Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers and Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers Recipe via Worthy Pause

If you have the ability to make real-deal shawarma at your house, invite me over ASAP.

Shawarma isn't something one just whips up at home. This Middle Eastern street food is stacked on a vertical rotisserie spit, gyro-style. And it's cooked with lots of fat and spices — spinning and spinning for, like, basically days.

(Oh, and if any vertical spit companies are reading this, I wish I had a vertical spit in my house. Just saying.)

Anyway, here we all are, vertical spit-less and craving shawarma because I can't shut up about it. Here's what to do instead: buy some chicken, open your spice drawer and make this. 

P.S. My friend Leigh texted me after she made this recipe to tell me that her 5-year-old Jack called it "dessert chicken," because it was so good. And then my heart melted out of my body and now I'm dead.

Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers Recipe via Worthy Pause

Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers & Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce

gluten-free (paleo, whole30 without the sauce)| serves 3-4

Shawarma Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • olive oil
  • 2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • optional: a sprinkle of sumac

Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups Greek yogurt
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from 1/4 of the lemon
  • a bit of chopped cilantro
  • a bit of chopped green onion


  1. Place your chicken breasts between pieces of saran wrap and pound them flat (~1.5-inches thick). I don't have a meat mallet, so I used the bottom of a heavy olive oil bottle. It's both classy and risky. 
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  3. Mix up the spices and sprinkle them all over the chicken, rub it in, wash your hands, etc.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a large pan on medium-high. Once it's hot, carefully set the chicken in there (use two pans if they don't fit in one).
  5. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip and add the red peppers to the pan. Cook for another ~5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. The peppers will be hot, but not limp.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, mix up the yogurt sauce.
  7. Sprinkle on some sumac and eat.


  • Sumac, if you're unaware, is a really amazing red seasoning that tastes bright and sort of lemony. You can find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. I put it on everything, but it is especially good on Iranian kebabs made by my father-in-law.
  • This would be great with some cauliflower rice, methinks. Or fries. All shawarma should be served with fries, really.
  • As an alternative to the yogurt sauce if you're avoiding dairy, you could also blend some herbs and lemon with mayo and make an herb sauce.