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Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl with Lemon & Herb Tahini

As a fan of bowl recipes, I can confidently say that nothing beats the colourful, vibrant, and nutrient-packed nature of these dishes. Bowls are a perfect blend of convenience and nutrition, offering a variety of flavours and textures in every bite. Inspired by the rich and diverse Middle Eastern kitchen, this Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl combines all of my favourite flavours into one delightful and nutritious meal.

Imagine a bowl filled with tender, aromatic chicken pieces marinated in a blend of spices that transport you to the bustling souks of the Middle East. The chicken, air-fried to golden perfection, sits atop a bed of fluffy brown rice, providing a wholesome base for the dish. Alongside, a fresh and tangy cherry tomato and cucumber salad adds a burst of colour and crunch, while creamy, homemade hummus brings a velvety richness that ties all the elements together.

But the real magic lies in the finishing touch: a luscious lemon and herb tahini sauce that drizzles over the bowl, infusing every bite with a zesty, nutty flavour. This sauce, made with tahini paste, labneh, and fresh herbs, elevates the bowl to new heights, making it not just a meal but an experience.

Each component of this bowl is carefully crafted to offer a balance of flavours and nutrients. The protein from the chicken, brown rice fibre, and vitamins from fresh vegetables make this bowl a complete meal. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner, providing the energy and nourishment you need to power through your day.

Diabetic friendly properties

Maintains Steady Blood Sugar: The low glycemic index of chicken, chickpeas, and fresh vegetables helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Olive oil and tahini contain healthy fats that enhance insulin sensitivity.

Regulates Blood Sugar: High fibre content from vegetables and chickpeas combined with healthy fats from tahini and olive oil supports blood sugar control and heart health.

thyroid friendly properties

Reduces Inflammation: Anti-inflammatory properties from olive oil, tahini, tomato and parsley support thyroid health.

Enhances Thyroid Function: Essential minerals like selenium and magnesium found in chickpeas, chickens and vegetables aid in the production of thyroid hormones

Nutritional Information per serving

Nutritional Information (per serving without rice):

  • Calories: 520 kcal
  • Protein: 36g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g

½ cup of cooked brown rice serving:

  • Calories: 108
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 22 grams

Ingredients Used For Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl with Lemon & Herb Tahini

Air-Fried Chicken:

Boneless Chicken Thighs and Breasts: Using a mix of thighs and breasts ensures a balance of flavours and textures. Thighs are juicy and flavourful, while breasts are lean and tender.

Olive Oil: Provides a healthy fat base for the marinade, helping to coat the chicken evenly and infuse it with flavour.

Salt: Enhances the natural flavours of the chicken and other spices.

Black Pepper Powder: Adds a subtle heat and depth to the marinade.

Tomato Paste: Gives the marinade a rich, umami flavour and helps to create a beautiful caramelization on the chicken.

Minced Ginger and Garlic: These aromatics add a fragrant, zesty base to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavour profile.

Cinnamon Powder: Adds a warm, sweet-spicy note that is quintessential in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Cardamom Powder: Provides a unique, floral spice that complements the cinnamon.

Lemon Juice: Adds brightness and acidity, helping to tenderise the chicken and balance the richness of the marinade.

Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad:

Red Onion: Adds a sharp, sweet crunch to the salad.

Olive Oil: Acts as the base for the dressing, helping to coat the vegetables and enhance their flavours.

Sumac: This tangy spice gives the salad a distinct, citrusy flavour that pairs well with the fresh vegetables.

Lemon Juice: Adds acidity and brightness to the salad, balancing the olive oil and sumac.

Pepper: Enhances the overall seasoning of the salad.

Cherry Tomatoes: Provide a sweet and juicy contrast to the crunchy cucumbers.

Cucumbers: Add a refreshing, crisp texture to the salad.

Fresh Mint, Parsley, and Zaatar (Thyme): These herbs add freshness, colour, and a burst of flavour, making the salad vibrant and aromatic.

Hummus:

Chickpeas: The base of the hummus, providing protein, fibre, and a creamy texture.

Tahini: Adds a nutty, rich flavour and smooth texture to the hummus.

Paprika: Gives a hint of smokiness and a touch of colour.

Lemon Juice and Zest: Add acidity and brightness, balancing the richness of the tahini and chickpeas.

Minced Garlic: Adds a pungent, savoury depth to the hummus.

Salt and Black Pepper: Enhance and balance the flavours of the hummus.

