Shawarma Bowl {GF, vegan option}

Ever since I saw Suzy of the Mediterranean Dish post about Chicken Shawarma Salad Bowls I knew I wanted to try to recreate this at home sooner rather than later. This honestly happens a lot when I see her posts on Instagram.

I’ve had Chicken Shawarma a few times at local Lebanese and Mediterranean joints — mainly wrapped in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Pickles. Is this a thing? A Mediterranean restaurant I live near serves most of their dishes with cucumbers but some with pickles. Most recipes I find on the internet call for cucumber. I obviously get the connection. I just don’t get it. (And I generally don’t like eating pickles with anything other than pickles.) Is this a shortcut? A tradition? Specific to a certain cuisine? Someone help me out here.

Anyway, I was excited that when I suggested to Sis that we make Shawarma Bowls, she agreed. I had chicken in the fridge; she had tofu. We had every ingredient we needed to make the dish including all ingredients needed for the accompanying Tzatziki sauce. It was a Shawarma Day miracle.

While I intended to make my bowl a duplicate of Suzy’s, Sis decided she wanted to make some Basmati rice. So last minute I decided to convert my bowl to a Chicken Shawarma Rice Bowl with veggies and Tzatziki Sauce.

While there are basic traditional vegetables served with Shawarma (lettuce, tomato, cucumber an onion) Sis pulled a variety of veggies from her gardens and we piled them on. We had yellow beets, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, jicama, onion, chard and this tiny little yellow tomato that tastes like pineapple. (Can’t remember the name.) Sis had also made a lentil hummus that we added.

The great thing about this bowl is that you can totally customize it. Add rice or don’t add it. Top with your favorite veggies instead of what’s normal. Go low-carb and omit the rice and/or hummus. Drizzle Tzatziki sauce or Tahini sauce on top or eat it dry.

After plating my meal and taking photos, I ended up mixing all of the ingredients together. The idea of mixing a cucumber garlic yogurt sauce with lentil hummus wasn’t exactly appealing in thought but in execution the flavors melded together perfectly.

Would we make this again? Hell yes.

chicken ingredients.

  • ¾ T. ground cumin
  • ¾ T. turmeric powder
  • ¾ T. ground coriander
  • ¾ T. garlic powder
  • ¾ T. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, more if you prefer
  • Salt
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large lemon, juice of
  • ⅓ c. extra virgin olive oil

bowl ingredients.

  • baby arugula, spinach, chopped romaine or your favorite lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumber, diced or julienned
  • red onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • hummus, your favorite flavor
  • cooked Basmati or brown rice (optional)
  • any other vegetable of your choosing


  1. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, sweet paprika and cloves. Set aside the shawarma spice mix for now.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt on both sides, then thinly slice into small bite-sized pieces.
  3. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the shawarma spices and toss to coat. Add the onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Set aside for now, while you prepare the salad (and if you have time, cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.)
  4. Prepare the salad. Place the arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in one large mixing bowl. In a small bowl make the dressing combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sumac. Mix well. When ready, pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  5. Heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium/medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken, cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, then toss and cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked (I like a bit of color on my chicken, so I tend to go a bit longer until chicken is browned and crusted in some parts.)
  6. When ready, divide the salad into serving bowls. Add chicken shawarma. If you like, add a side of hummus, tzatziki or tahini.  Add warm pita wedges if needed. Enjoy!

Recipe rating: 

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