A quick and easy chicken marinade – lemon and yogurt tenderize the lean chicken breasts while fresh garlic, parsley, and spices add tons of flavor.
Recently the American Dairy Association Mideast asked me to share an easy, back-to-school dairy recipe. While you know I drink smoothies like it’s my day job (oh wait..), I decided to take the savory route this time around. Truth is: I eat more plain, unsweetened yogurt in savory dishes than anything else.
Whenever I travel I try to make time to sample the local cuisine. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up eating dim sum in San Francisco, tacos in Tucson and Greek food in Chicago. With that said, Lebanese food was first on our agenda during a recent trip to Dearborn, Michigan – home to the most concentrated Arab-American population in the nation.
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.
While I love my local spots, the hummus and meat-stuffed grape leaves we enjoyed in Dearborn blew them all out of the water. I felt like I was eating a meal prepared by my Great Aunt Vieve or Aunt Paula and that is not a compliment I give lightly.
If you’re looking for quick and easy chicken breast recipes for the busy school year, this Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce does not disappoint. I almost always have lemons, garlic and plain yogurt in the house and I’m pretty sure I’ve never run out of allspice, cayenne or cinnamon in my life. 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.
Plain yogurt is a healthy way to tenderize lean chicken breasts while also adding an addictive tanginess. Added bonus? It’s packed with protein as well as magnesium and potassium – two powerful minerals that when combined with calcium have been shown to help maintain low blood pressure. I love yogurt in sweet dishes but don’t forget about it in savory dishes too!
Your fork is waiting.
Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Garlic Sauce
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)
- 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.