 Lemon and Herb Tahini Sauce:

Tahini Paste: The base of the sauce provides a rich, nutty flavour.

Labneh: Adds creaminess and a tangy flavour, balancing the richness of the tahini.

Green Onion: Adds a mild, fresh onion flavour.

Fresh Mint and Green Chili: Add freshness and a hint of heat to the sauce.

Lemon Juice: Adds acidity and brightness, enhancing the flavours of the sauce.

Water: Helps to achieve the desired consistency.

Chilli Powder (Optional): Adds a touch of heat, if desired.

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Enhance the overall seasoning of the sauce.

Bowl Of Rice:

Cooked Brown Rice: Provides a wholesome, nutty base that complements the other ingredients and adds fibre and nutrients.

Alternative Ingredients

Protein: Substitute chicken with turkey, lamb, tofu, or chickpeas for a vegetarian option.

Oil: Use avocado oil or coconut oil as alternatives to olive oil.

Spices: Experiment with cumin, paprika, or allspice in the marinade.

Vegetables: Swap cherry tomatoes and cucumbers with bell peppers, radishes, or roasted vegetables.

Grains: Replace brown rice with quinoa, bulgur, or couscous.

Hummus: Use store-bought hummus for convenience or try a different dip like baba ganoush.

Labneh: Substitute with Greek yoghurt for a similar texture and flavour.

Preparation Tips For Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl with Lemon & Herb Tahini

  • Marinating Chicken: For maximum flavour, marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Air Frying: Preheat the air fryer to ensure even cooking. Turn the chicken halfway through cooking for a uniform golden brown colour.
  • Chopping Vegetables: Chop vegetables uniformly for even cooking and a visually appealing presentation.
  • Making Hummus: Add cold water gradually while blending to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.

Serving Tips For Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl with Lemon & Herb Tahini

  • Presentation: Arrange the components of the bowl attractively, starting with a base of brown rice, followed by chicken, salad, and a dollop of hummus. Drizzle the sauce just before serving.
  • Garnishing: Garnish with additional fresh herbs or a sprinkle of sumac for added flavour and colour.
  • Accompaniments: Serve with pita bread or flatbread to scoop up the hummus and chicken.

Storage Tips

Refrigeration: Store components separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: Freeze marinated chicken for up to 1 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking and serving.

Reheating: Reheat chicken in the air fryer or oven at a low temperature to maintain its texture and flavour. When reheating, add a splash of water or stock to the rice to keep it moist.

Arabic Spiced Chicken Bowl with Lemon & Herb Tahini

Servings: 4 people
Prep Time: 21 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes

Ingredients 

Air-Fried Chicken

  • 500 g boneless chicken thigh and breasts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp Arabic spice
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad

  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cucumbers, chopped
  • a handful fresh mint, chopped
  • a handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • a handful fresh zaatar (thyme), chopped

Hummus

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 lemon, zest & juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Lemon and Herb Tahini Sauce

  • ½ cup tahini paste
  • ½ cup labneh
  • 1 tbsp green onion
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • cup water
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Bowl

  • cooked brown rice

Instructions

  • Prepare the Chicken: In a medium sized bowl, place chicken, mix the olive oil, salt, black pepper powder, tomato paste, minced ginger, minced garlic, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, Arabic spice and lemon juice to prepare the marinade. Allow to marinate for 1 hour, ideally overnight. Preheat the air fryer to 180°C (350°F). Place the marinated chicken in the air fryer basket and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through, until fully cooked and golden brown.
  • Prepare the Salad: In a small bowl, combine the sliced onions, olive oil, lemon juice, sumac, and season with salt and pepper. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chopped parsley, mint, and zaatar. Pour the onion dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
  • Make the Hummus: Add the chickpeas, tahini, paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until creamy, adding a tablespoon of cold water at a time to reach the desired consistency (approximately ¼ cup of water). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Make the Lemon and Herb Tahini Sauce: In a food processor, blend together the tahini paste, labneh, green onions, garlic, fresh mint and lemon juice. Gradually add the water, whisking continuously until smooth. Add in the salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Assemble the Bowl: In a serving bowl, add a portion of cooked brown rice. Top with a serving of air-fried Arabic spiced chicken. Add a generous spoonful of the cherry tomato and cucumber salad. Add a dollop of hummus. Drizzle with the lemon and herb tahini sauce to finish.

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