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Roasted Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I have become a big fan of “bowling“- not the sport requiring dorky shoes and a heavy ball, but the activity that involves layering tasty ingredients into a giant bowl and spooning them with vigor into my mouth. We have been building all sorts of bowls in our cocina lately: burrito bowls, salmon bowls, grain bowls, etc... it’s such a fun and efficient way to dine! This roasted chicken shawarma bowl (recipe inspired by Sam Sifton) is a new favorite- it’s delicious, healthy, beautiful, and easy to prep. Traditionally, shawarma meat is cooked on an upright rotisserie and then the meat is thinly carved to serve off of a giant, dripping, rotating stack. You’ve probably seen those spinning cones of meat at Middle Eastern restaurants and alongside street carts. If you don’t own an upright rotisserie and an Ottoman Empire era carving sword, not to worry! Flavorful shawarma can easily done in a home oven- no special equipment required! All you need are some boneless skinless chicken thighs and a generously spiced marinade. The chicken is the only component of this meal that actually requires cooking. Everything else is simply blended, chopped, or spooned out of a jar! Each resulting bite is a complex jolt of exotic flavor. Shawarma typically comes with a “white sauce”- the one I’ve listed here is not to be skipped. It’s so easy to make and great as a dip too- move over ranch! If you’re an over achiever, feel free to make your own hummus, but using a tub of your favorite store bought brand is totally acceptable. And these toppings are all tweakable- I’ve made this same bowl with pickled jalapeños, spice roasted cauliflower (see my recipe in sides), fried eggplant, avocado, hot sauce, etc. on top. Be creative and have fun, omitting or adding more to suit your preference! The pita on the side is optional, but I love using it as platform upon which to build the perfect, layered shawarma bite. You are going to be “bowled over” by this one. Enjoy!


prep time: 1 hour (includes marinating) cook time: 35-40 min. serves: 4



1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp smoked sweet paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of cinnamon

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 red onion, peeled, halved, and cut into 8 wedges through the root end


1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tbsp tahini

juice of one lemon

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped

2 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4-1/3 cup water water to thin


1/2 of a medium cucumber, peeled and small diced

1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


hummus, pita, lemon wedges, pickled okra, olives, pepperoncini, lightly dressed arugula (lemon juice, EVOO, S&P), crumbled feta, coarse salt, and olive oil



Marinate the chicken by combining the first 10 ingredients (olive oil-black pepper) in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken to the marinade and allow to sit covered in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425°. Toss the red onion in with the chicken and marinade and toss a few times to coat. Place the chicken and onion wedges in a single layer on a parchment lined large baking sheet and place on a middle rack to roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the thigh meat registers 165°. Thinly slice the chicken into strips and set aside. While the chicken roasts, prepare the white sauce by combining all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth (add more water until it reaches a “drizzly” consistency) and check for seasoning. Make the "Greeko"de Gallo by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and tossing to combine. To assemble: spoon some hummus and white sauce into the bottom of a bowl and gently spread to cover (don't mix the two, they should be side by side). Next, top with a pile of the chicken and onions and start adding all of the additional toppings in groupings as desired! Sprinkle with the feta, some coarse salt, and a good drizzle of EVOO. Serve with pita alongside.

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