If you’re looking for a quick and easy grilled dinner, Chicken Shawarma is a great choice. This Middle Eastern inspired dish is different, delicious, and low in fat and calories. The marinade can be made in just a couple of minutes, and poured over the chicken to marinate while you’re at work. When you arrive home, all you need to do is grill the marinated breasts on your gas grill. Either Cucumber Yogurt Sauce or Middle Eastern Garlic & Tahini Sauce is essential to serve with the Chicken; both can be prepared ahead, or, since they are quick and easy, they can be made while your chicken is grilling. Pita bread is also a must for this dish.
True Chicken Shawarma is ground or shaved chicken mixed with Middle Eastern spices; it is cooked on a vertical grill much the same as Greek Gyro. Most of us don’t have access to vertical grills; they are expensive and usually found only in restaurant kitchens. I've found that marinating chicken breasts (or you could substitute thighs if you like dark meat) and slicing them thinly works well. In fact, I think it’s even better than the Shawarma I’ve eaten in some Middle Eastern restaurants in the past.
If you own a timesaving automatic bread machine, you can put the dough ingredients for pita bread in your machine right after you get the chicken marinating. Set the timer to finish just as you return home from work. Homemade pitas are easy and can be cooked on your gas grill next to the chicken. Purchase unglazed quarry tiles from your local home improvement store and put them on the side of the grill that you keep turned on. Once you make your own pita and see how easy and delicious it is, you won’t be purchasing the stale loaves at your grocer ever again.
If you have time, hummus (Middle Eastern Chick Pea Dip) is delicious on the pita bread with the Shawarma, and also with fresh crudités. I like to serve Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf and Fattoush salad (links at the bottom of this article) with this meal; I think you will love the wonderful flavors. Enjoy!
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced onions
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Trim the chicken breasts of any fat, veins, or other stuff that doesn’t look appetizing.
- Place them in a single layer in a glass dish.
- Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.
- Marinate several hours or overnight.
- Preheat the gas grill to high.
- Turn one side of the grill off, and place the marinated breasts on that side.
- Shut the lid and grill for about five minutes, then turn and grill until the breasts are just cooked through.
- Remove from the grill to a serving plate.
- Slice thinly and serve in pita bread with Middle Eastern Tahini and Garlic Sauce, hummus, and/or Cucumber Yogurt Sauce.
Note: You may use Lamb, pork, or beef in the same marinade; grill as directed for Chicken Shawarma, then slice the meats thinly and serve in the pita bread (hopefully your freshly baked homemade version!) with the same sauces.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 156 Calories from Fat 58
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 37% Protein 57% Carb. 6%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 63 mg
Sodium 209 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 22 g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 5%
Quick and Easy Pita Bread on the Grill
Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf
Fattoush (Lebanese Bread Salad)
Middle Eastern Tahini and Garlic Sauce
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Barbara B's Incredible Hummus