This low-carb chicken shawarma plate is my favorite dinner at the moment. I love it enough to make it on repeat at least once a week, partially because it's a quick, delicious keto-friendly meal with easy clean-up (only one sheet pan!). Grilled, shawarma-style chicken and seasoned, roasted vegetables are served on a bed of cabbage with spoonfuls of roasted garlic tahini. It's a Middle Eastern inspired dish that brings together all the best things about a chicken shawarma wrap, minus the carb-loaded naan. Truly, you won't even miss it!
what is chicken shawarma
Authentic shawarma is a combination of seasoned meats that are slow-roasted on a vertical spit. The meat is shaved off into thin slices that is commonly served in soft naan as a wrap. Toppings include vegetables, tahini, hummus, and really vary depending on where you get it.
why I love it
This chicken shawarma plate isn't traditional shawarma- the chicken is cooked on the grill instead of a turning spit. It's also coated in coconut cream before grilling, which helps to lock in moisture, adds some fat to the dish, and evenly coats the chicken with the spices.
When I lived in Anchorage, one of my favorite restaurants was Falafel King, a small, family-owned eatery downtown, known for its traditional shawarma and falafel. I haven't eaten there since the restaurant changed hands, but Falafel King's shawarma platter is the inspiration behind this keto recipe. While this dish isn't authentic by any means, it's a copycat of one of my favorite meals, and a healthier take, too.
This chicken shawarma plate is:
- an easy, 30-minute meal
- flexible cooking options: make it a sheet pan dinner or throw it on the grill!
- the best combination of Middle Eastern flavors
- keto and low-carb friendly, but also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan optional if you substitute the chicken for eggplant
how to make a low-carb chicken shawarma plate
This two-step dinner is simple. While the veggies are roasting in the oven, you can have the meat going on the grill. Spend another five minutes making the roasted garlic tahini sauce. Assemble it all on a plate and enjoy with spoonfuls of tahini, dill pickles, olives and red pepper flakes.
Intrigued? Here's what you'll need:
- red or yellow onion
- bell peppers
- head of garlic
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ground spices: cardamom, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon
- coconut cream
- chicken thighs or breasts
- tahini (I love Soom brand)
- warm water
- half a head of cabbage
- kalamata olives, dill pickles and red pepper flakes (optional toppings)
to make the roasted vegetables
To make the chicken shawarma plate, start by prepping the vegetables.
- Slice the bell peppers vertical, into long strips, and same goes for the onion.
- Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Cut a thin slice off the top of the garlic head, just enough to remove the skin and reveal the garlic cloves.
- Arrange the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking mat. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over all the vegetables (I use my hands to evenly coat the veggies with oil). Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the garlic head on the baking sheet and slowly pour olive oil on top of it, allowing the oil to seep into the garlic.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the veggies/garlic.
to make the chicken shawarma
- Pour the coconut cream into a medium bowl. Stir in all of the spices.
- Cut the chicken thighs in half (or in thirds if you're using chicken breasts). Stab each piece with a fork and dip it into the sauce, coating each piece of chicken evenly.
- Grill on medium/low heat, for about 7-10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is done. Alternatively, if you'd like to bake the chicken in the oven, you can arrange the chicken onto the same baking sheet and cook it with the vegetables. Check out the full recipe below for temperatures/baking time.
- When the vegetables and garlic are done roasting, make the tahini sauce. Combine 4-5 cloves of the roasted garlic with the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and warm water. Blend it until it's smooth, and adjust to taste.
- Slice up the cabbage into thin strips. To serve, arrange the chicken and vegetables on the bed of cabbage, drizzle tahini sauce. Top the low-carb chicken shawarma plate with kalamata olives, dill pickles, and red pepper flakes.
tips for upping the fat
To include more fat in this low-carb chicken shawarma plate, load up on the tahini and olives. Go easy on the bell peppers and onions since they carry the most carbs and natural sugars of the dish. You can also drizzle some olive oil onto the veggies right before serving. Or blend the tahini with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or MCT oil (it may separate later but a quick stir/blend will fix that). I love how easy it is to incorporate more fat to this meal to bring it from a low-carb dinner to a true, keto-approved dish.
Overall, this shawarma recipe is easy to make and a great, flavorful, low-carb meal! It's perfect for grilling season, but I guarantee this shawarma plate will continue to be a repeat year-round. And I'm totally okay with that. 😉
you might also love...
- this kale Greek salad with garlic tahini dressing to up your keto salad game
- zucchini noodle salad with a spicy peanut sauce for a delicious, Thai-inspired zoodle bowl that's full of flavor
- this five-minute keto oatmeal recipe for a warm, creamy and hearty breakfast that's packed with protein and healthy fats (grain-free and dairy-free, too!)
- 2 bell peppers, any color
- 1 red onion, large
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 medium garlic head
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-½ pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs
- ¾ cup coconut cream
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup warm water
- juice of half a large lemon
- Kalamata olives, red pepper flakes, and dill pickles for topping
- ½ head of green cabbage (for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the bell peppers vertically into long slices. Cut the onion vertically into thin wedges. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Place all the veggies on a baking sheet and coat them with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Carefully slice the top off of the garlic head, only removing enough to expose the cloves. Pour the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic, allowing the oil to seep into the garlic head. Place the garlic on the baking sheet.
- Roast the vegetables and garlic for about 20 minutes. It might need a few minutes more or less depending on the size of your pieces. The vegetable edges should be slightly browned/charred.
- While the vegetables are roasting, combine the coconut cream with the spices in a medium bowl.
- Heat up your grill for five minutes at medium heat, then turn down slightly to medium/low. Cut each chicken thigh in half, then stab it with a fork and dip it into the cream/spice mixture, making sure it's evenly coated. Place the coated chicken pieces on a plate.
- When the grill is hot, place each piece of chicken on the grill. Cook for about 7-10 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for another 7-10 minutes on the second side, or until the chicken is done. Remove from the barbecue and place the pieces on a plate. Set aside while you prepare the tahini sauce.
- When the vegetables are done roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool for about two minutes before carefully pulling out a few cloves of the roasted garlic. I like to use about 4-5, depending on how large the garlic cloves are. (To remove them, use a fork to pull the clove out while squeezing the base of it).
- Blend the roasted garlic with the tahini, warm water, lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust, adding more garlic or salt if needed, or warm water to thin.
- Slice the cabbage. Serve each shawarma plate with 1-2 handfuls of cabbage, with the chicken and roasted veggies on top. Drizzle on the tahini and top the shawarma plate with dill pickles, Kalamata olives, and red pepper flakes for spice.
*Alternatively, you can skip the grill and roast the chicken along with the veggies. Just place all of it on the same baking sheet (or use a second tray if the first is too crowded). Bake at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
*A note about the coconut cream: you can purchase cans of coconut cream or use the coconut cream that's at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk. If you're using coconut milk, I don't recommend Trader Joe's- it's not as thick as other brands. I love Thai Kitchen or Native Forest, and find that their cans of coconut milk tend to have more cream at the top than other brands. Also, don't use lite coconut milk- you want full-fat!
*To increase the fat, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or MCT oil to the tahini sauce. And load up the shawarma plate with extra tahini and olives!
*Nutritional information is calculated without suggested toppings (olives, pickles, etc.). It also factors in all of the tahini consumed, and you'll likely have leftovers, so know the nutritional value is a rough estimate for this recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 380mgCarbohydrates: 25gNet Carbohydrates: 15gFiber: 10gSugar: 8gProtein: 35g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.