Tahini chicken skewers and maftoul, quinoa and courgette salad with pesto and whipped feta

Serves 4 Starters and mains

Chicken tahini couscous 1011



  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 5tbsp pressed apple juice
  • 1/4tsp pure sesame oil
  • 2tbsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/2tsp gochujang paste
  • 4 corn-fed chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 1tbsp toasted sesame seeds, to serve

For the pesto

  • 4tbsp tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 30g basil, stalks removed
  • 15g flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed, roughly chopped
  • pinch sugar
  • juice 1 lemon
  • 6tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 2tbsp extra if needed

For the salad

  • 5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g baby courgettes, sliced
  • 125g stringless beans, sliced diagonally
  • 50g mixed-colour quinoa
  • 150g maftoul (giant couscous)
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2-3tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2tsp pul biber chilli flakes

For the whipped feta

  • 200g feta
  • 150g full-fat yoghurt
  • 100g tahini


Put the sugar in a small pan and add 2tbsp apple juice. Set over a low heat to slowly dissolve the sugar and make a clear syrup, then increase the heat and boil to a golden caramel. Remove from the heat, add another 2tbsp apple juice and dissolve the caramel over a low heat.

Pour into a large bowl and stir in the sesame oil, tahini and garlic. Combine the remaining 1tbsp apple juice and the lemon juice in another bowl, add the gochujang paste and mix until smooth, then add to the bowl with the caramel. Leave to get cold.

Slice each chicken breast lengthways into 5 fillets. Season with salt and pepper, add to the cold marinade, coating well, then cover and set aside in the fridge for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Put all the ingredients and a pinch of salt in a small processor and whizz to a purée, adding up to 2tbsp extra oil if necessary for the right consistency, and chill.

Put all the ingredients for the whipped feta in a processor with a splash of water and whizz to a fine paste and set aside.

To make the salad, heat 2tbsp oil in a frying pan, add the courgettes and stir-fry for a few minutes. Put the beans in a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minutes, drain and then refresh in cold water. Drain again and put in a bowl along with the courgettes.

Put the quinoa in a small pan and cover with water. Cook with the lid on for around 10 minutes, then drain and season.

Meanwhile, heat another 2tbsp oil in a frying pan set over a medium heat and stir-fry the maftoul for around 2 minutes until golden. Remove from the heat and add 300ml of the stock and a little salt. Put back on the heat and simmer with the lid on for around 7 minutes until the stock has been absorbed. Add the remaining stock and cook with the lid on for around 4 minutes until cooked and the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Transfer the quinoa, chives, the cooked courgettes and beans and the maftoul to a bowl and add the black pepper. Mix the lemon juice in a small bowl with the remaining 1tbsp oil and fold it through the quinoa mix, then transfer to the fridge.

Take the chicken skewers and salad out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking. Preheat the grill or barbecue to high and line a baking tray with foil.

Weave the pieces of chicken on to 20 skewers (pre-soaked if wooden), put on the baking tray and grill for around 3 minutes until golden spots appear. Turn them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until cooked through.

Arrange the salad on plates, scatter the pul biber over, then top with the chicken skewers and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over. Serve with bowls of pesto and whipped feta to dip.

Recipe and food styling from Linda Tubby; photography by Angela Dukes
Chicken tahini couscous 1011
Recipe and food styling from Linda Tubby; photography by Angela Dukes


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