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News / Life / Food

Shawarma quick, easy, flavorful

By Linda Gassenheimer, Tribune News Service
Published: May 1, 2024, 6:02am

Walking by a restaurant that serves shawarma and catching the aroma of it cooking on a rotisserie spit always makes me want to stop and eat it right away. So, I created this easy version that you can make at home with very little effort but still enjoy the tantalizing aroma of the spices cooking.

Shawarma is a popular street food made with lamb, beef or chicken that has been spiced and roasted on a vertical spit all day. It’s often topped with a tahini sauce. Tahini is a sesame paste that you can buy at the market.


  • A yogurt sauce can be used instead of tahini sauce. A recipe for it is below.
  • Four crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of minced garlic.

Chicken Shawarma

Yield 2 servings. Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken cutlets

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided use

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons water

2 whole wheat pitas, about 6-7 inches wide

Several Romaine lettuce leaves torn into small pieces

1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Cut chicken into 1/4-1/2-inch slices. Mix cumin, paprika, turmeric, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil and garlic together in a medium-size bowl. Add the sliced chicken and stir to make sure all sides are coated with the mixture. Set aside to marinate while preparing tahini mixture and salad. Add tahini, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice and water to another bowl. Mix until smooth. Add a little more water if needed to make it into a smooth sauce. Save out several pieces of lettuce and divide the remaining lettuce and tomato pieces between 2 dinner plates. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and marinade. Saute 5 minutes turning the slices over as they cook. A meat thermometer should read 160 degrees. Cut the pita bread in half and open them to make a pocket. Spoon a little tahini sauce into the pockets. Add a few of the remaining pieces of lettuce and fill the pockets with the cooked chicken. Place the pita pockets on the dinner plates next to the lettuce and tomato pieces. Spoon the remaining tahini sauce into small bowls and add to the plates.

Yogurt Sauce Alternative to Tahini Sauce

1 crushed garlic clove

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together to form a smooth sauce.