Dinner on the Grill: Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs with Whipped Feta Sauce

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Don’t these Chicken Kabobs look amazing? At our house, we ADORE anything that even hints at Greek food (if a recipe includes feta, it counts!). Bookmark this recipe. You’ll want it the next time it’s too hot to cook in your kitchen — which might be tonight! Full recipe and notes straight ahead.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

The key to great kabobs is totally the marinade. The grilling itself adds a lot of flavor, but grilling can also enhance a really delicious marinade and take it up a few notches.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Chicken breasts or thighs can be used here. Thighs have more flavor, but with the marinade and short cooking time, the chicken breasts stay tender and flavorful too. Use whichever you like best. And from there it’s all about the seasonings.

I use a base of either yogurt or buttermilk combined with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and add tons of spice and plenty of salt. Before adding meat or chicken to marinades, it’s important to taste it. And this one is a little on the salty side, but that’s what helps keep the chicken flavorful. The buttermilk, yogurt, and lemon juice help tenderize the meat as it’s seasoned with the spices. If you’re short on time, marinate for 30-45 minutes, but it really benefits from 4-5 hours. I like to prep it in the morning, pop the chicken in the fridge to hang out for a few hours, and then it’s ready when 6:00 rolls around.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

You don’t have to include veggies on the skewers, they can be cooked on separate skewers, but it is pretty with the alternating colors and the veggies do add extra flavor the chicken as it cooks. Just be sure to cut the veggies into small enough pieces so they cook in the same amount of time as the chicken. And for food safety reasons, be sure everything is piping hot and cooked through, including between the veggies and chicken.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

A word about skewers. I go back and forth between metal and bamboo skewers, but I think I like the metal ones when there’s meat or chicken involved. The skewers get piping hot and help cook the inside as the outside is cooking and it seems to help prevent undercooking. If you’re using bamboo skewers, the kabobs may require a bit more cooking time. That’s when it’s nice to have an indirect heat side of the grill. You can also put the lid on to finish cooking. I don’t usually put the lid on the grill for something that cooks this quickly. But every grill is different, so do what works best for you and feels intuitive.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

And now for one of the best parts: the Whipped Feta Sauce. Are you a fan of sauces? If there’s a yummy dipping sauce I’m a happy girl. This one is very simple — yogurt, feta, lemon juice, salt and pepper, a little olive oil, and fresh mint. And it’s glorious! Any leftover sauce can double as an awesome salad dressing or veggie dip too.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs with Whipped Feta Sauce

Ingredients
3 pounds chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt or buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, paprika
1/2 teaspoon each: ground ginger and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

For Whipped Feta Sauce:
4 ounces feta cheese
7 ounces Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For kabobs:
Metal or pre-soaked bamboo skewers
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2″ rounds
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1″ pieces
1-2 bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces (you won’t need an entire pepper, but the alternating colors are fun)

For serving:
8 soft flatbreads or pitas, warmed
Hummus
Lettuce
Cucumber slices
Tomato slices

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Instructions
For kabobs:
1. Place the cubed chicken in a casserole dish or large resealable plastic bag.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt or buttermilk, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, sugar, and spices. Pour over the chicken cubes and toss to coat. Cover dish or reseal bag and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes, or preferably several hours to marinate.

For Whipped Feta Sauce:
While chicken is marinating, place all of the sauce ingredients, except the mint, into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the mint and pulse a few times. Transfer to a jar or bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For kabobs:
1. Preheat a barbecue grill for direct heat. If using a charcoal grill, spread coals out evenly under the grate to prevent hot spots. Clean and oil the grill grates.
2. While the grill is preheating, thread the chicken cubes, zucchini, red onion, and bell peppers in alternating layers on the skewers. Set aside until ready to grill.
3. Place the prepared kabobs on the grill and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side, then rotate the skewers and allow to cook for several minutes each on the other three sides. The grill lid doesn’t need to be on for this. The kabobs cook fairly quickly.
4. Transfer the kebabs to a serving platter and keep warm until ready to serve.

For serving:
Serve kabobs on the skewer or folded into a pita with a little hummus, lettuce, cucumber, and tomato, topped with a drizzle of the Whipped Feta Sauce. Serve warm.

Serves 4-6

Notes:
– Cubed lamb or beef can be substituted for the chicken.
– Other vegetables can be substituted for the ones listed above.
– For a thicker feta sauce, use a little less yogurt. It will thicken slightly as it sits.
– To warm up the pitas or flatbreads, I use long tongs and place them directly on the grill after I’ve removed the kabobs. (This may require a little bit of scrubbing if the grates aren’t clean.) About 15-30 seconds per side is perfect.

Oven directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Have ready a broiler pan or well-oiled baking sheet. Place kabobs on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning the kabobs over halfway through cooking time. If you want them to get a nice golden color, place kabobs (still on the pan) under a hot broiler for a few minutes on each side.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs

P.S. — Ultimate Guide to Cooking on the Grill.


Created by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.

13 thoughts on “Dinner on the Grill: Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Kabobs with Whipped Feta Sauce”

  1. And just as I was searching for Fathers Day dinner, here comes Lindsey to the rescue with another great recipe! Problem solved! Thanks a million!!!

    1. Yes! It is homemade. This is how I make it. It’s really “to taste” meaning adjust it according to how you prefer the hummus to taste – i.e. more lemon, more salt, etc. If you’re not a fan of tahini (it can be bitter) start with less. I go for the full 4 tablespoons because I love it.

      Basic Hummus
      15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups), drained
      2-4 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
      1 garlic clove
      Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
      1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
      1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

      Place chickpeas, tahini, and garlic clove in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, cumin, and sea salt. Pulse a few times. With food processor running, add the olive oil through the feed hole. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add a little extra olive oil if hummus isn’t smoothing out. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

  2. Hi Lindsey–for those of us without a working grill, can you suggest a time & temperature for baking the chicken? Thanks!

    1. Oh! Good question, Laurie! I’ll go into the recipe and add oven directions. I would do 425°F for 15-20 minutes, maybe a few minutes longer, on a broiler pan or a well-oiled baking sheet. Turn the kabobs over once for even cooking. If you want them to get a nice golden color, you could also stick them under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Another little trick I’ve learned if you want that sort of smoky, grill flavor is to use a little smoked sea salt or smoked paprika to things I’ve cooked on the stove or oven and it almost tastes like the grill. ;)

  3. Alison Chambers

    Gabrielle, I love your blog. The grill actually works all winter. We don’t use it every week, but we do have the occasional steak all winter long. In Minnesota!

  4. Made this tonight for Father’s Day dinner and it’s a winner! So flavorful, that yogurt mint sauce was pure yumminess and the chicken was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!!

  5. Pingback: menu monday 35.

  6. Looks like a great recipe. So many pictures in this post though and to print it’s 19 pages! Any way to add print buttons to your site for recipes so that they come out on one page? Maybe I am missing something? Thanks.

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