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Grilled Harissa Chicken Salad with Green Tahini Dressing

  • Prep Time:
  • 2 hour(s)
  • 40 mins
  • Cook Time:
  • 20 mins
  • Total Time:
  • 3 hour(s)

The star of this salad is truly the green tahini dressing. It's a vibrant combination of Calivirgin Bountiful Basil Olive Oil and Soom Sesame Premium Tahini, blended with lots of herbs, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice (think Green Goddess dressing with an extra herbaceous kick). The tahini lends a nutty creaminess without any added dairy, while the basil oil, fresh cilantro and mint bring lively, bright flavor.

In a world of work-from-home lunches, snacks for dinner and upgraded leftovers, we love making a double batch of the dressing for drizzling, dousing and dipping.

  • Spoon liberally over grilled late summer vegetables, like zucchini, eggplant and Jimmy Nardello peppers.
  • Skip the mayo and use as a dressing for potato salad.
  • Toss with shredded cabbage and thinly sliced cucumbers and pile this green tahini slaw on top of Pimentón-spiced lamb burgers.
  • Make a dip-for-dinner plate: serve alongside leftover sliced grilled meats, crunchy fresh veggies (we love cucumber spears, sliced radishes, carrots and blanched green beans) and quartered little gem lettuces.


Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy

Serves 4


For harissa chicken

For the green tahini dressing & salad

  • Zest of one lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • Half jalapeño, seeds and veins removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 cups mixed lettuces, like little gems, butter lettuce and arugula
  • 1/2 cup dill fronds, torn into large, bite-sized pieces
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-4 medium to large radishes, thinly sliced


To prepare the chicken, combine the harissa, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat all the meat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to overnight (don't marinate it longer than 8-10 hours because the lemon juice will break down the proteins in the chicken, making it grainy in texture).

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before grilling to let the meat come to room temperature.

While the chicken is coming to room temperature, prepare a grill to medium high heat. If you're using a charcoal grill, pour the hot charcoal on one side of the grill, so there is a section of direct and indirect heat. Place the grate on the grill and lightly oil before placing the chicken, side side down, on the indirect heat portion of the grill. Grill until chicken is almost cooked through, flipping halfway through, about 4 minutes per side. Move the chicken thighs to the direct heat portion of the grill and cook on one minute more on each side to develop caramelization and a char. Remove the chicken, transfer to a plate or baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, make the dressing. Combine the basil oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, cilantro, 1/2 cup of mint leaves, jalapeño, garlic and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, place the lettuces, remaining half cup of mint leaves, dill fronds, cherry tomatoes and radishes in a large bowl. Toss gently with two-thirds of the dressing. Mound the dressed salad onto a serving platter. Slice the rested chicken thighs and arrange on top or beside the salad. Serve the remaining third of the dressing on the side for extra drizzling at the table.