Jump on the hottest food trend right now, by adding harissa to your pantry! This North African chili pepper paste is so delicious tossed with chicken! Serve the harissa chicken over warm, fluffy quinoa with a fresh tomato cucumber salad in this healthy, gluten free recipe!
It's easy to make and perfect for meal prep. Sub in cauliflower rice for the quinoa to make a delicious keto bowl.
Harissa is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with these days. So much so, that I wrote an entire post about harissa, how to cook with it and easy recipes featuring harissa.
If you're not familiar with harissa, it's okay, neither was I until a few months ago! Harissa is a North African chili pepper sauce that's become the it-sauce of the moment! You can now find it at most major grocery stores, including Trader Joe's.
It's great for creating creamy, flavorful sauces, like this Harissa Tahini Sauce. It's also delicious as a marinade for meats, or on it's own, served on top of roasted veggies, grilled chicken or shrimp.
In this bowl, I used harissa sauce, along with Moroccan seasonings, to marinate the chicken. The result is some of the most flavorful chicken you've ever tasted! Serve it on top of quinoa, cauliflower rice or greens. No matter the base of the bowl, you're going to fall in love with this slightly spicy, totally flavorful chicken recipe!
Ingredients you'll need
- For the harissa chicken:
- Olive oil
- Moroccan seasoning - I love to use this easy homemade seasoning to make the harissa chicken. But you can also purchase pre-made Moroccan seasoning on the spice aisle at the grocery store.
- Harissa sauce or paste - either one will both work for this marinade. The paste will be slightly thicker than the sauce, but once mixed with the olive oil, it will coat the chicken just fine. You can now find harissa sauce on the spice aisle at most major grocery stores, or you can order it online.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - chicken thighs can also be used, but since we're keeping these bowls light and healthy, I opted for the chicken breasts.
- For the bowls:
- Quinoa - other greens or grains, like white or brown rice, can be used for the base of these bowls, but I love the way the nutty quinoa pairs with the chicken. Follow this post for how to cook quinoa 3 ways to learn how to easily prepare quinoa in an Instant Pot, on the stove or in a rice cooker.
- Tomato cucumber salad - this recipe only takes 10 minutes to make and adds so much flavor to this bowl!
- Whipped feta dip - this dip takes 5 minutes to make and only requires adding all of the ingredients to a blender, then blending until it's smooth and creamy. The slightly spicy harissa chicken dipped in this cool, creamy greek yogurt feta dip is a match made in heaven!
- Note: If you don't have the time to make this feta dip, you can also use hummus as a dip for this bowl. I've tried both and each one is delicious paired with the harissa chicken!
- Lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley - these garnishes are optional, but they add a lovely freshness to the bowls!
Step by step instructions
- Marinate the chicken. Cube the chicken and add it to a large zipper bag or large bowl. Add the olive oil, Moroccan seasoning and harissa sauce. Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the marinade. Either zip the bag closed or cover the bowl and place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
- Prepare the bowl ingredients. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the quinoa, cucumber tomato salad and whipped feta dip for the bowls.
- Grill the chicken. Heat a grill or grill pan on the stove over high heat. Add the cubed chicken to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Quick tip! Depending on how your grill grates are spaced, you may want to grill the pieces of cubed chicken on a piece of foil so that they don't fall through the grill grates. This also makes clean-up a breeze! I recommend using a non-stick heavy duty foil.
- Assemble the bowls. Divide the cooked quinoa between 4 bowls. Top with the grilled harissa chicken and tomato cucumber salad. Add a dollop of the whipped feta dip or hummus directly to the bowl, or serve it in a small bowl on the side. Optionally garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh chopped parsley. A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice is just delightful on the harissa chicken!
Why I marinate diced chicken instead of whole chicken breasts
I like to marinate cubed pieces of chicken instead of a whole chicken breast for 3 reasons.
- Each piece of chicken gets fully coated in the marinade for maximum flavor!
- The cubed pieces of chicken cook faster than a whole chicken breast.
- After you've cooked the chicken, there's no more work to be done slicing or dicing the cooked chicken. The chicken pieces can go straight into the bowl.
