our Memorial Day grilling menu!

recipes by Emily Weber | photos by Jennifer Johnson

Memorial Day grilling menu

Grilling season in finally upon us! To celebrate, we’ve come up with this fresh, Middle Eastern-inspired menu for seamless Memorial Day entertaining. The grilled chicken shawarma skewers are loaded with flavor and the only real work involved is preparing the marinade, skewering the chicken, then grilling them. To pair with the chicken, we recommend grilled pita triangles, an herb-loaded, green tahini dip, and an easy mint and parsley couscous. And of course, to top it off, a cucumber gin sour—which involves a little extra work to make fresh cucumber juice—but, trust us…it’s worth it. 

grilled chicken shawarma skewers

grilled chicken shawarma skewers
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for grill

  • Zest from 1 lemon

  • Juice from 2 lemons, plus extra for serving

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed into a paste

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 8 wooden skewers

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish, optional

  • Tzatziki, optional for serving

  1. Marinate chicken. In a large bowl, add yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add chicken and toss, coating chicken completely with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.

  2. Soak skewers in water for about 1 hour.

  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

  4. Thread chicken onto soaked skewers, making sure not to overcrowd. Place prepared skewers on a plate.

  5. Brush grill grate with an even layer of oil. Grill chicken, turning often, until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Remove from grill and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with parsley (if using) and serve with tzatziki (if using) and extra lemons for drizzling.

Serves 4.

mint + parsley couscous

mint + parsley couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • 2 cups water (or low-sodium vegetable stock)

  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, minced

  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced

  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add couscous and cook for 1 minute. Add water (or low-sodium vegetable stock), cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until couscous is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

  2. Remove from heat and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice. Allow to cool slightly. Add mint, parsley, and scallions and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

grilled pitas with green tahini dip

grilled pitas with green tahini dip

You can use any combination of herbs you like for the “green” part of the dip, just make sure to use at least two for some variety.

  • 1 cup tahini (we prefer Soom brand)

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped herbs (parsley, chives, dill, mint, or cilantro)

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • Juice from 1-2 lemons

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for grilling

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2-1 cup water

  • 4 pitas

  • Maldon, or other finishing salt, optional

  1. Make green tahini. In a blender, add tahini, herbs, garlic, juice from 1 lemon, olive oil, cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in water, a little at a time, until you reach a mayonnaise-like consistency (see cook's note). Process until the dip is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired, adding in more lemon juice as desired.

  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grate with an even layer of oil. Add pitas, and cook until grill marks form, about 1 minute. Turns and cook on other side, for about another minute. Transfer to a cutting board and brush both sides with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with finishing salt. Cut into triangles and serve with green tahini dip.

Serves 4.

cook’s note: When you first add the water to the tahini it may seize up, but as you continue to blend and add more water it will become smooth. 

cucumber gin sour

cucumber gin sour
  • 1 English cucumber

  • Ice

  • 2 ounces gin (we prefer Seersucker Southern Gin)

  • 1 ounce lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup, or to taste

  1. Cut cucumber in half (and reserve half for another use). Peel remaining half and chop into cubes. Add chopped cucumber to a food processor and purée until frothy. Strain cucumber mixture through a fine-mesh strainer over a measuring cup. Set aside.

  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 2 ounces cucumber juice, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake until cold. Strain into a coupe glass or similar and serve.

Makes 1.

cook’s note: To make simple syrup, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan. Place over low heat and simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, transfer syrup to a jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. 

gin courtesy of Seersucker Southern Style Gin 
linens courtesy of Magic Linen


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