​This easy and spice dish is full of Middle Eastern flavors and so good you’ll be making it time and time again. It’s also pretty simple and done in about 20 minutes. The perfect quick evening meal.

Quinoa bowl with spicy harissa

Quinoa bowl with harissa chicken

I have a soft spot for harissa paste. I find it so versatile and easy to use. Harissa is essentially a hot chili pepper paste. In this case I am combining it with chicken breasts which I rub with the harissa. That is easiest if you place the chicken in a small bowl and scoop the harissa on top. Rub it in with your hands. Best to use gloves if you do that tough. You don’t want to accidentally rub your harissa fingers in your eyes later. I’ve done that once after cutting red peppers. I had washed my hands but the residue on my fingers was killing. Not a good thing to do!

Now heat a griddle pan on medium heat and bake the chicken that way. In the meantime place a pot with salted water on the stove as well and cook the quinoa with a stock cube. The easiest way to make sure the chicken cooks quickly and evenly is to flatten it somewhat with a rolling pin. In order to do that I place the chicken fillet between two sheets of clingfilm and gently – but not too gently – pound on the chicken with the rolling pin. Or use a frying pan to do that. That would work as well. Perfect way to get rid of any aggression. Haha.

Person holding a quinoa bowl with spicy harissa chicken


With the quinoa I serve courgette. So I cut the courgette in smaller pieces and place a pan on the stove on medium-high heat and cook the courgette until done. You can also add some onions and garlic cloves if you want. I’ve also added some chestnut mushrooms here, but the dish is pretty flexible. So you can add any extra roasted veggies you might have at hand. Roasted bell peppers would be delicious here as well.

Once the quinoa is cooked, let it drain and place in a large bowl. Add a bit of sea salt and black pepper and add the cooked zucchini and the fresh herbs to the bowl as well. The griddle chicken I cut into thin strips and add on top of the quinoa. If you want a bit of freshness you can stir in some lemon zest if you like. 

Since the only vegetables added to this dish are the courgette you can go for a fresh tomato salad on the side or a nice green salad with seasonal vegetables will also work really well. Every quinoa dish gets better with a little olive oil so definitely add that to the dish and make sure you taste if it needs anything else. You could add some additional Moroccan seasonings as that would work quite well in this dish.


If you do not like quinoa you can also make this with cauliflower rice. I love doing that as the cauliflower adds extra vegetables. Just make sure you don’t cook the cauliflower rice but quickly add to the courgette at the end of the cook. You can serve the quinoa with harissa chicken with some extra harissa sauce if you want.

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Quinoa bowl with spicy harissa

Quinoa with harissa chicken

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KeukenMiddle eastern

Easy and delicious quinoa salad with a spicy harissa chicken
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes

2 people


  • 250 g chicken fillet
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 150 g quinoa
  • 1 courgette zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms cut into slices
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme leaves only
  • 2 leaves sage chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons chives chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds roasted
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

How to make the quinoa bowl

  • Rub the harissa on the chicken filets and sprinkle some of the smoked paprika over it. Don’t overdo it as the smoky flavor can be quite overpowering.
  • Heat a griddle or frying pan and bake your chicken. Be careful as the harissa tends to spatter a bit
  • Put a pot of boiling water on and add 1 cube of chicken stock. Once boiling add your quinoa and cook for about 15minutes or according to package instructions.
  • Heat a frying pan with oil and bake your courgette first. Once they start to soften, add the mushrooms and the thyme leaves as well as the sage.
  • Roast your sunflower seeds in another (dry) pan
  • Drain the quinoa once cooked and add the baked courgette and mushrooms to it. Be sure to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper where needed. Add the sunflower seeds. Slice your chicken and drape over the quinoa. Sprinkle with chives.

Nutrition Information per portion

Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 1458mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 703IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 5mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist