Go Back
+ servings
overhead shot of chicken shawarma salad with tahini dressing in top left corner

Chicken Shawarma Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Chicken Shawarma Salad is the low carb version of chicken shawarma with Middle Eastern spiced chicken, marinated onions and a zesty garlic tahini dressing! This salad is gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free.

Leave a Review »


  • 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac or replace with 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups assorted greens
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cucumber

Garlic tahini dressing:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini sesame paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions sliced

Marinated red onions:

  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano


Prepare the salad:

  • Place the chicken in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle both sides with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, smoked paprika, sumac, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon. Add the garlic and mix well to make a paste. Add the lemon zest and stir well. Add the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time while stirring constantly, then add the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, then flip and pour the remaining marinade over the other side. Rub the marinade into the chicken until well coated on all sides, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 48 hours.
  • When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
  • Arrange the chicken on a large baking sheet in one layer and roast until golden brown and cooked through, 30 minutes for boneless thighs or 35-40 minutes for bone-in.
  • When cool enough to handle, debone the chicken and cut into 4 pieces.
  • Arrange the greens on a platter or 4 plates and top with the chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and enjoy!

Prepare the tahini dressing:

  • In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup water, the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar until combined well. Set aside.
  • On a cutting board, use the side of a knife to mash the garlic cloves. When they become juicy, add the salt and mash it with the garlic until combined and broken down into a paste.
  • Add the mashed garlic to the bowl with the tahini mixture and stir until combined. Transfer to a food processor and add the cilantro and scallions. Process until smooth, then adjust the seasoning as necessary. If the dressing seems too thick, add more water as desired.

Prepare the marinated red onions:

  • Place the onions in a shallow bowl.
  • Measure the olive oil in a glass measuring cup. Add the vinegar and oregano and mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the onions and press the onions down until submerged in the oil.
  • Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours before serving. Do not refrigerate! The oil itself may be refrigerated and used after the onions are gone.


  • Recipe adapted Teri Turner's cookbook No Crumbs Left.
  • I used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe.  I prefer them to chicken breast as the skin becomes extremely crispy in the oven, and the bone adds flavor and keeps the meat juicy. 
  • Pro tip: if the skin on the chicken is not crispy after roasting, remove it from the oven, baste the chicken with pan juices, and drain the remaining fat and juices from the pan.  Broil for 2-4 minutes until browned and crispy.
  • You may substitute skinless boneless chicken thighs to make this recipe lower fat.  If you opt to use chicken breast, I recommend bone-in to avoid over cooking.  Keep in mind that cooking times will vary when using a different cut of meat.
  • The marinated red onions will keep covered at room temperature for 3 days.
  • Make the dressing in advance, and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 880kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 80g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 65g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 1627mg, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 7g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!