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Chicken Shawarma Pita Sandwiches

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I don’t know what to tell you except that these are great and if you like Mediterranean foods, you need to make them! :)  I’ve discovered that no two chicken shawarma recipes are the same, and this one seems very different from all the others I’ve seen.  So I don’t know how typical or traditional this particular recipe is, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The chicken has a unique and potent marinade that includes plenty of acids to tenderize the meat.  I love the combination of the flavorful meat with fresh vegetables and the tahini sauce wrapped in pita bread.  I’ve been making these sandwiches for several months now and only had to tweak the recipe a little to suit my preference.  I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Shawarma Pita Sandwiches

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Chicken
2 teaspoons fenugreek
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar

Sandwiches
Pita bread
Shredded lettuce
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Red onion slices

The night before, combine spices for chicken in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and shake to combine. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic, and massage the bag to combine. Add chicken, seal, and massage the marinade around (will be thick like a paste) until all the chicken pieces are coated. Refrigerate overnight. You can also prepare the tahini sauce the night before by whisking all the ingredients together and storing in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve the sandwiches.

Grill the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center. To serve sandwiches, fill pita bread with lettuce, chicken, tomato, cucumber, and onion, and top with tahini sauce.

Recipe source: adapted from Food o’ del Mundo

Mediterranean Tacos

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My best good friend, Jackie, calls these her “Hook the Guy Pitas” because she gives them partial credit for hooking her own man when she came up with them on the fly using ingredients she had on hand when they were first dating.

Well, that may have worked for her (they’re still going strong more than ten years and four children later!), but mine could care less about anything that isn’t steak or spaghetti.  He’ll eat them, but I’m the one who got hooked on the pitas!  Without ever having tasted hers, I started making them in January after she shared her recipe with me, but she made sure to make them for us while we were visiting them in Texas, bless her heart.   Have you ever noticed how food prepared by someone else, especially someone you love, always tastes better, even if they made the same exact recipe that you did?

This is a pretty quick meal to throw together, and if you enjoy foods with a Middle-Eastern flare, I think you’ll like them too!

Mediterranean Tacos

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Printable recipe with picture

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Mediterranean seasoning to taste*
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 diced tomato
1 cup hummus
1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
Creamy Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
1 package pita pockets or flat bread

Brown the hamburger with the onion over medium heat. When it is mostly cooked, add in the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning, and continue cooking until the veggies have softened but not completely died a cooking death. Stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. It will wilt a little while you prepare the pitas. Spread hummus on the inside of the pitas, then fill with meat mixture and top with tomato, feta and serve with creamy dill sauce.

Creamy dill sauce: 1/2 cup light miracle whip, 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk, 1 tsp dried dill, 2 tsp dried chives, 1 tsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix until blended–best if made in advance and refrigerated so the flavors can develop. If you use mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip, add in some sugar to cut the sourness.

Makes 8 tacos

Per taco (using half a whole wheat pita pocket): 292 calories; 12 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 20 g protein; 8 Points Plus

*I use 2 tablespoons of McCormicks Mediterranean Herb seasoning; Jaci uses 1/2 tablespoon Cavender’s.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Jackie H.

Danielle (my sister), Jaci, and I at a marsh in TX.



Restaurant-Style Tabouli

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Hummus and tabouli are my favorite sides to serve with Lebanese fare.  Not only are they simple to make, but crazy delicious!  My Mom’s tabouli consists predominantly of bulgar wheat, and most recipes I’ve found are the same, but I noticed when I ordered it at restaurants, it was mostly parsley with a tiny bit of bulgar in it.  Not only is this lower in calories (bonus!), but I actually prefer the taste.    The parsley and lemon make for a very refreshing salad!  Here’s my version of restaurant-style tabouli.

Restaurant-Style Tabouli

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with link

3 bunches parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fine bulgar wheat
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let sit overnight before serving.  There is no need to cook the bulgar, as it will absorb moisture from the salad and become tender in a few hours.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 76 calories; 3 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 3.5 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

I used red onions in the first picture, and white onions in this one. You can also use green onions, if you prefer.

On a personal note: I’m leaving to visit friends in Texas so this is the last recipe I’ll be posting for a while.  I know I’m not a regular poster anyway, so you guys won’t even miss me!  Nevertheless, I will return later next week with some sweets & savories for you. You’re in for a few treats! :)

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