Slow Carb Chicken Swarma for an Easy Dinner
The hand- on part of this Chicken Shawarma recipe is very quick and easy, although you do have to allow a couple of hours for marinating and cooking time (about an hour marinating in the fridge and an hour in the oven). Add some greens and you have a perfect, easy-but-fancy, slow carb dinner!
Chicken is such a popular and versatile dish, but it can be pretty bland. Chicken Shawarma is anything but bland, with a lively marinade of lemon, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. It is a Middle Eastern dish that is often served on warm flatbread topped with a savory yogurt sauce. Neither flatbread or yogurt is compliant with a slow carb diet, although you could make a yogurt sauce with full-fat plain yogurt that would work with some low-carb diets.
True shawarma is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated meats– lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or a mix of meats– on a vertical spit. The shawarma turns and cooks on the spit for hours and hours, basted in fat and its own juices. Sometimes it is served with a tahini sauce which I could probably modify to be slow carb compliant, but I was going for quick and easy with this dish.
Honestly though, it was delicious without flatbread or yogurt or tahini sauce and if you didn’t know that it was usually served that way, you would never miss it!
Recipe for Slow Carb Chicken Shawarma:
- 2 lemons, freshly juiced
- 1/2 cup plus
- 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground cumin (toasted seed and then ground if you’ve got time)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 lbs. skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 onions (yellow or red), quartered
- For the marinade: In a medium to large bowl, combine lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine.
- Add chicken thighs and toss to coat them with the marinade. Cover and store in refrigerator for 1 hour up to 12 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat over to 425 degrees F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or oil. Quarter the onions (or cut in large chunks) and coat with the marinade in the bowl. Remove the chicken and onion and place on baking sheet. Pour any remaining marinade over the chicken.
- Roast the chicken in the oven until it is browned, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit a couple of minutes while you make the accompaniments if using. Serve and enjoy!
Ideas for accompaniments might include tomatoes, cucumbers, hot sauce, olives, fried eggplant, feta or a tahini sauce.