only adds flavor but also helps to give the thighs a lovely golden brown color as they roast. In addition to the sugar, the dry rub features basic pantry staples including paprika, garlic powder, ground mustard, dried thyme, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. The dry rub can be prepared well in advance of using and you can even multiply the recipe to have extra seasoning to use with other dishes.

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This dish is wonderfully aromatic, and the fragrances unfold throughout the roasting process. The succulence of well-seasoned meat combines with the toasted sweetness of caramelized vegetables to create an aroma that lured both my husband and son to the kitchen to find out what I was cooking.

I roast the chicken in a hot oven until it is fully cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees, and then I continue to let it roast until the skin is golden brown and crispy. This takes about 45 minutes in my oven, which is enough time to ensure that the vegetables are also well roasted.

While the chicken is the main component of this recipe, the cabbage is the surprise breakout star. When I was first developing this recipe, my husband Tony was not enthusiastic about using cabbage, but I pressed on.

The cabbage becomes caramelized and lightly charred as it roasts, which gives it a terrific flavor that is further enhanced with the seasoned drippings from the chicken thighs. The first time I served this dish, both Tony and Gio (my son) could not stop raving about how delicious the cabbage was.

Baby carrots, yellow onion and wedges of green cabbage form the base of this sheet pan specialty. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Baby carrots, yellow onion and wedges of green cabbage form the base of this sheet pan specialty. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Filled with fragrance and flavor, this Sheet Pan Chicken with Carrots, Cabbage and Onions is perfect for an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. Happy November!

Sheet Pan Chicken with Carrots, Cabbage and Onions

Serves: 3 to 4

Ingredients:

1 head of green cabbage, cut into 1-inch wedges

16 baby carrots, sliced in half along the bias

1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry

For the Spice Rub:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground mustard

½ teaspoon dried thyme flakes

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the slices of carrots, cabbage and onions on the lined sheet pan, leaving some space between when possible. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.

The spice mixture is rubbed on the top and bottom of each chicken thigh, and Sarah recommends using thighs with the bone in and skin on. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The spice mixture is rubbed on the top and bottom of each chicken thigh, and Sarah recommends using thighs with the bone in and skin on. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

In a small bowl, add the ingredients for the spice rub and mix until well combined. Sprinkle the tops of each chicken thigh with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Using your hands, rub a generous amount of the spice mix on the top of each chicken, then repeat on the underside until all the rub has been applied. Place the coated thighs atop the vegetables, skin-side up.

Roast at 425 degrees until the chicken is fully cooked (to at least 165 degrees) and the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sarah’s Tips:

  • The spice rub can be prepared a week or more in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
  • The chicken can be washed and patted dry a day in advance of preparing and refrigerated until ready to use.

After the spice rub is applied, the chicken thighs are scattered atop the fresh vegetables. The spices and juices from the chicken will flavor the vegetables as they roast. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
After the spice rub is applied, the chicken thighs are scattered atop the fresh vegetables. The spices and juices from the chicken will flavor the vegetables as they roast. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.