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Mediterranean Ground Chicken

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a new high protein meal prep recipe, this Mediterranean ground chicken is exactly what you’re after. It’s sweet, spicy, and perfect for serving with rice and veggie bowls or inside pitas. You can have it on the table in about 20 minutes with basically 5 ingredients. And every serving has 26 grams of protein with only 10 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, and 180 calories.

Ingredients for Mediterranean Ground Chicken

If you don’t count the seasoning, this recipe makes the coveted 5-ingredient recipe cutoff. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • ground chicken
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • harissa paste
  • lemon juice
  • garlic powder and kosher salt
honey, lemon juice, harissa paste, kosher salt, and garlic powder in a mixing bowl

What is harissa?

Harissa is a chili paste condiment of North African origin consisting of chiles, coriander, caraway, and garlic. There are tons of variations, but I used Trader Joe’s harissa paste for this recipe. It’s on the milder side so tread carefully if you’re using another brand.

If you have trouble finding harissa in your grocery store, you can always make your own.

What can I use instead of harissa?

There are lots of chili pastes out there, but none are that similar to harissa. Gochujang has too much fermented soy flavor. And while Calabrian chili oil (another Trader Joe’s favorite) is pretty similar in flavor but is, as the name suggests, an oil instead of a paste.

I like the suggestion in this PepperScale post on harissa substitutes to add coriander, caraway, and cumin to another chili paste like sambal oelek. They also mention using sriracha with the added spices and as we know from my honey sriracha ground chicken and broccoli, I’m a big fan of that combo.

Ground Chicken

browning ground chicken in a skillet

I used two pounds of homemade ground chicken (chopped chicken breast and thighs) with a lean to fat ratio around 97% lean or 97/3. You can use any ground chicken or even ground turkey for this recipe.

Just be sure to get your pan hot and heat the olive oil before adding the chicken. You want to get great browning via the Maillard reaction to create additional layers of flavor in a simple, quick cooking recipe like this. Patting your ground chicken dry with a paper towel can also promote browning. For optimal browning, you want a hot and dry environment.

If you’d prefer pulled chicken and want to keep things easy, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken like in my honey harissa chicken gyros recipe.

Serving Your Honey Harissa Ground Chicken

If you’re a Cava fan, you’ll notice my bowl looks a lot like their Harissa Avocado Bowl, and that’s by design. I made a few changes, but here’s everything I used:

  • lemon pepper Right Rice
  • cucumber
  • fire roasted corn
  • avocado
  • pickled onion
  • hummus
  • tzatziki
  • goat cheese
honey harissa ground chicken in a bowl with rice, goat cheese, cucumbers, avocado, hummus, tzatziki, and pickled onion

Cava also adds their SuperGreens (cabbage, chicory, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale) and a harissa vinaigrette. I used a Greek vinaigrette, but you could make your own harissa vinaigrette (you’ll have all these ingredients on hand already) or creamy harissa dressing (tahini + harissa).

This honey harissa ground chicken would also go great with roasted or stewed chickpeas or in a pita with most of the bowl ingredients above.

I’d love to see what you come up with. Come back and let me know what you create in the comments below or in a recipe review. Those are always appreciated!

More Ground Chicken Recipes

Mediterranean Ground Chicken

Mediterranean Ground Chicken

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Chili peppers, herbs, and spices come together with the sweetness of honey and acidity of lemon juice to make ultra-flavorful ground chicken in a hurry.


  • 2 pounds Ground Chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup (111) Harissa Paste
  • 1/3 cup (111g) Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and once hot, add the ground chicken.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown before flipping and browning the other side.
  3. Use a spatula to break apart the chicken and fully cook.
  4. While the chicken cooks, mix the remaining ingredients together.
  5. Add the sauce to the cooked chicken, stirring everything together. Leave untouched and continue cooking until the sauce begins to caramelize around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Stir everything together and turn off the heat.
  6. Serve in pitas or rice bowls. I served with seedless cucumber, pickled onion, lemon pepper Right Rice, hummus, tzatziki, feta (or goat cheese), avocado, fire roasted corn, and a Greek vinaigrette.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 3 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 6gCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 26g

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Monday 25th of March 2024

This was so freaking good. It tasted like a sushi roll.


Friday 8th of December 2023

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time! The flavors together are incredibly satisfying- especially when you use all of the recommended toppings. 10/10!!

Mason Woodruff

Saturday 9th of December 2023

Thanks for the feedback, Karly!


Thursday 28th of July 2022

I liked this, however, I will say that the Trader Joe’s Harissa Paste leaves quite a bit of chili flakes in your mouth. Perhaps mine didn’t caramelize enough? I’ll try this same recipe with a different paste to see if it works better. 10/10 taste, though!


Monday 29th of November 2021

My boyfriend and I loved this recipe! SO easy to whip up and something we can feel good about eating. We love the spice, too. That said, I couldn't find Harissa paste anywhere I shopped, so we ended up using sriracha (a hot sauce that we LOVE), and really enjoyed it. Would love to try it in the future with actual Harissa paste!

Diana Eidt

Saturday 27th of November 2021

Omg will be making this this week!

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