These Tahini Chicken and Vegetable Skewers are an easy, healthy way to grill this summer. Tender chicken is marinated in a blend of tahini, lemon and garlic, and then skewered with zucchini and red pepper. It’s all tossed on to the grill and then served with a super quick and easy tahini sauce.
I’ve babbled on about burgers, hot dogs and all things grill-worthy the past few months, but I left out one of the easiest and healthiest grilled dishes out there – skewers, or as I knew them growing up, shish kabobs.
Normally I’m not really a meat and vegetable on a stick kind of gal, but when tender pieces of chicken are marinated in a bath of tahini, lemon juice and garlic, intertwined with sweet red peppers and fresh zucchini, and then drizzled with an addictive tahini sauce, well, then I’m all in.
I’ve garnered quite an infatuation with tahini in the last year, and not just to use in the been-there-done-that recipes like hummus or this killer baba ganoush. Lately, I’ve been whisking it up with lemon juice and olive oil for salad dressings, drizzling it on things like these farro meatball bowls, and tossing it with cold soba noodles for an updated take on peanut noodles.
To confirm it’s versatility even more, I’ve now found out, it can be used as a marinade. YES.
I don’t know what it is about the nutty sesame paste, but when it’s combined with lemon juice and chicken, and left to rest, something magical happens. The chicken becomes irresistibly tender, with a punch of lemon right off the bat. Then there’s this underlying nuttiness from the tahini, and of course, the grill adds the perfect amount of char.
As far as vegetables go, you could really use whatever you want, but today I went with red bell pepper and zucchini since it’s in season. Mushrooms, green pepper, or squash would work wonderfully as well.
When it comes to marinating chicken, especially when you’re using an acid, you really don’t want to marinate it much longer than three hours. Even an hour in the marinade will infuse plenty of flavor into the flesh of the chicken.
Instead of marinating the veggies, I just toss them in a little bit of olive or canola oil and then season them liberally with salt and pepper.
I make sure to cut everything into similar-sized pieces so it all cooks evenly, but if you’re worried about the veggies cooking before the chicken is finished, you could put all the peppers on one skewer, all the zucchini on another and then all of the chicken on another.
Also, while this is geared towards summer, you can really make it any time of year. If you have a grill pan, great, if not, you can easily sauté everything in a hot skillet with a little bit of olive oil, no big deal.
While the skewers cook, the tahini sauce is whipped up in mere seconds with tahini, of course, lemon juice, a touch of salt and a splash of water to loosen the sauce up.
I like to serve them on top of a big batch of couscous, but brown rice or even farro would also be delicious.
- 1 1/4 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp tahini, divided
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp lemon juice, divided
- 2 large garlic cloves, grated
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 2 small zucchinis cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp water
- Whisk tahini, lemon juice and garlic together in a small bowl. Add to a large ziplock baggie. Add chicken. Massage into chicken. Marinate for 1-3 hours. Once chicken has marinated, pat chicken mostly dry with paper towels. (some marinade should be left on.) Season one teaspoon of salt on all sides of chicken.
- Toss vegetable with olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining salt. Toss.
- Skewer chicken and veggies on to metal skewers. Place on a hot grill and cook until chicken is cooked through and veggies are slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
- While the skewers are grilling, whisk remaining tahini, lemon juice and water together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle cooked skewers with tahini sauce. Serve with couscous or brown rice.