Chicken Shawarma Dinner with Garlic Dipping Sauce

May 22, 2023

Where we live, Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that specialize in donairs and build-your-own shawarma bowl are extremely popular. We really enjoy eating this type of cuisine, especially when we get to watch our meat being shaved off the grill! This inspired me to make a healthier version of chicken shawarma dinner at home. I am particularly obsessed with the addicting garlic sauce, which I make in batches and now put on top of everything – eggs, meats, fish, and vegetables.

Chicken shawarma with garlic sauce on white plate.

Being on the keto & carnivore diet, I started experimenting with some of these flavours at home so that we can make a healthier version, while saving money and time. For the longest time I thought it was a complicated recipe, but it is actually quite simple.

Pouring garlic sauce on to chicken shawarma.
Pouring oil in to food processor with garlic sauce.

INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS


⭐️ BONE-IN, SKIN-ON, CHICKEN THIGHS – Substitute for chicken drumsticks, wings, tenders, or breast. Beef will also work, I would recommend a fast-cooking cut of beef such as flank steak.

⭐️ GROUND CARDAMOM – Substitute for spices that have that same aroma and flavor, such as allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg

⭐️ GROUND CUMIN– Substitute for additional ground coriander

⭐️ GROUND CORIANDER – Substitute for additional ground cumin, or curry powder

⭐️ PAPRIKA – Substitute for chili powder

⭐️ BEEF TALLOW – Substitute for any high smoke point oil

Chicken shawarma on white plate.

If you do not have cardamom on hand, they should sell it at most grocery stores and on Amazon. Do also check your local Asian grocer as it is a spice used in Asian cooking. I actually found some whole cardamoms in my pantry that I had purchased a while ago when I was testing a Vietnamese pho broth. I pulsed 5 or 6 of them in a coffee grinder to get about 1 tablespoon grounded.

Raw chicken thighs in glass bowl with tongs.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SHAWARMA DINNER


STEP 1: Season chicken and marinade in fridge

Mixing seasoning with raw chicken in clear glass bowl with tongs.

STEP 2: Bake chicken thighs in the oven

Chicken shawarma on baking tray with tongs.

HOW TO MAKE GARLIC DIPPING SAUCE


Garlic inside food processor on white counter.

Prepare garlic cloves by removing any sprouts, if necessary.

Adding oil to food processor containing minced garlic.

Blend garlic, oil, salt, and lemon juice until desired consistency is achieved

Blended garlic sauce in food processor.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR SUCCESS


⭐️ TIP #1: The longer you marinade the chicken for, the more the flavorful the chicken will be once it is done

⭐️ TIP #2: Removing the green sprouts in the garlic will help keep the final color of the sauce as white as possible. The sprouts will not affect the flavour of the sauce.

Garlic sauce being in white bowl with spoon.

DIET MODIFICATIONS


🥑 KETO

This recipe is keto friendly and does not require any modifications

🥩 CARNIVORE

Due to the use of seasonings and herbs to achieve the traditional shawarma flavour, this recipe is technically not suitable for a “strict carnivore” diet. If you are a loose carnivore, then this recipe may be suitable for you (adjust spices to your taste and tolerance).

Chicken shawarma on white plate.

FAQ FOR CHICKEN SHAWARMA DINNER


👉 DO I HAVE TO MARINADE THE CHICKEN FOR 3 HOURS?

If you have the time, we would recommend it, for maximum flavor penetration. However, it is not necessary and I have made this recipe before without the marinade and it tastes just as good!

👉 CAN I COOK THIS IN THE AIR FRYER?

Yes, you can cook in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping half way through.
We would recommend the oven if that is an option to you, as the chicken is heavily seasoned which can lead to smoking in the air fryer.

👉 HOW CAN I STORE THE LEFTOVERS?

Store the chicken in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. The dipping sauce will last in the fridge for up to 14 days.

👉 CAN THE GARLIC DIPPING SAUCE BE USED ON OTHER MEATS?

Absolutely! It is a very versatile (and addicting) sauce that can be used on beef, pork, fish, even vegetables. As long as you like the flavour of garlic, you will love this sauce

Chicken Shawarma Dinner

Where we live, Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants that specialize in donairs and build-your-own shawarma bowl are extremely popular. We really enjoy eating this type of cuisine, especially when we get to watch our meat being shaved off the grill! This inspired me to make a healthier version of chicken shawarma dinner at home. I am particularly obsessed with the addicting garlic sauce, which I make in batches and now put on top of everything – eggs, meats, fish, and vegetables.
Course Main Course
Cuisine greek, lebanese, Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin on, chicken thighs (note: this is about 8 thighs total)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

Garlic Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh garlic cloves (note: about 10-15 cloves total)
  • 1 cup avocado oil or beef tallow
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Clean and pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken with crushed garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and oil. Mix well.
  • Let marinate in the fridge for 3 hours or up to overnight.
  • On a 12×18 baking sheet with parchment paper, lay down chicken thighs.
  • Bake the chicken in the oven at 400F for 30-40 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.

Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • Peel fresh garlic and remove any green sprouts, if any.
  • In a small food processor, pulse the garlic for 1 minute, scrape down the sides.
  • Add the oil slowly by dripping a few tablespoons at a time. Blend continuously and continue to add remaining oil, until the consistency is thick and creamy.

Video

Keyword Chicken Shawarma Dinner

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Hi! Nice to meet you! We're Alice and Kevin. Together, we’ve experienced a life transformation with a ketogenic and carnivore diet, and our goal is to inspire others to do the same with simple and delicious recipes.

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