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Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber-and-Tomato Salad

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 20 mins
Total time 8 hrs, 20 mins
Yield

Serves 4 (serving size: 2 chicken thighs, 1/2 cup salad, and 1/2 cup rice)

If you thought tahini functioned mainly as a condiment, you’ll love it in a marinade—it makes the chicken buttery tender without an overwhelming amount of sesame flavor in the finished dish. It also helps the chicken char nicely on the grill. The chopped salad is inspired by the Israeli original, usually stuffed into pita pockets with shawarma (slow-grilled meat) and drizzled with tahini sauce. We reserve some of the tahini mixture from the marinade for topping the finished dish. You can also substitute couscous, cooked bulgur, or toasted whole-wheat pita wedges for the rice.

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste), well stirred
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 small shallot, finely grated
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice

Nutrition Information

  • calories 448
  • fat 18.6 g
  • satfat 3.5 g
  • monofat 9 g
  • polyfat 31 g
  • protein 39 g
  • carbohydrate 31 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 160 mg
  • iron 4 mg
  • sodium 544 mg
  • calcium 76 mg
  • sugars 3 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. To prepare chicken, combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Place 1/4 cup tahini mixture in a small bowl; reserve. Place remaining tahini mixture and chicken in a large ziplock plastic bag; seal, turning to coat chicken. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Preheat grill to medium (350°F to 450°F). Coat grill grate with cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Arrange chicken on grill grate; cover and cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Arrange chicken on a platter; drizzle with reserved 1/4 cup tahini mixture.

  3. To prepare the salad, combine cucumber and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a bowl; toss gently to combine. Serve cucumber salad with chicken and rice.