These harissa chicken skewers are loaded with flavor thanks to the North African hot sauce, fresh veggies and traditional Moroccan spices. Served over a bed of couscous or with fresh bread, they make a wonderful meal in just 30 minutes.
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Made with a blend of hot peppers, traditional Moroccan spices, oil, and preserved lemons, the result is a truly unique thick, smokey, and tangy paste that is delicious with chicken, fish, and veggies.
Today we're using it as the base for these harissa chicken skewers and pairing them with tomatoes, onion, and zucchini.
Use a clear shot of the ingredients for this recipe, prepped, and labeled if necessary. Insert the ingredients into the list below, omitting quantities.
- olive oil
- harissa paste
- garlic, grated or minced finely
- lemons, cut in half
- chicken thighs, each one cut into sixths
- red onion, cut into eighths
- cherry tomatoes
- zucchini, cut into thick rounds
See recipe card for quantities.
Start by prepping your grill or stovetop. Prep your cooking vessel of choice and heat to medium high heat.
Hint: If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak in water for at least an hour to prevent burning.
Prep the marinade. In a small bowl combine the oil, harissa, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic and the juice of one of the lemons. Mix well and set aside.
Marinate the chicken & veggies. In a large bowl combine the pieces of chicken, onion, zucchini and whole tomatoes. Add the harissa sauce and mix well to coat everything with marinade.
Thread the chicken & veggies on skewers. Make sure to alternate between pieces of chicken and veggies to make sure each skewer has an equal amount.
Grill or cook. Add the skewers and remaining halved lemon to the grill or cook top and keep them on each side for a few minutes before turning. Continue this until the chicken is cooked through (usually takes around 10 minutes).
Serve. Serve the skewers with a generous squeeze of the grilled lemon and fresh herbs. They are delicious served over a bed of couscous or with freshly baked bread.
Harissa paste is a North African hot sauce made with a blend of chili peppers, spices, oil, and sometimes preserved lemon.
It's used to add spice and acidity to many tagines, veggies, salads, as well as meat and seafood dishes.
The cool thing about making your own harissa is that you can control how spicy it is. Following the directions in my harissa recipe, you select the peppers you want to use depending on how hot you want the final result.
Feel free to use whatever veggies are in season for you locally. I used some of my favorite veggies that can be found in Moroccan tagines and salads.
Here are some ideas:
- artichoke hearts - if you use the marinated artichoke hearts they keep the harissa chicken skewers nice and juicy and add epic flavor.
- yellow onion or shallots - red onion is often paired with tomatoes in Morocco, hence why I used it. But have fun with whatever is accessible to you.
- peppers - summer peppers are in season and really fun to grill. Try some bell or hatch peppers for a tame addition or lean into the harissa pepper flavor with something spicy.
If you don't like tomatoes (or any of the veggies here), feel free to skip them or add and subtract ingredients as you see fit. You can also just double the chicken and skip the veggies altogether.
This recipe is pretty hard to mess up.
What to Eat it With
As mentioned above, my favorite way to eat these chicken skewers are served over a bed of warm couscous or with fresh bread.
That said, they're great on their own with fresh herbs (mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.) and lots of that grilled lemon juice squeezed over the top.
Here are some traditional Moroccan salads that I would serve with these to make it a proper Moroccan meal:
The only special tools you need to make this recipe is a grill or grill top for your stove and skewers.
These harissa chicken skewers make great leftovers. Just thread the veggies and chicken off of the skewers and into a container with an air tight lid.
Store in the fridge and enjoy for up to 5 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
It's really important to soak your wooden skewers before using for at least 1 hour. This helps prevent any burning!