So let me preface this recipe by saying that I am by no means an authority on Middle Eastern cuisine nor am I an expert on the traditional means of cooking shawarma. What I DO know is that I am exceptionally glad that I can close my office door when I eat lunch, because I’m pretty sure I moaned in ecstasy when eating this oven roasted chicken shawarma and accoutrements for lunch today. It’s just. so. good. Tender chicken thighs are marinated in a garlicky, lemony spice blend and are quickly roasted in the oven then crisped under the broiler. The result is out of this world delicious. Topped with a quick garlic sauce made with pantry and fridge staples and a fresh and crunchy tomato cucumber salad, this meal is truly a symphony of flavor and texture. This dinner has definitely earned a spot in our regular meal rotation.
It’s hard to believe that something this flavorful can be simple to make, but it’s true. The marinade comes together in a snap and the chicken marinates on your schedule. Only have an hour? Great. Need to toss everything together the prior evening or before work in the morning? You are in for a treat, my friend. You can’t argue with that kind of versatility. When you’re ready to make the chicken, coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and place the chicken in a hot oven. While the chicken cooks, whip up a quick (and yummy) garlic sauce and a fresh cucumber tomato salad. The cucumber tomato salad is a riff on Tabbouleh sans the grains. You know I love carbs, but save them for the naan (a soft, delicious flatbread) in this case. I found mini naan in the refrigerated section at Costco and I am obsessed, because they fit in the toaster. Warm, toasty naan on demand? Yes, please!
Once the chicken comes out of the oven, transfer it to a cutting board and chop into bite sized pieces. Drain excess juice from the sheet pan and place the chicken back on the pan. Broil the chicken for 5-10 minutes until edges have crisped and you’re ready to eat! The richly spiced, tender chicken, fresh salad and tangy garlic sauce complement each other so perfectly you’ll be amazed that this came from your own kitchen and not an NYC food truck. And since you’ve made it at home, you’ve controlled the amount of oil, fat and sodium in the dish so you can go back for seconds (or thirds) guilt free. If you make ONE dish in the next week, promise me you’ll make this. Please also promise me you’ll call me so I can come over. I’ll bring the wine!
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce and Cucumber Tomato Salad
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 large red onion, cut into large wedges
- Naan bread, for serving
- 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- ½ cup mayo (low-fat is fine)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
Cucumber Tomato Salad:
- 4 firm Roma tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 ½ seedless (English) cucumber, seeded and finely diced
- 4 green onions, very thinly sliced
- 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp mint, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Add chicken thighs and onion wedges to gallon sized resealable plastic bag. In medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in bowl until well combined. Pour marinade into bag with chicken and seal. Massage chicken until thoroughly coated. Place bag in a bowl and refrigerate at least an hour, up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 425. Spread remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Remove chicken and onion from marinade and place on sheet pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. When chicken is done, take out of oven and remove chicken to cutting board. Preheat broiler. Chop chicken into small pieces. Pour juices from baking sheet into a bowl. Place chicken under broiler for 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crisp edges have formed.
While chicken is cooking, prepare garlic sauce and cucumber tomato salad.
To make garlic sauce, add all ingredients to medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
To make cucumber tomato salad, toss vegetables and herbs in olive oil and lemon juice.
Serve chicken with sauce and salad and warm toasted naan bread.
Shawarma recipe adapted from the New York Times
Tabbouleh recipe adapted from The Mediterranean Dish