Light, delicious and colourful is what this salad is all about. Pretty much what summer would look like on a plate. I love fresh herbs in salads, they just take them to a whole new level of deliciousness, especially fresh coriander leaves, my favourite! So if you Like fresh herbs like I do, you are about to add this salad to your favourite salads list.
For those who want to try this recipe, you can make it for a light lunch on the weekend, as a side dish with barbecued meat (you can simply grill your marinated chicken on the barbecue grill and add it warm to the rest of the salad just before serving), or you can prepare it in advance and serve it cold if you are going on a picnic. And you know what? leftovers are THE best to pack for school lunches the next day. It’s a salad that has all the nutrients the kids need on their lunch break.
Now, this is something I have noticed recently at cafes and please tell me if it’s just me. Usually on Cafes menus you would find a ‘Chicken salad’ dish, right? sometimes more than one. For some reason every single time I order one at a cafe, I get really disappointed and it’s always the chicken part that’s not done right. The chicken would always be either overcooked or under marinated. It really pisses me off! To be fair, It’s hard to get chicken breasts cooked perfectly right, and they always always use the breast for salads. Well, I see chicken breasts more challenging than thighs to grill, because it’s so easy to overcook them, plus they naturally carry less flavours than thighs, so marinating them properly is a must, otherwise you end up with some bland and chewy pieces of chicken, ewww!
For this specific reason, in this recipe I used skinless free range chicken thighs which are trimmed from fat, and I marinated them with some super delicious ingredients, including Harissa paste (a chilli based spice mix) to match the rest of the salad ingredients. To finish it off I added a dallop of creamy ‘Chobani’ yoghurt which was literally the cherry on top.
Although in the pictures it looks like I used pearl couscous but I actually didn’t. These ‘Pearls’ are called Moghrabieh couscous which I found very interesting and different. If you cannot find these ones, by all means use Pearl couscous, equally delicious! Moghrabieh couscous is made out of semolina, it has a great texture that makes it perfect for using in tangines and middle-eastern inspired salads. *One piece of advice when using Moghrabieh, is to make sure it’s fully cooked by following the cooking instructions at the back of the packet, as it takes a little longer to cook than regular pearl couscous.
This recipe is created for SUPABARN stores, all ingredients used in this recipe are from their store at Sans Souci.
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- 1 kg skinless free range chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed.
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons plain greek-style yohgurt, plus extra for serving.
- 2 tablespoons Harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- fresh coriander roots, chopped coarsely (use roots from coriander bunch used for salad)
- 3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil, to be added just before cooking.
- 500g dry Moghrabieh Couscous
- 1 bunch fresh parsley (1 cup parsley leaves), chopped coarsely.
- 1 bunch fresh coriander (1 cup coriander leaves) chopped coarsely. Leave 2 inches of the roots for the chicken marinate.
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn.
- 6 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- seeds of one pomegranate about 1/2 cup, preserve some seeds for serving
- 400 g mixed and colourful cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
- 2 Lebanese cucumber, Diced
- 6 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sumac spice, extra for serving
- 1/2- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon raw organic honey
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- extra plain yoghurt, sumac spice and pomegranate seeds
- Put the marinate ingredients except for the olive oil(reserve for later)in a deep glass bowl and stir to combine.
- add the chicken thigh fillets and stir to coat well.
- cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 mins to marinate. (overnight if you have time)
- Meanwhile cook the Moghrabieh couscous or the Pearl couscous as per packet instructions, making sure the couscous is fully cooked.( I personally prefer cooking moghrabieh like pasta, in plenty of water and boil for about 12 mins until cooked, then refresh under cold water)
- transfer the cooked couscous into a large mixing bowl and add the salads ingredients.
- prepare the dressing by mixing all its ingredients in a seperate small bowl, then stir to combine.
- Preheat a chargrill pan over medium to high heat.
- add the reserved extra-virgin olive oil to the marinated chicken in the bowl and mix to coat evenly, discard the coriander roots.
- when the pan is ready and hot start cooking the chicken fillets for 4-5 mins on each side or until charred from the outside and fully cooked from inside. Press down once on each side of the chicken while grilling to release the extra fluid.
- set aside for 3 mins to cool down, then thinly slice.
- add the dressing to salad and stir.
- add the sliced chicken to the salad bowl and toss again gently to combine.
- transfer to a serving bowl and serve with extra yoghurt and sumac.
- * Usually a boneless thigh fillet is thicker on one side than the other. To make the fillet have the same thickness, place it on its smooth flat side on a board and use a sharp knife to make a small cut through the flesh of the thick side, making sure not to cut all the way through. Using your hands try to flatten this area as much as you can. This will make the chicken fillet cook evenly and quicker.