Chicken Shawarma

I realize that on every damn recipe I post I’m all like, “Oh my gosh! This recipe is SO good!”

I almost want to take it all back… Because this Chicken Shawarma with Secret Shawarma Sauce really IS so so so so good!

We make this almost every week in some form or another, and all four of us LOVE it. Wy always does a wrap (no sauce no cucumbers), Ruby always has it deconstructed (no tomatoes), and Brian and I eat it any which way but loose.

Am I a middle eastern food authority? Hell no. But I do love to EAT middle eastern food, and I’m always trying to learn. I’m sure this is not a traditional shawarma rub or sauce, but it is super delicious. Plus, it’s all ingredients that are easy to find, and it only takes 20 minutes to have a not-too-shabby at-home shawarma fix.

I played around with the spices from a Cooks Country magazine recipe for a shawarma salad and invented my Secret Shawarma Sauce (which I guess is not so secret anymore.) The technique of broiling the rubbed chicken is genius because it gives you juicy chicken with crispy bits. It makes for an irresistible flavor and texture contrast that is just delightful.

And if you find the words “middle eastern” or “shawarma” intimidating when it comes to what you’re willing to put in your mouth (like my mom) just call em Tasty Chicken Wraps and enjoy them all the same.

Chicken Shawarma

Ingredients

  • 12-14 Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 2-3 Lemons
  • Chopped Cucumber
  • Chopped Tomato
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Cilantro
  • Pita or Naan
  • Fresh lettuce or spinach

Shawarma Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander

Secret Shawarma Sauce

  • 3/4 cups Veganase (You could use regular Mayo or Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
  • 2-3 Fresh Garlic Cloves (Grated or finely minced)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt (season to your taste)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning (season to your taste)

Directions

Step 1
It's nice to know that since I spent so many years as a butcher/meat cutter, you can all depend on me to impart expert advice AND slip you some trade secrets...

De-gunk the chicken thighs.

Ok. So I don't really know what else to call it.

Boneless thighs come packaged with a fair amount of fat and gunk on them. In a slow-cooked dish all of that fatty gunk with render into the meat and disappear. The Shawarma broils for 20 minutes... so go ahead and get most of the gunk off.

Here's both a "gunky thigh" and a lovely "de-gunked thigh".
Step 2
Mix together the salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and coriander in a small bowl.
Step 3
Next, dump all of your de-gunked thighs into a bowl, and rub 2 Tbls olive oil and all of the Shawarma spice rub all over them.
Step 4
Cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for the flavors to meld. In a pinch you could broil them immediately, but letting the rub set in for a few hours is best.

Once the chicken has had its rubdown, I like to go ahead and make the Secret Shawarma Sauce. You want these flavors to hang out for a while also, so I'll usually make the rub and the sauce in the morning for a Shawarma dinner.

Judge us if you want, but Brian and I have almost completely replaced mayo with Veganaise in almost every application.

Believe it or not... it looks and tastes just like mayo.

Anyway, as I said in the ingredient list, I use Veganaise but feel free to substitute in real mayo or even greek yogurt for the sauce.
Step 5
Add the Veganaise to a bowl, and top with salt, grated garlic, lemon juice, and Poultry Seasoning.
Step 6
On a side note: that little handheld grater has got to be the best gift I've ever gotten (Thank you, Aunt June!!)

Whisk the hell out of it, until it's smooth and creamy, and then put it into a cute jar and take a photo... or just pop it in the fridge for the flavor to develop.
Step 7
When it's almost broiling time preheat your oven to the hottest broiling setting you've got and let it preheat.

I set mine to convection broil and set the temp to "MAX".

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top with an oven-safe rack.

Arrange the thighs flat *WITH THE SMOOTH SIDE DOWN AND THE BUMPY SIDE UP* and place halved lemons in the holes.

My lemons were small, so I added an extra half. But usually, I use two larger lemons.
Step 8
Place on an oven rack 4-5 inches under the broiler, and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Once the timer goes off rotate the pan around 180 degrees and set another timer for 10 minutes.

BOOM. Chicken is done.
Step 9
Wait for it to rest a bit, and then chop it up.

Once it's chopped squeeze the roasted lemon juice all over the meat and toss.
Step 10
For a Chicken Shawarma Wrap, we like to pile it onto a warm piece of naan or flatbread.

Step 11
Our favorite toppings are olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and a TON of the Secret Shawarma Sauce!
Step 12
This also makes a phenomenal salad.

Pile all of the toppings on top of a bed of spinach or lettuce for a delicious low carb lunch.
Step 13
A bowl of Shawarma on top of a bed of couscous is another favorite of ours.
Step 14
Don't stop there though, because this is so good you could do all sorts of Shawarma magic.

Make a pizza. Add that shit to scrambled eggs. If you can think it... you can BE it.
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