Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicken Shawarma with Oregano Vinaigrette & Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

Shawarma is an Arabic meat preparation, where the meat is placed on a vertical spit and grilled; the meat is then shaved off from the outside inward. The term is used interchangeably with gyros and doner kebabs as well. Here in the US, shawarma/gyro is typically served as a sandwich, either wrapped into a pita rollup, or served atop a pillowy flatbread.

Authentic shawarma is made by stacking strips of fat and meat alternately on a spit, then roasted over a fire. Served with dressings such as tahini or toum (a garlic sauce), the meat is moist, juicy and full of flavor. It's also impossible to make at home if you're going for TRUE authenticity, since most people aren't going to have a flaming vertical rotisserie in their kitchens :)

Luckily, you can replicate the rich flavors at home with a grill. The yogurt-based marinade is the key to this chicken; it leaves the meat moist and full of flavor. In place of the toum, a garlic & yogurt sauce adds flavor without loads of extra fat or calories. The salad is dressed lightly with an oregano dressing, then everything is rolled up to be eaten as a sandwich!

Served simply with hummus or tabbouleh as a side dish, this recipe couldn't be easier or more full of rich Middle-Eastern flavor!

Chicken Shawarma with Oregano Vinaigrette & Garlic-Yogurt Sauce
adapted from Budget Bytes & Cooking Light

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp minced or grated garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp minced or grated garlic
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp salt
Oregano Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves, grated
4 pieces of naan, pita or flatbread
1 head Romaine lettuce, torn
2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4oz feta cheese, crumbled
Pickles (if desired)

Prepare the Marinade: Combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Add the chicken strips to the marinade, coat well, and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours.

Prepare the Yogurt Sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, dill and salt in a small bowl. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Prepare the Oregano Vinaigrette: Whisk together the white wine, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside until ready to serve.

Once the chicken has been marinated, grill the chicken until cooked through (skewer the chicken strips if desired). Set aside and let rest for 5 minutes.

*If you don't have a grill, or just don't want to use it, you can broil the skewers. Just place the oven rack about 6-8" below the broiler and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. 

Spread a thin layer of the yogurt sauce on a pita or flatbread. Top with Romaine lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber slices and red onion slices. Drizzle lightly with the oregano vinaigrette.

Add the cooked chicken and top with feta if desired. Top with more yogurt sauce, then fold or wrap the sandwich closed.


  1. Replies
    1. It's so good! I keep wanting to make it over and over!

  2. Okay, this? Was. Amazing. We looooved it. Thank you for the recipe!!!

    1. Fantastic!!! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it :)