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Chopped Chicken Shawarma Dinner Salad with Feta

5 from 6 community reviews

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Easy to prep and eat, this fresh chopped Mediterranean salad is bursting with flavorful vegetables, green herbs, feta cheese, and Middle Eastern street cart-style grilled chicken seasoned with pantry spices.

A bowl of chopped chicken salad with cucumbers and vegetables.

If you enjoy one-bowl meals packed with texture and flavor (especially dinner recipes with chicken), this easy-to-eat dinner salad with chicken recipe is a must-try. I created this salad inspired by New York City street cart food.

The starring role in shawarma salad is played by the tender pieces of grilled spice-rubbed chicken that are combined with plenty of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables and finished with a lemony tahini dressing.

List of ingredients

  • Chicken breast or thigh (boneless)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Persian or seedless cucumber
  • Green onions
  • Red onion
  • Lemons
  • Garlic
  • Spices (cumin, nutmeg, allspice, coriander, black pepper)
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro, mint, dill and or fresh parlsey
  • Romaine lettuce and arugula
  • Feta cheese
  • Greek yogurt: Use plain yogurt, either whole milk or low-fat.
  • Tahini paste: For the tahini dressing
  • Pita or naan bread

In reality, it’s not what you’d typically find on a NYC halal cart. For that, I suggest you proceed straight to the source!

Because I went ahead and lightened up the traditional street food recipe, I guess you can call it a yoga-pants version of a lemon-tahini chicken salad.

A bowl of chopped chicken salad with cucumbers and vegetables.

Authentic chicken shawarma

The real-deal street version features spit-roasted, spice-seasoned chicken that’s sliced and served over rice pilaf, fried falafel, and ribbons of iceberg lettuce, all topped off with creamy hummus and tahini sauce. It’s an incredible blast of flavor in one dish, well worth waiting in line for and devouring right then and there on the sidewalk.

Those big, bold spicy flavors that you’ll also enjoy in my chicken gyro meatball salad — I’m passionate about them! Anything that includes a delicious combo of acid, salty, fresh, crunchy, and herbaceous elements never fails to make your mouth water.

Shawarma chicken salad in a serving bowl, with slices of pita flatbread on the side.

My goal was to recreate the spirit of Mediterranean-Middle Eastern street food in a healthy-ish homemade version of the salad.

I created a homemade shawarma spice rub spice blend, a mixture of bold spices that includes cumin and black pepper, with a background of sweet warm ones like nutmeg and allspice. The rub is fantastic on other meats too — like these lamb burgers, possibly my favorite burger ever.

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients in the recipe — most of the prep involves mixing spices and preparing and chopping the ingredients for the salad,  which can all be done a day ahead.

Chopped Chicken Shawarma Dinner Salad with Feta

Karen Tedesco
Easy to prep and eat, this fresh chopped Mediterranean salad is bursting with flavorful vegetables, green herbs, feta cheese, and Middle Eastern street cart-style grilled chicken seasoned with pantry spices.
Print Pin
5 from 6 community reviews
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Shawarma Spice Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Lemon Tahini Dressing:

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • ½ teaspoon Shawarma Spice Blend

Quick Pickled Red Onion

  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Assemble the Salad

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound) , or 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups mixed color cherry/grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup each picked fresh cilantro, Italian parsley, mint and/or dill
  • 2 cups each torn romaine lettuce and arugula
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper , or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup thick plain yogurt, such as labneh or Greek-style
  • Warm pita bread, sliced into quarters
  • Green sauce, optional

Instructions 

Make the spice mix:

  • Put the ingredients for the spice rub in a jar. Cover and shake well to mix.

Make the dressing:

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. For a creamier, emulsified dressing blend in a mini food processor or blender. The dressing keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.

Make the pickled onion:

  • Put ½ teaspoon salt and the sugar in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and whisk to dissolve. Add the red onion in the bowl and toss together. Set aside or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead.

For the salad

  • Sprinkle the chicken evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of the Shawarma spice rub. Set aside while preparing the vegetables for the salad, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead.
  • Put the tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions in a large salad bowl. Drain the red onion and add to the bowl.
  • Pile the herbs together on a cutting board and finely chop. Add the herbs to the bowl, along with the romaine, arugula, feta, Aleppo chili pepper and a pinch of salt. 
  • Cook the chicken on a medium-hot outdoor grill until firm and no longer pink, about 6 minutes per side. Or cook indoors under a hot, preheated broiler with the oven rack 6 inches from the heat source, about 6 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes, then slice into bite-sized chunks. Note: If using previously cooked chicken, skip to the next step.
  • Add the chicken to the bowl. Drizzle about half the dressing over and toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more dressing, salt, pepper or chili if you like.
  • Spread a tablespoon of yogurt on each serving bowl or plate. Serve the salad over the yogurt with the pita on the side.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • To make this a vegetarian salad, omit the chicken and use chickpeas instead – try the crunchy roasted chickpeas in this recipe, using 2 teaspoons of the Shawarma rub.
  • The spice rub recipe makes a little more than you’ll need to make the salad. Store in a covered jar.

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 607mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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4 Comments

  1. I made this last night for dinner after seeing the recipe on the La Boite site. WOW! It was so flavorful and amazing. A definite do-over. Thanks.