`Tunisian Tabil Chicken Salad - Olive Oil Times

Tunisian Tabil Chicken Salad

Tabil is a Tunisian spice blend consisting of a savory, fragrant blend of coriander, caraway, and cumin. The chicken in this salad is heartily seasoned with this tasty spice blend before cooked, shredded into tender bite-sized pieces, and topped on a heaping bed of baby arugula (along with other very tasty additions.)
Tunisian Tabil Chicken Salad
By Patterson Watkins
May. 11, 2021 14:08 UTC

Tunisia sits on the African Mediterranean coast just about due-south of Sardinia. The cui­sine blends Mediterranean and North African fla­vors in har­mo­nious unity, rely­ing on spices, warm weather pro­duce, seafood, meat, and olive oil. The pop­u­lar and regional spice blend, tabil, is abun­dantly used in this recipe, sea­son­ing the chicken and vinai­grette. The vinai­grette is a lit­tle unique, being that it is also the sim­mer­ing liq­uid for the chicken, using gar­lic, gin­ger, tomato sauce, vine­gar, and olive oil. The chicken, once cooked, is shred­ded into ten­der bite-sized chunks and topped over a bed of arugula. The chicken js joined with fel­low Mediterranean favorites like, chick­peas, toma­toes, pars­ley, and red onion. A lit­tle toasted naan or pita com­pletes this fill­ing and tasty salad.


Tunisian Tabil Chicken Salad

Course: Main, SaladsCuisine: North AfricanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



The chicken can eas­ily be made a day or two ahead of time (along with the vinai­grette) and refrig­er­ated until ready to serve.


  • Chicken and Vinaigrette
  • 1 tea­spoon paprika

  • 1/2tea­spoonground corian­der

  • 1/2tea­spoonground car­away seeds

  • 2 tea­spoonsground cumin

  • 1/2 tea­spoonsalt

  • 1pinchcrushed red pep­per flakes

  • 1lbbone­less skin­less chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup
    mild to mod­er­ate inten­sity extra vir­gin olive oil, divided

  • 2eachgar­lic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 2tea­spoonsfresh gin­ger, peeled and minced

  • 1/4cupcider vine­gar

  • 1/2cupplain tomato sauce

  • 2cupsarugula

  • 1/2cupred onion, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1cupcanned chick­peas, drained and rinsed

  • 1cupcherry toma­toes, halved

  • 1/4cupfresh pars­ley, whole leaves or chopped

  • 1each lime, cut into wedges

  • naan or pita bread, toasted


  • In a small bowl, place paprika, corian­der, car­away, cumin, salt, and crushed red pep­per, stir to com­bine. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper tow­els and place on a plate. Season chicken, on all sides, with the spice mix, and set aside.
  • Heat 2 table­spoons of olive oil in a large skil­let over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 1 – 2 min­utes per side. Remove the chicken from the skil­let (the chicken will not be fully cooked) and set aside. 
  • Add gar­lic, gin­ger, vine­gar, and tomato sauce to the skil­let and whisk to com­bine. Bring to a sim­mer and, once sim­mer­ing, reduce heat to medium-low. Return chicken to the skil­let, cover, and cook for 10 – 15 min­utes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the skil­let from the heat and set aside to cool to room tem­per­a­ture. 
  • Once the chicken has cooled, remove from the skil­let (leav­ing the sauce in the skil­let) and shred or dice, set aside. Add remain­ing (2 table­spoons) olive oil to the skil­let with the reserved sauce and whisk to com­bine the vinai­grette.
  • Divide arugula, chicken, onion, chick­peas, toma­toes, pars­ley, and lime wedges between plates. Drizzle salad with vinai­grette (or serve vinai­grette on the side) and serve with toasted naan or pita.

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