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Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

A quick and easy chicken shawarma marinade – lemon and yogurt tenderize the lean chicken breasts while fresh garlic, parsley, and spices add tons of flavor. Served on pita bread with a tahini garlic sauce.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

My maternal grandparents emigrated from Syria and settled in West Michigan, so although I grew up eating Middle Eastern food, there are only a handful of Lebanese restaurants on this side of the state. As such, I grew up learning from my mother and grandmother how to make and perfect Lebanese recipes. This Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce is a result of my family’s culture and my childhood. We decided to wrap it into a pita with our favorite tahini garlic sauce, but it is great on its own served with rice pilaf and a green salad as well!

Ingredients

  • For the Shawarma marinade: lemon juice, plain yogurt, parsley, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  • For the sauce: tahini, lemon juice, garlic, warm water, salt and pepper.
  • For the wrap: pita, chicken shawarma, tahini garlic sauce, with any combo of lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, and red onion.

How to Make Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

Adding yogurt to bowl

Start your Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce by making the shawarma marinade.

Liz adding seasoning to marinade

Add the plain yogurt to a medium sized bowl with the cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne.

Liz grating garlic into bowl 1

Followed by freshly grated garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a touch of salt.

Liz dicing parsley

Add some freshly minced parsley and stir until a creamy sauce is formed.

Marinating chicken shawarma

Add cubed chicken to the marinade and mix until evenly coated. Let marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.

Cooking chicken shawarma

Then set the chicken out on a prepared baking sheet and broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes on high, or throw it on the grill (my preferred method).

Adding tahini to bowl

While the chicken is marinating or cooking, make the tahini garlic sauce. Pour tahini into a small bowl.

Liz grating garlic for tahini sauce

Add lemon juice, grated garlic, and a touch of salt and pepper.

Adding warm water to tahini sauce

Slowly stir in warm water until you’ve reached desired consistency.

Putting tahini sauce on pita

Now you’re ready to assemble the Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce. Start by spreading the sauce onto some pita.

Liz adding ingredients to pita

Follow with the chicken shawarma, and desired toppings of lettuce, tomato, onion, or bell pepper.

Liz grabbing chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

Wrap it all up, and enjoy this delicious lunch or dinner!

Easy Substitutions

  • Make it vegetarian. Instead of chicken, use chickpeas! Or tofu, or vegan “chicken.”
  • No dairy? No problem. Luckily this meal already has very little dairy, but you can replace the yogurt with coconut yogurt, or a bit less conventional, apple sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you tenderize lean chicken breasts?

Plain yogurt is a healthy way to tenderize lean chicken breasts while also adding an addictive tanginess. Plain yogurt is also packed with protein as well as magnesium and potassium.

What else can I use the Tahini Garlic sauce with?

It tastes great on white fish or drizzled over roasted potatoes.

How do I store leftover chicken shawarma?

Kept in an airtight container, it’ll keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

More Lebanese Delights

Like It, Eat It, Share It!

Did you try this Lebanese dish and love it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.

Liz eating chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce.

This Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce is not only easy and delicious, but brings with it a sense of home and comfort (at least for me). I love it, my husband loves it, my kids love it, and I know you will, too.

No fork required.

Chicken shawarma pita with tahini garlic sauce

Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce

4.53 stars average
A quick and easy chicken shawarma marinade – lemon and yogurt tenderize the lean chicken breasts while fresh garlic, parsley, and spices add tons of flavor.
PREP: 30 mins
COOK: 10 mins
TOTAL: 40 mins
Pin Recipe
Servings: 4

Ingredients
 

Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 pound boneless (skinless chicken breasts – cut in 2 in cubes)
  • 1 juice of lemon
  • ½ cup plain low fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon cayenne

Tahini Garlic Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pitas
  • slices lettuce (tomato and red onion to serve)

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl whisk together chicken marinade: lemon juice, yogurt, minced parsley, grated garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  • Pour marinade over chicken breast cubes in a resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • While chicken is marinating, whisk together tahini garlic sauce in a small bowl. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
  • To cook chicken, pre-heat grill or broiler to high heat. Spray grill or foil-lined broiler pan with non-stick spray. Grill or broil for 4-5 minutes per set or until chicken is cooked through.
  • To serve, spread a quarter of the tahini garlic sauce down the center of each pita. Top with cooked chicken pieces, lettuce, tomato, and red onion slices. Wrap tightly and slice in half before serving.

Notes

Remove chicken from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes before you plan to grill or broil to help remove the chill.

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 27.7gFat: 5.4gSaturated Fat: 0.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1008mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 3g
SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!
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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families.

69 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this recipe! I lived in Bermuda and got totally addicted to this and the fact that you have made it healthy is awesome-particularly for those of use trying to manage a heart health diet.

  2. Hi! I love your recipes. I grew up in Michigan and started eating middle eastern food when I had a Chaldean roommate in college. My question for you is where do you buy the kind of pita that you show in your picture (i.e. Pita that you can roll instead of stuff). I live in Atlanta now and never see this at my local grocery store. Do I need to go to a specialty grocery store?

    1. Hi Nikki!! So glad you said hi!! Yes I get them at a specialty store – usually any international grocery store or Middle Eastern grocery store has it. Sometimes they keep it in the freezer. I hope you can find it!

  3. Forgive me if this comes off as rude, it truly is not my intent, however i feel misled. After finding your website that is advertised and marketed as “Healthy”, I was so excited. I started pinning items and planning out my next shopping trip. It was easy to scroll down and see 250 calories, 20+ G of Protein and then it hits you !!! 1000+ MG of SODIUM !!! per wrap. Thats not in any way healthy. And with the growing crisis of heart disease your dish is 200 mg shy of the Doctor recommended daily intake of 1200 MG for a healthy person. While it may be low calorie and low fat, it certainly is not healthy if you have that much sodium. I think your recipes should reflect such, especially for those who are health conscious. Sodium is the least talked about factor that contributes to heart disease. Even the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy are finally started addressing this publicly to spread awareness to all persons about the negative effects of sodium. If you are like me, and trying to find healthy alternatives to foods that you love, to save the life of someone you love, then I’m sure you can imagine the shock value your nutrition label offers. Good luck to you, and I hope you are able to offer suggestions to recipes that truly are Healthy.

    1. Hi CD – Thank you very much for taking time to write candid feedback. I completely understand where you’re coming from and respect your opinion. To lower the sodium content of this recipe and others, I recommend looking for chicken with low sodium (most store bought chicken has high content so I reflect those numbers since that’s what most people are purchasing). Also, you can lower the sodium content further by reducing or eliminating the salt. Please let me know if I can help you reduce the sodium in any other recipes! Thanks again and have a great weekend.

  4. I made your recipe for my girlfriend and I tonight as we have been craving Shawarma, I marinated the chicken over night and it was delicious, the tahini sauce worked perfect on it, thanks!

  5. I’m excited to try this recipe! I stumbled across ur website off of Pinterest. Do you have a recipe for kafta bil saniyeh (beef with potatoes in red sauce)? Thanks! :)

  6. two things…I’ve never had shawarma or tahini sauce – it’s killing me because I know I would totally love both!!! This whole dish, it’s totally perfect.
    I want to visit dearborn and hit up that restaurant with you!! Those grape leaves and hummus are calling my name!!!

    1. I can’t believe how much I have to hide food from my son if I want to eat anything – haha. :-) I’m so glad your kids like shawarma!!

    1. So funny – I want hummus all the time lately!!!! Almost made it yesterday but my food processor was dirty from making baked kibbee!! A good problem I suppose. :)

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