Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Grilled Chicken Shawarma - make your favorite Mediterranean restaurant sandwich at home (it's healthier, too!) |

A little known treasure trove for awesome recipes is Men’s Health magazine. Sure, if your household subscribes, you’ll be subjected to issues with half-naked Adam Levine (ugh) on the cover. But, if you can get past that, you’re in store for some GOOD recipes. The magazine’s recipe developers really excel at making healthier versions of food that just downright tastes great. 

Grilled Chicken Shawarma - make your favorite Mediterranean restaurant sandwich at home (it's healthier, too!) |

Because of an obsession with Detroit’s Bucharest Grill chicken shawarmas, my husband and I immediately noticed the Grilled Chicken Shawarma recipe in the May 2012 issue. We ripped it out and then promptly forgot about it. But, better late than never. We made this last week, with a few modifications, and it rocked my socks off. I declared that I liked it “better than Bucharest!” which made Jeff roll his eyes. But in a way, I really did like it better. It was MUCH less greasy (well, it wasn’t greasy at all). And I love tangy Greek yogurt in just about anything, so the yogurt sauce in place of the garlic spread at Bucharest (which can ward off vampires for days) really did it for me.

Don’t get me wrong, when I’m downtown for a Tigers or Red Wings game, you’ll still find me at Bucharest. But the rest of the year, you’ll find me at home, making these.

Grilled Chicken Shawarma - make your favorite Mediterranean restaurant sandwich at home (it's healthier, too!) |

Grilled Chicken Shawarma


For the Shawarma:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, divided

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons Middle Eastern seasoning mix

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, peeled and grated

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 4 small or 2 large pitas or wraps

  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the Toppings:

  • Hummus

  • Shredded lettuce

  • Chopped tomatoes

  • Sliced red onion

  • Sliced pickles


  1. In a large ziploc bag, combine 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup yogurt, lemon juice, seasoning mix, lemon zest, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add chicken and massage bag to combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

  2. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to high heat.

  3. Make the yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together remaining yogurt and garlic, cucumber, vinegar and salt to taste.

  4. Grill the chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through cooking (chicken will get slightly charred – you want this to happen!). Transfer to plate; let rest 5 minutes. While chicken is resting, spray both sides of pitas with nonstick cooking spray and lightly toast both sides on the grill, about 30 seconds per side.

  5. Assemble: however you want! I spread one side of my pita with hummus and the other side with the yogurt sauce. Then, I piled in the chicken and toppings, and wrapped the whole thing up in foil to make it easier to eat without it coming apart.

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