Street food inspired Roasted Turmeric Chicken Pitas with Garlic Lemon Tahini. Homemade, Middle Eastern inspired chicken stuffed inside fresh pitas with all the “extras”. Delicious garlic lemon tahini sauce, spicy harissa, and all of the desired toppings you love. This loaded pita is SO GOOD and makes for a fun, delicious, and different weeknight dinner. Serve each pita with homemade fries for a meal that everyone will truly love.
Guys, I figured out how to make Wednesdays more fun. Mid weekdays can drag on and on, but I love having a dinner like these pitas planned. They feel fresh, different, and exciting, right?
As with a lot of my recipes these days, this was yet another request from my brother, Creighton. When he’s back home In Cleveland, he loves to get chicken or lamb shawarma from his favorite middle eastern spots in town. Sometimes he’ll get a Shawarma bowl, but his favorite is the Shawarma wrap. So when I asked him for some recipe suggestions the other day, this was at the top of his list.
Never one to turn down a street food inspired recipe, I jumped on the opportunity to try to create my own simpler version using ingredients that people might just have on hand. And here we are!
I have to say, I’m pretty excited. Not only is this simple to put together, but it’s just one of those recipes that’s really good. Hoping it’s going to be on repeat for many of you!
Shawarma is one of the most popular middle eastern street foods you’ll come across. As well as one of the most well-loved…especially by my oldest brother. Traditionally, Shawarma is made with roasted meat cut into thin slices. Originally lamb was used, but it’s now often made with chicken, beef, or pork. The meat is seasoned with spices, marinated, and then roasted vertically, rotisserie-style. It’s usually served inside a pita, or on a plate with hummus.
The thing that’s so incredible about shawarma is that when it’s served up in a pita, it’s also served with multiple toppings and sauces. It’s a little “build your own” in that way. Simply pick and choose what you want your pita stuffed with. After some reading, it seems that everyone has different preferences…just order (or make) them to your liking.
Usually, there are shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickled red onions, creamy tahini and or white sauce, and multiple hot sauces…either red or green zhug and harissa. I also read about a mango sauce called Amba, in Eden Grinshpan’s Eating Out Loud, which sounds truly like an incredible addition. Apparently, you can now buy it at Trader Joe’s? Has anyone seen it?
Anyway, you can really do up a street-style pita. I think that’s why I loved creating my take on a street-style pita so much. It’s just fun, delicious food.
Here are the details.
It seems everyone has their own seasoning blend when it comes to Shawarma and each is slightly different. This is just my take. I love to use a good amount of paprika, and lots of cumin. Then some cardamon, turmeric, and a tiny pinch of cinnamon.
This mix gets tossed with the chicken and a splash of lemon juice. Then let the chicken sit for a bit to really soak up the wonderful spices.
While the chicken is resting, I usually make up a batch of fries to serve alongside.
Traditionally shawarma meat is roasted vertically, like you would a rotisserie chicken. But since my variation is being made at home, I roasted mine in the oven until it got a slight char. ‘Tis delicious. Again, this is not traditional, just a little bit easier.
Now onto the toppings or “stuff-ins”.
You know what really makes a good stuffed pita…all of the sauces. Of course.
As with shawarma, you can pick and choose your toppings/sauces. I used a bit of spicy harissa and then a garlic lemon tahini sauce. The tahini is just a simple mix of tahini, lemon, and garlic. I add a squeeze of dijon mustard for flavor and creaminess, but that’s just my variation.
We all LOVE this sauce.
Then just stuff the chicken inside a warmed pita or naan and add every last topping. SO DELICIOUS.
These Roasted Turmeric Chicken Pitas are so good, so full of flavor, and layered with texture. Not to mention, they’re just a fun way to switch up your average weeknight dinner.
Also, the leftovers? They’re really delicious the next day when piled onto a salad or served up with leftover fries and hummus. Great if you want to double the recipe and have some prepped for the week ahead!
The perfect any night of the week pita dinner!
Looking for other easy dinners? Here are some favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Roasted Turmeric Chicken Pitas with Garlic Lemon Tahini be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Roasted Turmeric Chicken Pitas with Garlic Lemon Tahini
Calories Per Serving: 524 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 pound boneless skinless, chicken breasts (or thighs) cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- juice from half a lemon
- 4 garlic cloves finely, chopped or grated
- kosher salt black pepper
- 4 fresh naan or pitas, warmed
- pickled red onion, lettuce, cucumbers, and parsley, for serving
- 1. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, chicken, paprika, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, lemon, garlic, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.2. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, toss and bake another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Switch the oven to broil. Broil 1-2 minutes, until the chicken chars on the edge. *Watch closely!3. Meanwhile, make the tahini. Combine all ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add water to thin the sauce as desired. Season to taste with salt.4. To assemble, stuff/spread each pita with tahini, then lettuce, and cucumber. Add the chicken, red onion, avocado, and parsley. Drizzle over more tahini and harissa (recipe in notes).
Spiced Harissa Sauce: combine 1/3 cup harissa, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and a pinch of salt