A light & healthy summer dinner, packed with zesty flavor! Yogurt-marinated chicken skewers, all grilled up and nestled in a bed of colorful quinoa, studded with apricots, avocado, pistachios and feta. Yum!
Looking for a new way to do chicken? One that’s not only tastes great, but is easy to do on a weeknight?
This meal comes together quickly… and you’ll want to put it on repeat all summer long.
The secret is marinating the chicken in thick and creamy Greek yogurt. It makes the meat oh-so tender, and provides a lovely tanginess, which is accentuated by the lemon and garlic.
These skewers are great all on their own! BUT…
Complete the meal with quinoa studded with avocado, fresh apricots for sweetness, pistachios for crunch, and feta for its unmistakable brininess. This grain salad is SO good it’ll have you forgetting that it’s healthy to boot.
My favorite part of the dish is the fresh herbs. They’re one of my go-to zesty ingredients, and one of the best ways to make meals pop! Here, the dill and cilantro brighten the earthy quinoa, and the cilantro provides a hint of citrus to the chicken.
But what do you do with herbs leftover from a recipe? No one wants to let them languish in the back of the fridge until they become wilted. See my tips below for how to use up extra herbs.
So here’s the meal plan for the chicken and quinoa:
- Marinate the chicken for just 20 minutes, or overnight, whatever best fits into your world.
- When you’re ready to cook, start with the quinoa, as that will take the longest. Put it in a pot with plenty of water and simmer until tender.
- While it’s cooking, place your ingredients for the dressing in a large serving bowl. While the grains are still a little warm, toss them with the dressing. After they cool, add the remaining ingredients.
- All of this can be done ahead of time, but don’t add the nuts until serving as they will lose their crunch.
- Cook up your chicken, which should just take 15 or so minutes, et voila!
What can I do with leftover herbs?
- Make a vinaigrette: Put ½ cup rough chopped cilantro in a blender with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, ¼ cup evoo, salt and pepper to taste and a bit of lime juice. Puree and toss into your salad.
- Make a salsa: Chop tomatoes, white onion, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir together. Season with salt and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Make a dilled potato salad: Chop 2 tablespoons of dill and whisk with juice from ½ lemon, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, a tablespoon of chopped shallot, salt and pepper, evoo and a bit of honey. Toss with boiled potatoes and crumbled feta.
Are there any substitutions in this dish?
- If apricots are not in season, try another fruit such as blackberries or peaches, or use dried fruit such as cranberries or cherries.
- Try a different nut, such as almonds or walnuts.
- Many combinations of herbs will work. Mint, basil, and parsley are all lovely in this salad.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken Skewers with Avocado & Apricot Quinoa
For the chicken
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 3 large garlic cloves grated
- 1 teaspoon dried mint or use dried oregano
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac optional
- 6 skewers or more depending on the size of your skewers
For the quinoa
- 1 cup rainbow quinoa
- 1 small avocado peeled, pitted and cubed
- 2 small apricots
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup toasted and salted pistachios
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- Juice from ½ lime
- 1 ½ tablespoons champagne vinegar or use white wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus a little more for oiling your pan
- Preheat your oven to 375 F or heat your grill.
- Combine the ingredients to marinate the chicken, yogurt through sumac (if using), and whisk in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken into chunks, I like to use kitchen shears for this, and place in the marinade. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for a few hours.
- Meanwhile, cook your quinoa. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook until the grains are soft, about 25-30 minutes. Drain in a mesh strainer and return to the pot over low heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let the grains steam for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Put the chopped shallot to one side of a large, wide serving bowl. Add the lime juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and honey. You don’t need to mix it all at this point, but make sure the shallot is submerged in the vinegar and juice, as the acid will take away some of the sharpness. On the other side of the bowl, place the avocado, apricot, feta, pistachios, dill and cilantro. Set this aside. (If your bowl isn’t wide enough to hold everything, leave the avocado etc. out until ready to toss the salad all together).
- Divide the chicken among the skewers, pushing the pieces tightly together. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake, turning once, for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. If you are grilling the skewers, oil your grill grates and cook the chicken skewers, turning a few times, until they are cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking, finish up the quinoa salad. The grains should still be warm. Spoon them over the side of the bowl with the shallot mixture and toss to coat. Pour three tablespoons of olive oil over the grains, and once they are not steaming anymore, incorporate the rest of the contents (avocado, apricots, cheese etc) of the bowl into the salad. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add a bit more salt, and I always prefer a little more acidity to my grain salads and will sprinkle a little more vinegar over the grains. But this is up to you.
- When the chicken is finished, place the skewers on top of the quinoa and serve.