Alternative title: the only salad I ever want to eat, ever.
Growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of Mediterranean food. And honestly I didn’t really eat much at all until a few years ago. There are tons of fast, fresh Mediterranean restaurants all over Chicago. And this type of food quickly became a go-to for me on nights when I didn’t want to cook/didn’t have time and still wanted to eat something healthy.
Fast forward to this past December, Pat and I moved up to Andersonville. Andersonville is an incredible neighborhood on the north side of Chicago – filled with tons of restaurants, shops owned and run by residents of the neighborhood, and the feeling like you’re not quite in the city anymore.
We love it.
At the main intersection, there is the Middle East Bakery and Grocery – a phenomenal place to pick up the smoothest hummus of your life, olive tapenade that is better than any I’ve ever tasted, and every Middle Eastern/Mediterranean spice under the sun. AKA heaven.
I created this recipe using one of the best finds from their grocery store!
CHICKEN SHAWARMA SALAD
Last time I stopped in, I picked up their ‘chicken shawarma spice blend’ which is a mix of cardamom, coriander, cumin, cloves, black and cayenne pepper, fenugreek, ginger, allspice, paprika, and turmeric. And it was a great decision. If you don’t have access to this store or cannot find a chicken shawarma blend at your local spice store, I would suggest using the spices outlined in this recipe.
I really like picking up blends like this from spice shops because it makes making dinner so much easier! And I like knowing that all of the spices are already put together in the appropriate proportions.
Whether you use a store bought blend or make your own, this Mediterranean salad is perfect for:
- weeknight dinners – Yes, this chicken shawarma is totally easy (thank you pre-made spice blends!) and manageable on a weeknight.
- adding new flavors to your palate – If you are just experimenting with new flavor profiles, I love using premade blends to make sure to get the balance just right.
- summer gatherings – I have made and shared this salad with so many people. And the best part is that it’s easy to scale to as many people as you are serving and the chicken can be marinated in advance for easy cooking in the oven or on the grill!
Once you have your spice blend, store bought or homemade, it’s time to make this chicken shawarma salad!
There are two key components that make this salad epic – the marinade and the dressing.
For the marinade, combine your spice blend with lemon juice and avocado oil. If possible, marinate the chicken (use thighs!) for 4+ hours, but at a minimum of one hour. Let the chicken really hang out in the marinade as long as possible to soak up the flavor.
And the dressing. Oh baby, this stuff is GOOD. The base, and what gives it the creamy texture, is another Mediterranean staple – tahini. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and is the texture of real nut butter, which is essentially what it is!
These two together create such an array of flavors that is perfectly offset by the crisp veggies and greens. I just know you are going to love this!
When you make this Chicken Shawarma Salad, post a picture on social media and use the hashtag #imhungrybynature for a chance to be featured!Print
For the chicken marinade:
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 2 Tablespoons chicken shawarma spice blend
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
For the salad:
- 1 small head red leaf lettuce, chopped
- 1 small head romaine, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 cup sliced Persian cucumber
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4–1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl and whisk together. Place chicken into a plastic bag and pour marinade over the top. Allow the chicken to marinade in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and pour excess marinade over top. Roast for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- While the chicken roasts, prep your salad and dressing. In a large serving bowl, combine all salad ingredients and toss. To a blender add tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, salt and pepper. Blend until fully emulsified. If continue to add up to an additional 1/4 cup water until the dressing reaches your desired consistency. Toss the salad with the dressing (I didn’t use all of the dressing!).
- When the chicken is done, allow to rest for 5 minutes and slice into strips. Add chicken to salad and serve immediately.
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