Chicken Shawarma Salad

Knowing that, after the wedding, we would be having a lot of family and friends staying with us and touring about, I tried to come up with some healthy lunch alternatives to packing sandwiches on the go. I thought about those salads in jars. Never had one. And how DOES one really eat it? Apparently, you do still have to dump them out onto a plate, which was fine. But it seemed like a simpler solution could be found. And what sort of salad(s) did I want to make?

First, I quickly ditched the jar idea. Then my mind hopped to packing them in Chinese take-out boxes, but my local source didn't have any of a reasonable size for an entree-size salad. Then I found these great, leak-proof, cardboard boxes (available from Amazon here...not getting paid for this, just want you to be able to find them, if you want them). They were PERFECT! Just the right size. And I used Jell-O shot cups with lids (sourced locally) to contain the dressing. Now that all the necessary storage pieces were decided upon, it was time to brainstorm salad recipes and try some out.

Hands-down my FAVORITE is Chicken Shawarma Salad. The inspiration for it, and the chicken portion of the recipe came from here. But I didn't want a wrap, I wanted a salad, so I deconstructed it and altered things quite a bit. Simple. Fresh. Delicious. Enjoy!


1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 c. olive oil
2 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. plain yogurt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. turmeric

1 c. pearl couscous
1 1/2 c. water
2 T. olive oil
1 T. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

salad greens (field greens, OR red and green leaf)
chopped cucumber
jar of roasted red bell pepper strips
shredded carrot (I just peel mine in big ribbons with a vegetable peeler)
heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
red onion, thinly sliced
feta cheese crumbles
roasted red pepper hummus
lemon wedges
a creamy, bottled, Greek salad dressing (I used the Food Network Kitchen's Feta Herb Dressing)

Rinse chicken breasts and place in a Ziploc bag. Mix all marinade ingredients. Pour over chicken breasts, seal bag, and let marinate several hours or overnight. 
Grill chicken. Cool slightly. Cube chicken. (Can be frozen ahead and thawed for salad assembly, if you so desire.)

For couscous:
Bring water to a boil. Add couscous, reduce heat to simmer. Cover with lid and simmer 8-10 mins. When all water is evaporated, turn off heat and allow to cool. Dress with olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salads, giving a good stir when ready.

Assemble all salads by placing several big handfuls of salad greens on a plate or in a to-go box, and top with all the other ingredients. Serve with a wedge of lemon and dressing. (Don't forget the lemon, as it just brightens up the whole salad without adding any lemon taste!)

Makes about 6 salads.

Note: If you pack this in the cardboard take-out boxes, as we did for a crowd, they will take up quite a bit of space in a cooler. We got around the necessity of taking a huge color, by simply taking three small coolers when we packed lunch for 13 people.


  1. That looks delicious! What a great idea! Any thoughts on how best to cook the chicken without a grill? Sear it in a skillet, maybe?


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