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Chicken Shawarma Nachos

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Calories: 435
chicken shawarma nachos shown next to a bowl of tahini sauce and Mediterranean salsa

There’s nothing traditional about our chicken shawarma nachos—the meat isn’t cooked on a rotisserie, and is served over corn chips—but sometimes tradition has to scoot over to make room for fun.

Chicken Shawarma Nachos, Or, How To Get Your Kids To Eat Something That’s Not Buttered Noodles.

We love the flavors of shawarma so much we just had to try to replicate it at home. Our chicken shawarma recipe honors the big, bold, generous spices, and crispy edges that define the dish, without requiring you to go out and buy a vertical rotisserie (clearly, none of us are doing that). And, since we were already taking some creative liberties, we decided to just go way out on a limb and serve the juicy, spiced chicken shawarma over crisp feta-topped corn chips instead of pita and call it “nachos” so our kids might actually try it. Turns out, chicken shawarma and nachos are totally MFEO.

chicken shawarma nachos shown on a sheet pan

What Is Chicken Shawarma?

You might know shawarma by one of its other names—maybe doner kebab, or gyro? All three of these terms refer to meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, and specifically refer to the actual rotation of the meat as it cooks. Both “doner” and “shawarma” are derived from Turkish words that have to do with “turning” and “gyro” comes from the Greek word for “circle”. The meat—usually lamb, chicken or beef—is shaved off the spinning rotisserie into pita bread, and served with creamy tahini sauce and some veggies. And—like so many beloved street foods—it is really, really good.

Ingredients for chicken shawarma nachos shown in small bowls

What’s In Chicken Shawarma Nachos?

It helps to think of this one recipe as a few different ones that come together right at the end. First, you’ll get the chicken marinating, then you’ll tackle the salsa and the tahini sauce.

For the chicken shawarma, you’ll need some ingredients for a heavily-spiced yogurt marinade:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Turmeric
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt

For the Mediterranean salsa, think fresh, juicy, crunchy:

  • Roma tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Cucumber
  • Peppadew peppers
  • Lemon juice
yogurt, tumeric, cinnamon and cardamom for shawarma marinade
Chicken Shawarma Nachos 6

Let’s Talk For A Minute About Marinating Chicken in Yogurt

We’ve shared recipes before that call for a yogurt marinade for chicken, but we’ve never explained why these creamy marinades work so well (and it occurs to us that it might even seem a bit odd to some people). So! Let’s talk about yogurt marinades! In this chicken marinade, the Greek yogurt does a few things. Marinades always have an acidic component, to tenderize and break down meat, and the lactic acid in yogurt is the acid in this marinade. Lactic acid is gentler than other acids that are usually used in marinades—think vinegar or citrus juice—and so it tenderizes the meat more slowly and gently. That’s a great thing! Especially when it comes to chicken, which doesn’t need much help to be tender and juicy. Using yogurt also means that this marinade is forgiving—it won’t hurt to leave your chicken in the marinade for longer than called for (but be sure to leave it in for at least an hour, to let the yogurt work its magic.) Lastly, the yogurt helps to build a crispy, almost caramelized crust on the chicken, which mimics the rotisserie-crust of classic chicken shawarma.

sheet pan topped with corn chips and grilled shawarma chicken
sheet pan of roasted shawarma chicken, and feta cheese over corn chips
sheet pan of shawarma nachos
chicken shawarma nachos on a sheet pan topped with pepadews, cucumber, fresh parsley and lemon juice

How To Make Chicken Shawarma Nachos:

This recipe is admittedly a little fussy for a weeknight. There are multiple components—the chicken shawarma, the Mediterranean salsa, and the tahini sauce—and you’ll need at least an hour to marinate the chicken. But! It’s a very fun party nibble, or Friday night dinner-and-a-movie treat. Also, it’s delicious, so it’s worth the extra effort. Here’s how to make chicken shawarma nachos:

  1. Marinate the chicken! Swirl together the spices and yogurt, and pop the chicken into the spicy bath. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, but longer is fine.
  2. Whip up the Mediterranean salsa. This is mostly a job for your knife—chop everything up, and toss together with salt and lemon juice until it tastes just right.
  3. Bake the chicken! It’ll take about 25 minutes.
  4. Make the tahini sauce.
  5. When the sauces are made and the chicken shawarma is baked, it’s time to assemble your nachos! Layer the ingredients on a large baking sheet: corn chips, chicken slices, feta cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of chicken and feta. Bake! Just until the cheese is soft—about 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the whole thing with tahini sauce and dollops of salsa and dig in!
chicken shawarma nachos shown next to a bowl of tahini sauce and Mediterranean salsa
chicken shawarma nachos

Tools You’ll Need:

Spice Up Your Life. Start By Spicing Up Your Chicken!

Did that work? Isn’t it true that even a mediocre Spice Girls reference is better than none at all? Anyway, a chicken dinner doesn’t have to be boring! Spice things up with these deliciously spiced, easy chicken recipes:

Nacho Typical Nachos!

If you can’t squeeze in a nacho joke, why even share a nacho recipe? Anyway, if you try these, let us know! Snap a photo of your chicken shawarma nachos and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see. Happy eating!

Chicken Shawarma Nachos

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Calories: 435

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Boneless skinless breasts
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt, divided
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup Small white onion, finely diced
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Parsley, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup Peppadew pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp Lemon juice
  • Corn chips
  • 6-8 oz Fresh feta cheese

Sesame Tahini Sauce

  • 1 cup Tahini
  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Salt

Method

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, paprika, cumin and 1/2 tsp of salt. In a flat dish pour the marinade over the chicken and spread around until the chicken is completely coated on all sides.
  2. While the chicken is marinating stir together roma tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, cucumber, peppadew, lemon juice and salt in a medium sized bowl. Adjust the salt to desired taste. Allow to rest for at least an hour so flavors can combine.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. Arrange chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake on center rack for 25 minutes.
  5. While chicken is cooking prepare tahini sauce.
  6. Preheat oven to 400° F. On a large baking sheet lay a single layer of chips, add chicken then a small handful of feta. Repeat the layering process until ingredients are used up. Move the skillet to the top rack of the oven and cook until the cheese turns golden, 10-15 minutes. Check frequently to make sure it doesn’t get burnt.
  7. While still hot, top with a generous scoop of mediterranean salsa, pepadews and a drizzle of tahini sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!