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Also spelled shawarma, the name of this iconic Middle Eastern street food comes from the original method of preparation, deriving from the Turkish word çevirme, meaning “turning,” referring to the rotation of a cooking spit. Based on the Turkish doner kebab, shwarma is traditionally made with lamb or mutton, but can also include chicken, turkey, beef, or veal. The migration of large numbers of Middle Eastern populations to the United States have made the sandwich popular throughout the country. This recipe foregoes the use of a rotisserie, seasoning oven-baked chicken with Middle Eastern spices including cumin, coriander, turmeric and paprika.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
15 minutes
+ 3 hours 10 minutes resting
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
3 hours 55 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


Mediterranean Salad:
  • Nonstick cooking spray, as needed to grease baking sheet
  • 6 pita pockets
  • Tahini sauce or Greek tzatziki sauce, as needed
  • Baby arugula, as needed
  • Pickles or kalamata olives, as needed (optional)


    For Mediterranean Salad:
  1. Combine the tomato, cucumber, parsley, and salt in a large bowl. Let it rest for 5 minutes
  2. Add the pepper, sumac, olive oil, and lemon juice, tossing to combine.
  3. For Chicken:
  4. Combine the cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, paprika, and cloves in a large bowl.
  5. Rinse the chicken thighs under cold running water, pat dry, season with cayenne pepper and salt on both sides, thinly slice into bite-size pieces, and place them in the bowl with the seasonings, tossing to coat.
  6. Add the onion, lemon juice, and olive oil, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  7. For Assembly:
  8. Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a baking sheet using nonstick cooking spray.
  9. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer the chicken and onions to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Spread the inside of each pita with Tahini or Tzatziki sauce, add the chicken, arugula, Mediterranean salad, and pickles or olives, if desired.

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