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Chicken Shawarma Nachos

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.

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chicken shawarma nachos shown next to a bowl of tahini sauce and Mediterranean salsa

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 with tortilla chips and tahini and feta

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!

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Chicken Shawarma Nachos

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 420

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup finely diced white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • ¾ cup diced English cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 (15-ounce) bag tortilla chips
  • 6-8 ounces fresh feta cheese
  • ½ cup Peppadew peppers, drained and roughly chopped

Tahini Sauce

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Method

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, paprika, cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss until coated all over.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position. Line a large rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the Roma tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, cucumber, Peppadews, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.

  4. Arrange chicken on the prepared sheet pan and baker for about 18-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and discard the parchment paper. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing, or cutting into bite size pieces.

  5. Arrange a single layer of chips on the sheet pan, add ⅓ of the chicken and ⅓ of the feta. Repeat with remaining chips, chicken and feta. Bake in the oven until the cheese and chicken are warmed through, about 10 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, ½ cup water, and salt until smooth. Note: The tahini sauce ingredients might look like they are separating before coming together, continue whisking until smooth.

  7. Top the nachos with the tomato mixture and the peppadews. Drizzle with the tahini sauce. Serve warm.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories420
  • Protein27 g
  • Carbohydrates36 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol58 mg
  • sodium715 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Chicken Shawarma Nachos

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Heidi

    At what point do you cut up the chicken?

    After baking it in the oven. Hope you enjoy Heidi!

  • Sarah

    This recipe was fantastic! I added mozzarella to the layers and used hummus instead of the tahini glaze. So good! My whole family gobbled them up.

    Thanks Sarah, so glad you enjoyed them!

  • Laura

    I LOVED this!! The flavors are phenomenal. My husband thought it was a little dry, but it was great. We don't love feta so I substituted mozzarella. We may try white queso next time so it's nice and moist. But regardless I will definitely repeat this recipe!

    Thank you Laura, we are so happy you enjoyed it and will be making it again!

  • Jenn

    These were so different from the typical meals I make but were such a hit, absolutely delicious! I'm so glad I tried them!

    Thank you Jenn, we are so glad you loved it!