When I was in college I had the luxury of ordering food until the wee hours of the morning. After a night out with friends, you could always stop at the “Grease Trucks” on the way home. They were available 24 hours a day. Many of the grease trucks carried Middle Eastern sandwiches and college was where I was first exposed to gyros and shawarma sandwiches.
I am no longer able to order sandwiches at all hours of the night. We don’t have a good variety of Middle Eastern restaurants where I live either. So I decided to create my own Chicken Shawarma sandwich.
What is a Chicken Shawarma sandwich?
A shawarma sandwich is a Middle Eastern wrap usually on pita bread and consists of some type of roasted or grilled meat. The meat is marinated before it is cooked. The smell of it cooking is incredible! I like my shawarma with chicken.
Toppings are put on these sandwiches. I prefer tahini sauce, cucumbers, feta cheese and tomatoes but onions, herbs and pickles are also added. In the recipe below, I went light on spices however you can add more curry and cayenne (which I did) if you like more spice. Try one and I guarantee you’ll love it!
I also make homemade Tahini sauce to go on top of this middle eastern chicken shawarma sandwich. It’s really easy to make!
1/4 cup tahini paste (sesame paste)
2 TBS plain yogurt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil
dash of cayenne, paprika and salt to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together and add water to thin out to whatever consistency you would like.
Now it’s time to assemble the Chicken Shawarma sandwich. Here is what you need:
Pita breads. The fresher, the better!
The cooked chicken.
How is the chicken cooked?
The chicken is initially marinated and roasted but to make the chicken really good, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and saute the cooked chicken so the pieces get nice and crusty. The chicken can be made in advance then reheated in a pan.
I love using my cast iron pan to give the chicken a nice crust. Grill the pita breads so they are warm. Add some chicken, toppings and sauce to the pita. Make sure to eat the Chicken Shawarma while warm!
What should you serve with Chicken Shawarma?
This Middle Eastern sandwich is great by itself but I like to make a side of Roasted asparagus or Tomato and Chickpea salad to go with it. I’m always looking to get in a few extra veggies. Rice is also a great choice to serve on the side. If you are watching carbs, that is not a problem as you can skip the pita bread and just pile on the low- carb toppings.
I like to serve everything on a big platter or board so everyone can make their own Chicken Shawarma sandwich with any toppings they like. It’s a good choice to serve when you are having company too.
So now that you see how easy Chicken Shawarma is to make, why don’t you give it a try? Enjoy!
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp curry powder
- dash of cayenne powder
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- pita breads
- various toppings such as chopped tomatoes, cucumber, olives, hummus, lettuce, pickles, etc
- In a large container, mix together lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, curry, and cayenne. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Shred chicken with knife and fork when cooked. (Chicken can be pan fried with a spoon of olive oil if desired.)
- Serve on pita breads and with toppings such as Tahini sauce, hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, parsley or whatever you like!