Easy Grilled Chicken Shawarma is out of this world! I mean who wouldn’t love chicken marinated in bright, healthy spices, then grilled to tender tasty perfection. A low carb, delicious, healthy and filling meal, a recipe that is on repeat in our home!
CHICKEN SHAWARMA BOWLS
Served atop a bed of couscous (or keep it gluten free using quinoa or rice), topped with crisp cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, artichoke hearts and drizzled with a light garlic yogurt sauce and homemade naan will take it over the top!
I love recipes like Shawarma Chicken; with only a few minutes prep, you can have multiple freezer meals. In fact this recipe is on repeat in our family! It’s that GOOD! It’s so fresh, bright and is bursting with Mediterranean colors and flavors.
A heart healthy recipe using simple marinade ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard!
//This post and pictures updated 8.8.19//
Prepping for Shawarma Chicken
Double or triple the recipe for the marinade or just the spices; freezing once you’ve added the chicken.
Cut your breasts in half, lengthwise (not necessary with thighs). Then place your chicken breasts in a sturdy gallon baggie (I like freezer baggies, they are a bit thicker).
Using a meat mallet (I’ve had this one forever!) Pound chicken until they are all about 1/2 inch thick. Try boneless, skinless chicken thighs too!! Sooo tender!
In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients. Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, garlic cloves, cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, kosher salt (my favorite), and pepper to taste; mix well.
MAKE MULTIPLE BATCHES FOR FREEZER MEALS
If making multiple batches of Chicken Shawarma, place pounded chicken in separate baggies in increments large (or small) enough to feed your family. Or simply make your spice packets ahead of time then you just need to add lemon juice and oil to marinate!
Then multiply your marinade ingredients according to the number of batches/pounds. Example: 2 batches = 2 lbs chicken = double the marinade.
Squeeze out as much air from the baggie before sealing, then squish marinade around to evenly coat the chicken. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, up to overnight in the fridge or freeze.
Lay as flat as possible in freezer, simply remove from freezer and allow to thaw in fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple hours when ready to grill.
EASY GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE
Make your Garlic Yogurt Sauce! A 4 ingredient, easy, packed with flavor recipe!
Once your shawarma chicken has hung out in the marinade 30 minutes or longer, fire up your grill or grill pan to medium heat and prep your toppings for your bowls. But first, if you want a grain with this meal, get that started.
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I love serving this dish over couscous, mainly because like saying it! “Just a little grain of couscous”…pretty sure that was from a cartoon my kids watched when they were little.
Not necessary, but enhances the flavors a bit. If you still want to do this and you don’t have a grill pan, try using a sheet of foil on your outside grill. This step is completely optional.
GRILLING SHAWARMA CHICKEN
Over medium-high heat, grill shawarma chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes (thighs 4-5 minutes) until it no longer sticks to the grill. Turn and grill an additional 3-4 minutes, remove chicken and allow to rest on a plate for 5 minutes.
SHAWARMA CHICKEN BOWL TOPPING SUGGESTIONS
- Slice, dice or shred some cucumbers
- Halve or dice some tomatoes
- Crumbled feta or goat cheese
- Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- A squeeze of lemon
- Artichoke hearts, quartered (marinated or in brine)
- Sliced red onion or try Pickled Red Onions
- Sliced Kalamata or other Greek olives
After your meat has rested, slice thinly and lay on top of grain.
In individual bowls or plates, lay sliced Shawarma Chicken on a bed of couscous (or other grain); toss on cucumbers, tomatoes and artichoke hearts, feta cheese crumbles and drizzle some of that delicious Garlic Yogurt Sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (I like flat leaf for this), cilantro and a wedge of lemon.
Serve as pre-made bowls or allow everyone to assemble their own, like a taco bar. Don’t forget the pita bread or try my homemade naan! Oh those flat breads, I could so easily live in the Mediterranean!
This recipe has been adapted from the Skinny Taste
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Shawarma Chicken Marinade
- 1 pound (2 large) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half, lengthwise) Try boneless skinless chicken thighs too
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I like extra virgin)
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 recipe Easy Garlic Yogurt Sauce
- Couscous, rice pilaf, brown rice or quinoa (cooked) 1 cup serving per person
- Diced or sliced English cucumber
- Diced or halved grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 can artichoke hearts, halved (brined or marinated, grill if time)
- Feta Cheese (crumble on top)
- Garnish with chopped, fresh, flat leaf parsley (optional)
- Lemon wedge (squeeze over entire ingredients when serving)
- Sliced Red Onions or Pickled Red Onions
- Sliced Greek or Kalamata olives
Prepping the Marinade for Chicken Shawarma
- Slice chicken breasts in half, lengthwise. Place chicken breasts or thighs in sturdy freezer baggie (gallon size). Using a meat mallet (or bottom of a wine bottle or large jar) pound each breast to about 1/2 inch thickness. Careful not to puncture the bag.
- In a medium bowl, combine your olive oil, lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, red pepper, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Pour marinade over chicken in the baggie, squeeze out the air and seal. Squish the marinade to completely cover chicken. Refrigerate for a minimum of an hour up to overnight or freeze for later use.
Grilling Chicken & Assembling the Bowls
- Once chicken has marinated and you are ready to grill, heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, oil lightly. Prepare couscous, quinoa, brown rice or rice pilaf according to package directions.
- Grill chicken for 3-4 minutes (4-5 for thigh meat), meat shouldn't stick once it's ready to turn. If using a grill pan, grill your artichoke hearts for a few minutes if desired. Remove and set aside. Turn the chicken and grill an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from grill to plate, covering with foil; allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice it thin. Serve over prepared couscous or other grain. Garnish with sliced cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, red onion, olives, etc. Drizzle bowl with garlic yogurt sauce and serve immediately with a lemon wedge and chopped flat leaf parsley or chopped cilantro.
TIP #1 | If you are tight on time, purchase store bought Tzatziki sauce (usually found near the hummus and salsa) in place of the yogurt sauce. Give yourself permission to do that sometimes!
#2 | If you are freezing marinated chicken, squeeze out as much air and lay as flat as possible and freeze. When ready to grill, simply remove from freezer and allow to thaw in fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple hours.
#3| If making more than one batch to freeze for later, place your chicken in separate baggies in 1 lb (more/less depending on family size) increments, simply multiply your marinade ingredients according to the number of batches.
This recipe is adapted from Skinny Taste.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 bowls Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 698mg Carbohydrates: 33g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 18g