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Grilled Harissa Chicken Salad with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

When you need a little bit of Summer in your life, this healthy dish will leave you happy and ready to conquer the world. A spicy North African harissa, mixed with creamy avocados, cilantro vinaigrette and juicy grilled chicken and pineapple. Can you beat that?
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Healthy, Main Dish
Cuisine: Moroccan, North African
Servings: 4 people


Harissa Chicken

  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp harissa see recipe below
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry cilantro
  • 1 lime juice only
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • salt & pepper


  • 50 gr dried chiles Guajilo 20%, Bird's Eye 80%
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juice optional
  • 1 lemon, juice optional
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon optional
  • 1 tsp cayenne optional

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50 gr fresh cilantro 1 cup
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lime juice only
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 80 ml olive oil 1/3 cup

Salad Ingredients

  • 120 gr spinach 4 cups
  • 40 gr arugula 2 cups
  • 8 rings pineapple 1,3 cm thick (you might want more!)
  • 2 roasted red peppers roasting in recipe below
  • 4 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 avocados sliced


  • Preheat oven to 230C/450F.
  • Soak the dried chiles in a bowl of boiling water and cover, let sit for 30 minutes. I used the very spicy bird's eye chilli, in addition to the milder guajilo chiles.
  • While the chiles are soaking, place two red peppers, sliced in half, on baking paper. Place in an oven pre-heated of 230C/450F and roast for 30 minutes. When these are done, cool them down in a covered bowl before you remove the skin. Slice/julienne them up and they are done! 
  • Roast all the delicious Moroccan spices and grind them in a spice grinder or in a mortar.
  • Drain the chiles and begin de-seeding them - pro tip: use gloves for this step! I do not de-seed the guajilos, but about 90% of the bird's eye chiles. Place them in a spice grinder, food processor or the like.
  • When this is done, place all the other harissa ingredients in the food processor and let the magic begin. The desired result would be a smooth and thick paste. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you want to store it for later, place it in a jar and add a layer of olive oil on top and use within a month. 
  • Marinade the chicken breasts in 2-3 tbsp of the harissa, 1 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp dry cilantro, juice of one lime and lemon and salt and pepper. Let sit for 10-20 minutes in the fridge. Don't forget to heat up the grill.
  • For the delicious creamy and tangy cilantro vinaigrette. Just mix all the sauce ingredients in a blender, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  • Grill the chicken and 8 rings of pineapple (yes, you need it all). Slice up two avocados, spinach, arugula, and crumble some feta cheese and then you're ready to assemble this beast of a healthy dish. 


2. You might find the bird's eye chilli a little too spicy, and might want to consider other kinds of dried chilli instead, such as Chipotle for smokiness, Ancho or Pasilla chiles for richness and so forth.
Author: Stine Mari from Ginger with Spice
Recipe adapted from: JoyfulHealthyEats.