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When it comes to simple summer eats, these Mediterranean chicken skewers are gonna be your newest food friend.
They’re juicy and tender, lightly scented with cilantro and bright with lemony (that’s totally a word) goodness, not to mention warmly spiced with ginger and turmeric. So, pretty much all my favorite things, flavor wise. And the real bonus here: I didn’t have to fire up my oven or heat up my kitchen to make them!
I’m super late to the Grill All The Things party that seems to happen all around me once summer (or even spring!) kicks into higher temperatures.
For a start, I grew up in the Land of Rained On BBQs, in which the star of my summer food memories was always someone else’s dad or uncle trying to wrangle an at least slightly sodden grill that was being unsuccessfully shielded from the rain by either a fancy yet not rain resistant patio umbrella, or – if they’d been fighting the weather for a while now – a couple of slightly tipsy (and very hungry) people wielding umbrellas.
Of course, English optimism being what it is when it comes to the two weeks a year where it’s not insane to contemplate cooking outside… people still tried!
While I now live in arguably what feels like one of the sunniest, driest places on earth… I’m not exactly experienced with outside the kitchen cooking. And so, in the past, I’ve always left the non-kitchen cookery to my guy. I was patient when he bought a smoker and supportive when he built some complicated looking grilling contraption complete with giant flames and an oversized grate-on-a-crank.
Buuuuut I can’t say I was enthused about either. The smoker only had the capacity to hold a few handfuls of wood chips… that didn’t really produce any actual flavorful smoke. And the I-made-it-myself grilling gadget was wildly unreliable, for obvious reasons. So I just left that outdoor cooking business to my husband… who eventually lost all interest, too.
(Dinners that take 5 hours when they were supposed to be ready in an hour will do that to anyone, really!)
Now what really changed my mind about this grilling business? The day I set up my Traeger wood pellet grill and fired that sucker up for the first time. Me, the grilling skeptic.. was totally blown away. Because a wood pellet grill gave me the best of both worlds: the reliability and control that I enjoyed in my own kitchen… with all the smoky, yes-I-grilled-this-goodness flavor of, well, grilling.
(Full disclosure: I was provided with a Pro Series 34 by Traeger. Creating custom content like this original recipe helps me keep Meatified up and running – you can rest assured that I only work with brands I genuinely love and wholeheartedly recommend to you, my friends.)
The fact that you can grill, smoke, bbq, roast, braise and bake using the same, easy to use grill is a definite win, too. I’ve tested out my Pro Series 34 Traeger on a huge variety of meals and food projects in the last few weeks and what’s really surprised me the most is how much flavor the wood pellet grill can infuse into meals, even with a short cook time. I’ve made bbq’d ribs, chicken & shrimp, grilled corn, baked potatoes, roasted veggies and even smoked my own salmon!
(If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll have seen some of these awesome meals and tasty things, because that’s where I share them first!)
These Mediterranean chicken skewers were one of the first successes of my Traegering experiments, because despite the relatively short cooking time, they have a lovely smoky richness from the hardwood that balances beautifully with the lemon, herbs & spices in the marinade. With a couple of nicely charred bits from the grilling marks, these Mediterranean chicken skewers are total crowd pleasers. I usually make at least a double batch now, since they make for great leftovers, too.
To really go with the “I’m pretending to be in the Med” theme of this recipe’s flavors, I decided to make what I lovingly refer to in my bean-less house as a “hummus a like”. My artichoke hummus is a creamy, dreamy whipped dip that goes so very well with these Mediterranean chicken skewers, especially when paired with crunchy, refreshing cucumber & briny olives.
(I kept this recipe AIP elimination phase friendly, but if you’ve reintroduced seeds without issue, adding a smidge of tahini to the artichoke hummus would be lovely!)
Don’t have a grill or just want to make these inside? Thread the skewers and bake them in a 425F / 220 C oven, turning once, until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F / 75 C, about 25 minutes.Print
Lemony Mediterranean Chicken Skewers with Artichoke Hummus, Cucumber & Olives
Please note that prep times don’t include marinade time, since the chicken can be marinaded for as little as an hour or overnight, if you like. The full batch of artichoke hummus here makes a little over 2 cups / 500 g, so you will have leftovers… maybe!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 20 - 25 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 4-6
For the chicken skewers:
- 2 – 2 1/2 lbs / 900 – 1135 g boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp / 90 ml mild olive oil or neutral flavored avocado oil (I use this one)
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml fresh lemon juice (see notes)
- 4 peeled cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp / 18 g minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml honey, optional
- 1 tbsp / 2 g dried cilantro leaves
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric (I like this one)
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, optional, omit for AIP
For the artichoke hummus:
- 14 oz / 395 g well drained brined artichoke hearts or thawed frozen artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp / 90 ml mild olive oil or neutral flavored avocado oil
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & germ removed (see notes)
- Sliced cucumber
- Pitted green olives
- Wedges of fresh lemon
- Drizzle of olive oil
- CHOP: Trim the chicken thighs of any stray pieces of fat, then chop each one into 1 1/2 inch / 4 cm sized pieces. Add the chicken thigh pieces to a large bowl or freezer bag.
- MARINADE: In a large wide mouthed mason jar, add all of the marinade ingredients, from the oil through to the optional black pepper, if using. Use an immersion blender to blend into a smooth marinade, then pour it over the chicken pieces. Toss to coat the chicken evenly, then either seal up the freezer bag or tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
- HEAT: Pre-heat your grill. If using a Traeger model like mine, set it on the Smoke setting for 5 minutes with the lid open first. Then set the temperature to High / 450F, close the lid and let it pre-heat for about 15 minutes or so, until it comes to temperature.
- BLEND: While the grill is pre-heating, make the artichoke hummus. Make sure to measure the weight of the artichokes out after they have been drained – I like to lightly squeeze them in my hands to make sure they don’t have any excess water that will make the hummus runny, rather than creamy. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, process until creamy but not quite smooth. Taste and add additional lemon or season with salt, to taste, if you like. Cover and refrigerate the hummus while you prep & cook the chicken.
- SKEWER: Make sure that you’ve pre-soaked the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes beforehand if you’re using wooden / bamboo skewers that might burn on a hot grill. Shaking off the excess marinade as you go, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, folding the pieces over so that they’re skewered at two points, which will hold them in place more firmly.
- GRILL: Place the chicken skewers directly on the grill grates and close the lid. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the skewers over so that both sides have their time directly on the grates. Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 F / 73 C, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest.
- SERVE: Swirl the artichoke hummus in the bottom of a large bowl or platter. Place the chicken skewers on top, along with the sliced cucumber, green olives and fresh lemon. Drizzle the artichoke hummus with a little extra olive oil, if you like!
Since the combined components of this dish call for a lot of lemon juice, I’ll often use a high quality, preservative free bottled lemon juice, like this one. However, if you are using fresh lemons, add some of the zest into the marinade, too!
Removing the germ is optional, but I prefer to do so when using it raw in something that may sit in the fridge a few days, as I find whole garlic cloves will become more pungent over time. With the germ removed, that doesn’t seem to happen, which prevents the artichoke hummus becoming too bitter or pungent when I come to finish up the leftovers! If that doesn’t bother you, or you really love a strong garlic flavor, leave it in.
I kept this recipe AIP elimination phase friendly, but if you’ve reintroduced seeds without issue, adding a smidge of tahini to the artichoke hummus would be lovely!
Don’t have a grill or just want to make these inside? Thread the skewers and bake them in a 425F / 220 C oven, turning once, until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F / 75 C, about 25 minutes.
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