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Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Middle Eastern chicken shawarma will be your favorite way to cook chicken on a weeknight, flavored with bold spices of turmeric and cumin, lots of bright lemon juice and savory garlic. Serve chicken shawarma bowls with quinoa, hummus and creamy tahini.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Marinating1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: chicken shawarma bowls, chicken shawarma marinade, chicken shawarma recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 580kcal
Author: Samantha Ferraro
Cost: $10


Chicken Shawarma

  • 2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • ½ tsp allspice optional, ok to omit
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

  • 1/4 cup full fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water for thinning out consistency
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Quick Pickled Cabbage

  • 1/2 of a small red cabbage shredded or sliced thin
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Start with the chicken marinade and pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels. Use scissors or shears to remove any excess fat and add chicken to a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, garlic and spices together and pour mixture over chicken, turning it so everything is coated evenly. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to overnight.
  • Once you're ready to cook, remove chicken from the fridge for at least 20 minutes and pre-heat a skillet or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, letting any excess drop off and cook chicken on the first side for about 5 minutes or until deeply charred, then flip over and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it, then slice chicken on a diagonal.
  • To make the tahini yogurt sauce, add all ingredients to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more water for desired consistency, similar to honey that you can drizzle.
  • For the pickled cabbage, add cabbage, lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper to a bowl and mix to combine.
  • For serving, add quinoa and hummus to a shallow bowl along with pickled cabbage, cherry tomatoes and sliced chicken shawarma. Garnish hummus with olive oil and za'atar and bowls with chopped parsley. Serve with pita bread and lemon wedges and a good drizzle of yogurt tahini sauce.


If you have the time, marinate for at least 8 hours but even an hour while you prep will work great. 
If you don't have sumac, don't worry as its bright and citrusy like lemon.
For baking the chicken shawarma in the oven: bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until cooked through and for crispier edges, crank the heat up to to 450 for a few more minutes. 
If using chicken breasts, either pound a bit to tenderize the meat or cut into tenders.


Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 1343mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1715IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 4mg