Chicken, SaladMalia Howe

Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce and Tabbouleh Salad

Chicken, SaladMalia Howe
Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce and Tabbouleh Salad

This meal will knock your socks off. It will also knock someone over if you breathe on them for several hours after you consume it. The garlic sauce is just that--full o garlic. Chicken Shawarma is divine. It is easy to make, though I will admit it requires planning (for marinating) and does require an extra step to slice the cooked chicken and then saute it briefly in extra spices to finish the dish. On your average day this wouldn't have thrown me, but the day I made this was a disaster -type day and I was like a chicken with my head cut off dealing with fires (not real ones, thankfully), poor planning, and broken promises from people who were supposed to come pick up several donated furniture items at a time I had rearranged my schedule to be home for. So, my point is that while I was a tad bit frustrated by what felt like a really long time to make this meal that seemed so easy, it was totally, totally worth it with the first bite. Incredible. Be smarter than I was, however, and make your tabbouleh early in the day. I was scrambling to make it as I pureed sauce, sauteed chicken, and mixed a cocktail for my frayed nerves (priorities, people. Priorities). Share this dish with someone you love and no one will care about the garlic.


Chicken Shawarma


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 2 t. paprika
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. cayenne
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. pepper

Combine olive oil and spices in a large Ziploc bag and shake to combine. Add chicken, seal and toss to coat well. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Or, if you are not on your A game, just about 3 hours before you eat. Sigh. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray well with cooking spray. Place chicken in single layer on the baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flip, and cook for 10 minutes more or until chicken is done. Remove to cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle. At this point, thinly slice the chicken and bust out your large skillet.

To finish the dish, combine the following in a small dish:

  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. allspice
  • 1/4 t. turmeric

Heat 1 T olive oil in the skillet and add half the chicken and half the finishing spice mixture. Toss and cook until well coated and hot--about 2-3 minutes. Repeat. Serve the shawarma with tabbouleh salad, garlic sauce, and pita bread. Die from deliciousness.

Garlic Sauce

-adapted from

In my humble opinion, chicken shawarma needs sauce. I think a garlic-tahini sauce is more traditional, but I had no tahini and so it was in an emergency that I searched for something yogurt based (I almost just made raita, but that didn't seem quite right). This was delightful, if albeit a bit heavy on the garlic.


Food process the following:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup. cilantro
  • salt to taste (similar to raita, you need to salt it to take the tangy edge off the yogurt. Start with 1/2 t.)

Tabbouleh Salad

-adapted from

This is a more traditional Lebanese style tabbouleh (correct me if I am wrong, Nicole) and it is wonderful. Light on the bulgur, heavy on the herbs. Fresh, fresh, fresh.

  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 3 bunches flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 2 roma tomatoes seeded and finely diced (I used about 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes that I diced instead. Romas are mealy in my opinion)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. salt, or more to taste

Cook bulgur according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and cool to room temperature. Finely mince parsley and mint and toss with bulgur. Fold in onions, tomatoes, and cucumber. Add oil, lemon juice, and salt and toss well, adding more of each if it needs it. Serve cold or at room temperature.