This Mediterranean grilled chicken salad is full of delicious Mediterranean spices and flavors. Its star is tender grilled chicken that’s marinated in a Greek yogurt and ras el hanout spice mix. The salad is finished with feta, olives, artichoke hearts, cucumber, tomato, parsley and a delicious lemon sumac dressing.
Why make this recipe?
This is a delicious meal salad that I make over and over again throughout the summer. It’s full of flavorful spices and vegetables you typically find in Mediterranean cuisine. (For more light Mediterranean flavors, be sure to also check out this orzo pesto salad with grilled shrimp.)
The star of the salad are the juicy and tender grilled chicken bites that are marinated in ras el hanout-spiced Greek yogurt. The spices infuse the meat and give it a delicious and complex flavor while the yogurt gently tenderizes the chicken without making it rubbery.
The dressing is a bright and flavorful mix of lemon juice, sumac, cumin, a little bit of salt and olive oil and it works beautifully with all the fresh vegetables.
How to make homemade ras el hanout:
Ras el hanout is a north African spice blend and, loosely translated, the term means “the best spices on offer.” That means that there is no hard and fast rule as to what all can go into a ras el hanout blend. But, some spices are common among the different ras el hanout versions, including cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander and clove.
The spices I use in my ras el hanout blend are:
- fennel seeds
- black peppercorns
How to make it:
From spice seeds:
If you enjoy grinding your own spices, you can make ras el hanout from whole seeds (plus ground cinnamon).
From already ground spices:
Alternatively, you can get all spices already ground and mix those together instead. The amounts of ground spice you need will differ slightly from those of whole seeds and are listed in the recipe card below. Here is a good resource if you’re interested in learning more about how to convert whole spice to ground spice.
How to make the salad:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Marinate and grill the chicken:
- Whisk Greek yogurt, lemon juice, ras el hanout and salt together in a bowl, then stir in the chicken chunks. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.
- Take the chicken out and lightly shake off excess marinade. (You can also use a paper towel to lightly dab off excess marinade.) Skewer the chicken and grill on a grill or a grill pan.
Prepare vegetables and feta:
- Finely chop parsley, quarter or chop artichoke hearts, core and dice tomatoes and slice and quarter cucumber.
- Add salad greens onto plates. Top the greens with tomato, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and cucumber. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese and parsley on top. Distribute the grilled chicken chunks between the plates.
Make the lemon sumac dressing:
Whisk together sumac, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
The ground sumac will settle to the bottom, so be sure to spoon the dressing on the salad immediately after whisking it together.
Recipe notes & tips:
- Cutting the chicken into small pieces (rather than marinating whole chicken breasts) ensures that the marinade can really infuse the meat well. It also makes for a really short grilling time (about 10 minutes).
- Be sure to keep a little bit of marinade on the chicken to give it a velvety, flavorful and slightly tangy coating. That coating not only tastes delicious, it also protects the meat during grilling and keeps it from getting dry or tough.
Frequently asked questions:
You can store the individual components of the salad (the vegetables, the chicken and the dressing) in separate, airtight containers in the fridge for up to a day. Once you’ve spooned the dressing onto the salad it’s best to eat it.
Absolutely. But, as always, I recommend that you get the blend from a dedicated spice shop to ensure freshness and quality.
Ras el hanout has an earthy flavor that is balanced with citrus from cardamom and a hint of sweetness from cinnamon and clove. The blend works great with chicken.
More Mediterranean dishes you’ll love:
Did you make this recipe? It would be awesome if you could leave a rating. Either tap or click the stars in the recipe card or leave a comment below. Thanks!
Full Printable Recipe
Ras el Hanout Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad with Sumac Dressing
For the ras el hanout spice blend (makes ~ 2 tablespoons):*
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or ½ teaspoon ground coriander)
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves (or ⅜ teaspoon ground clove)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (or ¾ teaspoon ground fennel seeds)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ¾ teaspoon ground cumin)
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or ¾ teaspoon ground fenugreek)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or 1 teaspoon ground black pepper)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the chicken:
- ½ cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ras el hanout
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
For the salad:
- 2 cups salad greens
- 4 artichoke hearts, drained (you can use plain from a can or marinated from a jar)
- ½ cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 12 kalamata olives
- 1 large or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground sumac
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the ras el hanout spice blend:
- If you're using spice seeds, grind all seeds in a spice grinder or in a mortar with a pestle, then mix in the cinnamon. If you're using ground spices, mix all spices together.
For the chicken:
- Whisk yogurt, ras el hanout, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl. Mix in the chicken, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.
- Shake excess marinade off the chicken or dab the chicken lightly with a paper towel to remove excess marinade.
- Grill the chicken either on the grill or on a grill pan. (Heat the grill pan on the stovetop on high heat or heat it in the oven at 450 degrees F.)The chicken is ready when its internal temperature registers 165 degrees F. and that should take about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit.
For the salad:
- Assemble the salad: start with the salad greens, then add artichoke hearts, cucumber, olives and tomato. Sprinkle feta and parsley on top, then add the chicken.
For the dressing:
- Whisk all ingredients together, then spoon the dressing onto the salad. Serve immediately.