Ready in less than 30 minutes, these CHICKEN SHAWARMA QUINOA BOWLS WITH EASY MEAL PREP is the perfect introductory dish to the amazing taste and spice of Middle Eastern cuisine. Marinated in mix of everyday spices and herbs, the result is juicy, complex, and wonderfully flavored chicken dinner perfect for week-long meal prepping!
The flavor, color, and smell of Middle Eastern food makes it a favorite here at TFS and includes recipes such as Moroccan Beef Tajine with Eggplant, Persian Cranberry Rice Pilaf, and Easy Sheet Pan Sumac Chicken with Roasted Vegetables.Jump to Recipe
If you are wondering what this chicken shawarma is or what it’s all about, I totally get it. You’re not alone. In fact, if I’m being completely transparent, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. So, with that in mind, this is what I have figured out about this deliciously flavorful Middle Eastern chicken.
WHAT IS CHICKEN SHAWARMA?
If you ask google, Wikipedia will tell you that chicken shawarma is a “…meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit …and may be grilled for as long as a day.”
Well, you can already see that my preparation is not exactly authentic. But that’s ok. This chicken is so tasty and smells so delicious, you will have the whole neighborhood flocking to your house asking for the recipe.
INGREDIENTS IN THE CHICKEN SHAWARMA MARINADE
The marinade and marinating time is KEY. Try to plan for an overnight marinade to really let the flavor and spices be absorbed.
- Lemon juice (the real deal. not the fake stuff)
- Salt + Pepper
- Cayenne (not much, just a teeny bit)
- Olive oil
I’m going to guess that you have at least half of those ingredients in your house already. yes? no? no idea? That’s ok. The spice drawer is a scary place for me, too.
BEST WAYS TO COOK CHICKEN SHAWARMA
There are several different methods of cooking chicken shawarma. Since I’m guessing most of us don’t have a vertical spit, we’ll have to settle on one of the below-
- BBQ or grill
- Pan fry
When it comes to cooking meat, I feel that it’s best to go with what YOU know best. Or, whatever is easiest for you at that given time. In other words, there is no “best” way to cook chicken shawarma.
Personally, I like to bake chicken. It’s more reliable than pan frying and it’s less multi-tasking. When I made these quinoa bowls with the intention of also using the leftovers for meal prep, I was doing so with a 4-year-old at home.
This is not easy. And so, the oven is my friend.
HOW TO SERVE CHICKEN SHAWARMA
I’m going to tell you a secret…there is no right way. At least I have never encountered a wrong way.
That said, I have a couple recommendations on what to eat chicken shawarma with or on or in…
- In a salad bowl. I am going to leave this very broad and open for your own personal interpretation. For today I made a quinoa bowl with Cucumber Tahini Yogurt, but who’s to say I won’t serve it with cabbage and rice tomorrow?
- Wrapped up. There really are few things better in this life than chicken shawarma wrapped in soft and fluffy Middle Eastern flatbread. When I lived in Germany döner kebab were everywhere and became my go-to for an easy dinner.
- As a chicken platter. A little chicken, fresh vegetables, warm flatbread, hummus…
In other words, do whatever makes you happy.
WHAT MAKES CHICKEN SHAWARMA AN EASY MEAL PREP IDEA?
- The chicken and marinade can easily be made in bulk.
- It’s fast and easy to make!
- It can be served in a variety of different ways (see above).
- Ingredients will stay fresh through the week (translation- no soggy mess).
So easy meal prep ideas. I am all about them these days and Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls are a brilliant way to meal prep on Sunday and have lunch ready for the week.
To each bowl, I’ve added-
- Mixed greens
- Tomatoes and cucumber
MEAL PREP STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Ok, guys. Ultimately everyone will have their own opinions on what or where they want to store their food. At the end of the day, you do you. However for me, personally, if I know I want to keep certain things separate or it will be going in the microwave, I will always use glass.
Here are my favorites and products I use regularly.
- Glass Meal Prep Containers (one compartment)
- Glass Meal Prep Containers (two compartments)
- Reusable Plastic Meal Prep Containers
- Disposable sauce cups (I have 1 ounce, 2 ounces may be better)
From an environmental standpoint, the mini disposable sauce cups are as bad as it gets. I totally get this and I am currently on the hunt for something better that will still fit right in the meal prep container. If you know of something, please leave a comment and let me know!
MORE EASY AND DELICIOUS MEAL PREP IDEAS
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Mild, yet still full of beautiful and bright flavor, Chicken Shawarma is a great chicken dinner to try if you're new to Middle Eastern cuisine. For best results, marinate the chicken overnight, or for at least 2-4 hours. This allows the chicken to really absorb the awesome spice in the marinade. To cook the chicken, you can grill, pan fry, or bake. Baking is my preferred method, but go with what you know best! This recipe is served with quinoa and salad for a healthy weeknight dinner and leftovers are packed away in glass containers with chickpeas and yogurt sauce for easy meal prep.
- 2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lemons juiced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cucumber grated
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 heads romaine lettuce finely chopped
- 1/2 cup green onion chopped
- 4 roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 avocado peeled and sliced
- 1 large English cucumber sliced
- Fresh lemon, mint, and sesame seeds to garnish
In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients for the marinade until combined. Transfer the marinade to a large ziplock bag.
Carefully transfer the chicken to the bag. Seal the bag shut, removing as much air as possible. Gently mix the chicken in with the marinade, making sure every single part of each chicken piece is covered with marinade.
Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.
When ready to cook, remove chicken from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer chicken to the baking sheet, using two sheets if needed (don't overcrowd the baking sheet as the chicken will cook less efficiently).
Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees with a digital thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest.
Place all ingredients for the cucumber tahini yogurt in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. Season to taste and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
As the chicken is cooking prepare the ingredients for the quinoa salad bowls. Divide among each bowl the lettuce, quinoa, tomato, chickpeas, avocado, and cucumber. Garnish with fresh mint, sesame seeds, and lemon. Top each bowl with sliced chicken shawarma and cucumber tahini yogurt.
If you are making these into meal prep bowls or you have leftovers, the same idea applies to meal prep bowl building as it does to make a salad bowl. Simply decide which ingredients you would like to go into each container and arrange accordingly 🙂
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