Grilled Chicken and Cous Cous Mediterranean Bowls

Back in 2005 my dad’s side of the family took a trip to Greece together. It was incredible and filled with memories I’ll never forget. I remember laughing until my belly hurt with my cousins and brother, falling in love with the relaxed atmosphere in my aunt’s hometown, daydreaming of the idea of being whisked away by a Greek boy, and the pride I felt visiting the towns my Yiayia and Papou grew up in. Oh, and visiting the most breathtaking place on earth: Santorini. I’ll never forget the cliffside views of the ocean, cobblestone streets and the picturesque white houses that lined the hills and streets. It’s even more beautiful in person. All of the memories will forever be etched into my brain.

It was a monumental trip because of the quality time I got to spend with my cousins, grandparents and parents, and it was also memorable because of the season I was living in. I was fresh in my teenage and high school years, and I remember not really being fond of leaving my friends for three weeks, but it ended up being one of the best times of my life. I did a lot of reflecting and growing a lot on that trip, and it helped prepare my heart and mind for the rest of my teenage years.

I can still smell the chicken gyros being cooked down the streets of Astros (my aunt’s town), and that’s exactly what I thought of as I was putting this dish together. This is no gyro, but the smells and colors really took me back to the carefree summer days and nights we all spent wandering down the main street.

I hope to go back some day and show Brett and the kids the places my family and I visited many years ago. In the meantime, I’ll be stuffing my face with all of the Greek food, listening to my Papou’s stories about his life there, and googling cheap flights to Athens (because we all know five tickets to Greece is going to cost a pretty penny). A girl can dream, right?

We make these bowls multiple times a month. Looking down at the ingredients and directions seems daunting, but I swear it’s not that complicated. A lot of the sides can be put together in advance, or can easily be substituted with store-bought versions. This bowl is so fresh and filling, and the grilled chicken screams summer!! If you end up making it, don’t forget to tag #marinamakeseats.

Grilled Chicken and Cous Cous Mediterranean Bowls

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kalamata olives
  • Hummus
  • Pita bread

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped cucumber, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber peeled and grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dill

Pearled couscous

  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of pearled couscous
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh herbs (I used rosemary and oregano)

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk the Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, honey oregano and garlic together until combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat it completely. Cover the bowl and set it in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, make the cucumber and tomato salad by combining the tomatoes, cucumber and feta in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and set in the fridge until it’s ready to be served.

Next, make the tzatziki sauce by whisking the yogurt, lemon juice, grated cucumber, cumin, salt and dill together Set aside in the fridge until it’s ready to be served.

Make the pearled couscous right before you fire up the grill. Add the chicken broth and olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Add the salt and then follow with the couscous. Stir everything together, place the heat on low and cover the pot. Cook the couscous for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. When the liquid has evaporated, add the butter, lemon zest and chopped herbs, and fluff with a fork to combine everything together.

Last, but not least, take the chicken out of the fridge and set your grill to medium-high heat. Preheat it for about 10 minutes. When the grill is ready, lower the heat slightly and place the flatter part of the chicken (where the skin used to be) down on the grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes, and then flip it and cook it on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. The chicken should have a nice char to it and be cooked through. If it’s not cooked through, throw it back on the grill for another 2-3 minutes. Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes. Place on a cutting board and cut it into bite-size pieces.

To assemble the bowl, I like to put my couscous on the bottom, sauces (hummus and tzatziki) on the bottom/sides and top all of that with chicken, cucumber and tomato salad, and kalamata olives. I also recommend serving this with pita bread.

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