Jeremiah and I are determined to emerge from this quarantine stronger and healthier, and that means a regular rotation of big salads with a variety of colors and flavors to pack in the nutrients. To be honest, this isn’t too far of a departure from how we normally eat. We try to keep things lean and green! This chicken shawarma salad with tahini vinaigrette is quickly becoming one of our favorites. It is extremely satisfying and chocked full of colorful veggies.
Before I get too far into the recipe, can we talk about chicken thighs for a second? I am usually a white meat only kinda gal but I have a new found love for dark meat. Chicken thighs are higher in fat, but they are also WAY higher in flavor! They absorb marinades extremely well and cook up easily and quickly. The tender chicken thigh meat lends itself beautifully to this chicken shawarma salad.
The chicken is marinated in zesty Mediterranean spices, lemon juice, and avocado oil (my preferred oil for cooking). I like to marinate it overnight, but it only needs a few hours to absorb those delicious spices. It only takes about 30 minutes to cook in the oven, so while the chicken is cooking, I like to prepare the salads and dressing.
Using a base of your favorite greens (I went with chopped romaine and arugula here), you can build out the salad with your favorite toppings. We went with baby heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, shallot, marinated artichoke hearts, and pepperoncinis, with a sprinkling of crispy curry flavored chickpeas for some extra crunch.
The tahini vinaigrette is the perfect addition the already epic flavors of this chicken shawarma salad. The secret ingredient in the dressing is the champagne vinegar. It adds a bright acidity that compliments the lemon juice and balances out the creaminess from the tahini. If you don’t have champagne vinegar, I have also used red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar before and both work as fine substitutions.
Once the chicken is done cooking and the salads are built, drizzle on that dressing and then comes the best part – EATING! This recipe reminds me that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, so I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!Print
A fresh and healthy chicken shawarma salad with a tangy tahini vinaigrette. The perfect dinner salad full of fresh vegetables, herbs, and zesty Mediterranean spices.
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 Tbsp fresh crushed garlic
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
FOR THE SALAD
- approximately 8 cups chopped fresh romaine lettuce
- approximately 4 cups fresh arugula
- ½ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley leaves
- ¼ cup fresh chopped chives
- suggested/optional toppings
- crispy curry chickpeas
- mini heirloom tomatoes
- chopped cucumber
- fresh or roasted red pepper
- marinated artichoke hearts
- pepperoncini peppers
- kalamata olives
- crumbled feta cheese
- finely sliced shallot or red onion
FOR THE TAHINI VINAIGRETTE
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- You may need ¼ cup of water to help thin out the dressing depending on the thickness of your tahini
- To make the chicken marinade – Use a glass measuring cup and add the lemon juice, avocado oil, turmeric, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken thighs into a gallon-size Ziplock bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and gently toss to coat. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, and up to overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.
- Arrange the chicken thighs in a rimmed baking dish. Pour any excess marinade over the chicken, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad. Layer the lettuces, fresh herbs, and your desired toppings.
- To make the dressing – add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper into your blender or food processor. Blend until emulsified. Depending on desired consistency, add ¼ cup of water and blend. Add additional water 1 Tbsp at a time as needed.
- Top your prepared salads with the sliced chicken, and drizzle with the tahini vinaigrette before serving.
Refrigerate leftover dressing in an airtight container for up to 1 week.