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Chicken Shawarma


  • 1 tablespoon coriander (a palmful)

  • 1 tablespoon cumin (a palmful)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom (a palmful)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (a palmful)

  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick brand Montreal Steak Seasoning

  • 1 lemon

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling

  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled

  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast or 12 chicken tenders

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

  • 1 large red onion, sliced

  • 1/4 cup store-bought sesame tahini paste, available in the refrigerated case near the hummus at the grocery store

  • 1 1/2-2 cups plain Greek yogurt

  • An extra 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • Salt

  • 8 pita breads

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley tops

  • 1/2 cup hot banana pepper rings (optional)


Pre-heat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high to high heat.

Combine spices, then mix with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup EVOO on a shallow plate or in a bowl. Grate garlic into the EVOO. Add chicken and turn in spices and let stand for 15 minutes. Grill chicken until marked and cooked through, 12 minutes for breasts, 8-10 minutes for tenders.

While chicken is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion and toss until they become tender, 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the juice from the remaining 1/2 lemon with tahini, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and a drizzle of EVOO and salt, to taste. Thin with a little water until spoonable.

Char pita breads. Fill pita with chopped or sliced chicken, peppers, onion, parsley leaves and hot pepper rings and top with tahini sauce. Tidbit: Triple or quadruple the mixture of spices and keep in your pantry for 3 months to sprinkle on chicken or lamb whenever you grill.