Friends, I’m pretty geeked about this one. Hot, grilled chicken, a sweet sun dried tomato romesco, and soft, warm homemade pita. YUM.
When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, we Mid-Michiganders are a little bit spoiled. Detroit possesses a very large population of Arab people who have opened groceries and restaurants that boast some of the best and most diverse Mideast inspired foods.
The Arab-American population is made up of people from 22 different countries. Consequently, no two restaurants are the same. My favorite joint serves hot chicken shawarma right off a rotating spit in the middle of the kitchen. Chicken thighs get stacked on top of one another and roasted while the juice runs down the spit and keeps the chicken moist and delicious.
Chicken shawarma served with a side of hummus and rice or loaded on top of a fresh tabouli salad is good, but my favorite way to enjoy it is wrapped in a soft pita with plenty of grilled veggies.
I did my best to replicate the rich, juicy taste that authentic chicken shawarma offers with a rotating spit. The marinade delivers incredible flavor and renders the chicken breast tender, even when cooked on a grill.
Yes, there are a lot of parts in this recipe, but it is so worth it. The romesco can get made a day in advance and the veggies can also get chopped ahead of time. You totally don’t have to make homemade pita, either. Although I would encourage you to give it a try sometime because homemade bread of any kind is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Time for a confession. This pita was actually made from pizza dough. This Jim Lahey pizza dough, to be exact. We had 1 round from this recipe in our freezer that needed to get cooked and I had a hankering for a pita sandwich. This worked well and I would highly recommend it if it’s what you have on hand. If you’re working from scratch, this recipe looks incredible.
Give this recipe a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Chicken Shawarma Pita with Sun Dried Tomato Romesco
For the Chicken Marinade
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced in half
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Garlic
- 1 Tsp Salt
- Pinch of Cinnamon
For the Romesco
- 1/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, (you can dried or drain the kind packed in oil)
- 1/4 Cup Walnuts
- 1 Jarred Roasted Red Pepper
For the Grilled Vegetables
- 2 Medium Zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 Eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Pepper
For the Sandwiches
- 4 Pita Rounds
- Collard green or Kale leaves
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a large bowl. Place the chicken in the marinade and make sure the chicken is submerged before covering and placing in the fridge. Allow the chicken to marinade for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
To make the romesco, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined, but still chunky. The romesco can be made a day or two in advance.
When you’re ready to cook everything, preheat the grill to medium or set a grill pan or large skillet over medium heat. Place the zucchini and eggplant in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add the seasoning and toss to combine making sure every piece is coated in the oil and spice mixture.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and place on the heat, cooking for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and cover with foil for at least 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, add the vegetables to the grill and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 2-3 minutes per side. This may need to be batches depending on how big your cooking space is.
Assemble your pita by layering your kale or collard green leaves, vegetables, and chicken on the pita bread. Slather with romesco sauce, serve, and enjoy!