This Blackened Chicken with Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad is so flavorful, comes together in less than thirty minutes, and is great for meal prep!
Chicken tenderloins are dipped in butter, then coated with a homemade blackened seasoning; think smoky, garlicky, and a little (or a lot) spicy. The chilled herby lemon cucumber couscous salad is super bright and fresh and is blackened chicken’s perfect match. The dish is finished with salty, tangy crumbled feta cheese. So good!
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Preparing the Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad:
HOW TO COOK COUCOUS PEARLS:
First you will want to start the water for the couscous (a toasted Israeli style pasta.) It’s important to use only two cups of water, as couscous will absorb the water, just as rice or grains would. We don’t want the couscous swimming in a huge pot of water. Once the water is boiling, stir in one teaspoon each olive oil and salt, then the couscous. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the couscous. The water tends to foam up and boil over if you don’t occasionally stir it!
My couscous is yellow due to the turmeric in the pasta recipe (traditionally semolina flour + salt + water.) If you’re not a fan of turmeric, no worries. The turmeric really changes only the color of the couscous, not the flavor. I personally love the bright yellow color that the turmeric brings to the dish! You can also buy the original beige-colored couscous. Either will work.
Be sure not to overcook the couscous. When done, it should be al dente and slightly chewy. Remove it from the heat, fluff with a fork, and toss it in the fridge to cool!
The Dressing and Cucumbers:
While the couscous is simmering, you can combine the ingredients for the quick and easy dressing, which is just five basic ingredients (plus salt and pepper!). Parsley, dill, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil; the perfect combo.
Measure the olive oil and lemon juice in a measuring up. Chop the parsley and dill, mince the garlic, then whisk everything together with salt & pepper.
The aromatics are heavenly. Can’t you just smell the pictures?!
Next, you will want to chop up those crisp and fresh cucumbers. The cucumbers add a crunchy texture to the dish, which is perfect since the couscous is soft, and a little chewy.
Assembling the Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad:
Once the couscous is cooled, transfer it to a large bowl, along with the cucumbers and (most of) the dressing.
Since the herby lemon cucumber couscous salad will be chillin’ in the fridge while you make the blackened chicken, you’ll find that it soaks up some of the dressing. That’s why I like to reserve 1/4 cup and mix it in right before I serve the yummy, yummmmy salad.
As a kid, I always remember my mom doing this when she made any kind of pasta salad. She would pour half a bottle of Italian dressing, cover in fridge, then add the other half later. It really makes a difference. Thanks mommy!
We’ll talk about that crumbled feta soon.
How to Make Blackened Chicken
The (Super Versatile) Blackened Chicken Seasoning Recipe:
Making your own blackened seasoning blend is so simple, the flavor is exponentially better, and you can adjust the seasonings to fit your dietary needs and/or taste preferences (more or less salt, spicy or mild, etc.)
Toss the 10 different seasonings into a mason jar (easier to shake up, good for storage if you wanted to double/triple the recipe for later) and set aside.
As I mentioned, this seasoning blend is versatile. It’s good on so many things. No chicken? No problem. You can certainly adjust the protein. For a vegan/vegetarian meal, swap the chicken out for tofu or chickpeas. Meat lovers? Blackened seasoning is amazing on steak. Pescatarian? Try it on shrimp, grouper, redfish, snapper, mahi, or salmon.
Whatever you do, promise me you will pair it with the Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad. You will not be disappointed!
Coating the Chicken with Melted Butter and Blackened Seasoning:
Place the butter in a bowl and microwave until melted. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss with the melted butter. Let the butter drip from each piece of chicken and place the tenders on a plate.
Sprinkle the homemade blackened seasoning all over each side of the pieces of chicken, pressing to ensure the seasoning sticks well. Heat a cast iron over medium/high heat. Add any remaining melted butter to the cast iron. Place the tenderloins in the cast iron and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow it to rest on a plate covered with foil for about 10 minutes.
Check to ensure the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (internal temperature should be 165°F, or approximately 74°C).
Plating the Blackened Chicken with Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad:
Place a generous scoop of the herby lemon cucumber couscous salad onto your plate; top with sliced blackened chicken tenderloins, crumbled feta, and throw a couple of lemon wedges on the side of the plate for the people who like a little extra ZING!
There you have it! A bright, refreshing, flavorful, smoky, spicy dish that you can enjoy any time of year, really. The entire family will love this wholesome meal. Enjoy. 💙💚
As always, I’d love to hear from you all! About your experience with this dish, any alterations you may have made and loved (or didn’t love), or just life and cooking in general. You can also reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and/or stay connected with me on social media, which I have linked below!
MORE RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.Print
Butter dipped chicken is sprinkled with homemade blackened seasoning, seared in a scorching hot pan, then finished in the oven. It’s paired with a bright & fresh chilled herby lemon cucumber couscous salad. The perfect combination!
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked Israeli pearl couscous, original or turmeric
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, added to water once it’s boiling
Herby Lemon Cucumber Couscous Salad Dressing:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2-3 lemons depending on size
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 English seedless cucumber (approximately 2 cups), sliced then quartered
- crumbled feta, for garnish
- 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins or chicken cutlets
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4–3/4 teaspoon cayenne (1/4 for mild, 1/2 for medium, 3/4 for hot)
- COOKING THE COUSCOUS. Bring two cups of water to a boil then add a teaspoon of salt. Stir in couscous. Cover with lid; reduce heat to low and simmer 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- HERBY LEMON CUCUMBER COUSCOUS SALAD DRESSING. Meanwhile, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, dill, garlic, a teaspoon of fine sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper. I put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it.
- FINISH PREPARING THE COUSCOUS SALAD. Drain and rinse couscous under cold water. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl, along with the chopped cucumber and (most of) the dressing (reserve 1/4 cup). Cover the salad and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- MAKE THE BLACKENED SEASONING THEN COAT AND COOK THE BLACKENED CHICKEN. Combine all seasonings in a mason jar and shake well. Place the butter in a bowl and microwave until melted. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss with the melted butter. Let the butter drip from each piece of chicken and place the tenders on a plate. Sprinkle the homemade blackened seasoning all over each side of the pieces of chicken, pressing to ensure the seasoning sticks well. Heat a cast iron over medium/high heat. Add any remaining melted butter to the cast iron. Place the tenderloins in the cast iron and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow it to rest on a plate covered with foil for about 10 minutes. Check to ensure the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (internal temperature should be 165°F, or approximately 74°C).
- PREPARE AND PLATE. Remove the herby lemon cucumber couscous salad from the fridge and mix in the reserved dressing. Save a little if you plan to eat it the next day. To plate, scoop some couscous salad onto each plate. Slice your blackened chicken and place it over the couscous salad. Top with your desired amount of feta cheese (I use about half of an ounce per plate). Serve with lemon wedges for an extra zing and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop, Oven
- Cuisine: American
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