Cooking the chicken on the stove or in the oven instead of the grill
If you don't have a grill, or grill pan, you can cook the chicken in a large skillet on the stove over high heat for 6-8 minutes total, flipping 1-2 times during the cooking process.
You can also roast the chicken in the oven. I recommend placing the chicken on top of a wire baking rack on a rimmed baking sheet. This will allow the chicken to cook evenly on all sides without flipping it during the cooking process.
Place the chicken in the oven and cook at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
How to make it vegan
- To make this bowl vegan, substitute harissa broccoli for the harissa chicken.
- Follow the link for an easy to make roasted harissa broccoli recipe. You will also want to use hummus in the bowl, instead of the whipped feta dip.
- For another vegan option, you can also replace the chicken with tempeh. Marinate the tempeh just as you would the chicken, then either grill or pan fry the tempeh and add it to the bowls with quinoa, tomato cucumber salad and hummus.
How to make it low carb
- To make this bowl low carb, substitute greens for the quinoa.
- Omitting the quinoa and adding 1 cup of raw spinach or chopped romaine lettuce to each bowl, will result in the carbs being reduced from 28 grams per bowl, down to 9 grams per bowl. The net carbs will also be reduced from 23 grams per bowl, down to 7 grams per bowl.
- You can also use cauliflower rice instead of quinoa. Replacing ½ cup cooked quinoa in each bowl with ½ cup cooked cauliflower rice will reduce the carbs per bowl from 28 grams, down to 10 grams per bowl. The net carbs will also be reduced from 23 grams per bowl, down to 7 grams per bowl.
How to meal prep the bowls
- For storage:
- Prepare the marinated and grilled chicken according to the recipe instructions.
- Divide the prepared quinoa and grilled chicken between 4 separate storage containers.
- Divide the cucumber tomato salad between 4 smaller storage containers or zipper bags. Place in the larger containers.
- Divide the whipped feta dip or hummus between 4 small containers and add a container to each of the large containers.
- To reheat and eat:
- Remove the whipped feta dip or hummus and cucumber tomato salad from the larger containers.
- Reheat the chicken and quinoa in the microwave for 2 minutes.
- Add the cucumber tomato salad and feta dip or hummus back to the container with the chicken and quinoa.
More healthy chicken bowls to try
- Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Avocado Salsa
- Caribbean Jerk Chicken Bowls
- Tex Mex Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Keto Buffalo Chicken Bowl with Cheesy Zoodles
- Whole30 Grilled BBQ Chicken Bowl
- Greek Chicken Quinoa Bowls
- Chicken Shawarma Bowl
Harissa Chicken Bowl
- 1 lemon sliced into wedges
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup harissa paste or sauce
- Add the cubed chicken to a large zipper bag or bowl.
- Add the olive oil, moroccan seasoning and harissa sauce.
- Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the marinade.
- Either zip the bag closed or cover the bowl and place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
- Heat a grill or grill pan on the stove over high heat.
- Add the cubed chicken to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Divide the cooked quinoa between four bowls.
- Add the grilled harissa chicken to the bowls.
- Add the cucumber tomato salad and whipped feta dip.
- Optionally garnish with extra harissa paste, mint leaves and lemon wedges.
- The nutritional information provided is per bowl and does not include the optional toppings.
- You can cook the chicken on the stove or in the oven instead.
- To cook the chicken on the stove: add the marinated chicken to a large skillet on the stove over high heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes total, flipping 1-2 times during the cooking process.
- To cook the chicken in the oven: place the chicken on top of a wire baking rack on a rimmed baking sheet, this will allow the chicken to cook evenly on all sides without flipping it during the cooking process. Place the chicken in the oven and cook at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
- I recommend using foil on the grill. Depending on how your grill grates are spaced, you may want to grill the pieces of cubed chicken on a piece of foil so that they don't fall through the grill grates. This also makes clean-up a breeze! I recommend using a non-stick heavy duty foil.
- If you don't have time to make the whipped feta dip, or prefer a dairy-free option, you can add hummus to the bowl instead of the feta dip.