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Chicken Shawarma

July 1, 2009

This recipe is going on the repeat list, which is a pretty short list for me.  Maybe it’s the name that I like so much, or maybe it was the chicken shawarma rollschicken, which had the most amazing spice rub on it.  The nuggets of chicken were so tender and juicy and flavorful I couldn’t stop eating them right off the pan.  The mixture of pepper, allspice and cinnamon really made them unusual.  For my friends who don’t like dark chicken meat, I think you should give chicken thighs a try.  They’re tender, quick to cook, and cheap!

The recipe called for roasting some vegetables alongside the chicken, then rolling them in pita breads split horizontally, then stuffed and rolled.  If you figure out how to do that without ending up with sad, crumbling pita, let me know.  Otherwise, I think lavosh would be a great substitute (it’s bigger and meant for rolling), or do what I did on the second batch and just cut the pitas in half and stuff them, then grill it like a quesadilla.  So much easier.  The chicken would also be great skewered and grilled, and served over salads or rice.  This recipe, adapted from Food & Wine, serves 4-6.


1 lb zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick, then halves sliced

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

3 T olive oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 t ground allspice

1 1/2 t ground black pepper

1/2 t ground white pepper

1/4 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground cumin

1/4 t ground coriander

salt and pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 c plain yogurt

2 T lemon juice

1 package pita breads or lavosh


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place one oven rack at the top of the oven and the other at the bottom of the oven.  Place zucchini and green beans in a large bowl and toss with salt to taste and 1 T olive oil.  Spread on a greased cookie sheet.  In the same bowl, place chicken pieces, all the spices, 1 T olive oil and salt to taste and toss to coat the chicken in the spice paste.  Spread chicken on another greased cookie sheet.  Place vegetables on top oven rack and chicken on the bottom.  Bake for 15 minutes, switching pans between the racks in the last 5 minutes of baking.  After 15 minutes the chicken should be cooked through, with crispy edges and the vegetables should be tender but still have bite.  If not, bake for a few more minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add garlic.  Cook garlic for 30 seconds, then turn off heat and whisk in the yogurt and lemon juice and set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches: heat a griddle pan or a large frying pan coated with cooking spray over medium high heat.  Take either a lavosh or pita bread half and spread 1 1/2 t of the yogurt sauce on the bread.  Add chicken and vegetables to the bread and roll tightly if using lavosh, or stuff the chicken and vegetables into the pita.  Place in the pan and cook each side until toasted and crispy, about 2-3 minutes.  Serve with extra yogurt on the side.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Justin Kerenyi permalink
    July 2, 2009 9:41 pm

    These make an excellent late night snack. After a very light dinner and a few beers, I arrived home and stumbled upon 5 of these wrapped in tin foil in the fridge. Fortunately, there was no note of ownership or other written warning anywhere to be found. After a quick ethical debate, I realized that one might not go missing, and if it did, four was still plenty for leftovers. So I stole one. It was delicious, healthy, and 100% worth the subsequent apology.

    “Chicken Shawarma. No regrets.”

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