Everyday Meals

This Chicken Shawarma Salad Is a Low-Carb Take on the Classic Wrap

Shawarma cooked on a spit or rotisserie is street food at its finest — but there’s no reason you can’t re-create the flavors at home. Here, the spiced meat takes center stage in a colorful, feel-good dinner salad that’s sure to be a new favorite. Crisp lettuce and cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy red onion pair with juicy chicken — and it’s all tied together with a creamy tahini dressing. It’s a lighter, vegetable-forward take on the classic meat-filled pita that’s just as satisfying.

A Salad Spice Party

The spices are having all the fun in this dinner salad. The chicken is marinated in cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric to ensure it’s got that signature shawarma flavor and golden color. The most special spice of all, however, is the sumac.A common ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes, sumac delivers a tart, lemon-like flavor that ties everything together. It also happens to have a beautiful red hue, which is sure to make your plate pop. Pick up some from your local spice store and you’ll soon find yourself sprinkling it on roasted vegetables, eggs, hummus, and more.

Chicken Shawarma Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing


For the chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup

    well-stirred tahini

  • 3 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons


  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1/2

    small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup

    cold water

  • 2

    medium heads butter lettuce (about 1 pound), such as Boston or Bibb, torn into bite-sized pieces

  • 2

    medium tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1

    medium English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces

  • Ground sumac, for garnishing (optional)


  1. Stir the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric together in a large bowl to form a paste. Add the chicken and toss to coat; let marinate at room temperature while the oven heats, about 20 minutes. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled aluminum foil. Place the chicken on the baking sheet in single layer. Roast until browned and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing and begin to assemble the salad.

  3. Whisk the tahini, lemon juice, oil, 2 tablespoons of the water, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl until smooth. If the dressing is too thick to pour, whisk in the extra tablespoon of water.

  4. Place the onion and water in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to make the onion less potent. Drain and discard the liquid.

  5. Place the lettuce in a large bowl, drizzle with half the dressing, and toss to coat. Divide the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion among 4 plates or shallow bowls. When the chicken is ready, let rest 5 minutes, then thinly slice crosswise and divide among the salads. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, sprinkle with sumac if using, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving. The onion can be soaked and drained up to 1 day ahead.

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