This Chicken Shawarma is juicy, savoury, and extremely satisfying. Very little effort make this recipe ideally suited for a weeknight meal. The flavour is warm and bright and delicious! Scroll down for my review of The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen Cookbook by Samantha Ferraro.
I was provided a copy of the cookbook for a review by Page Street Publishing. All the delicious opinions are my own.
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I don’t review cookbooks too often. Mostly because my obsession with cookbooks stopped a few years ago.
When I was just starting my culinary journey, I could spend hours and hundreds of dollars in a bookstore. Browsing and buying cookbooks.
I would spend long evenings leafing through my cookbooks. It was almost a ritual, sitting on the weekends and reading the recipes.
Then the Internet and Pinterest happened. Actually, even then I was still looking at the cookbooks. It was the popularity of smart phones and apps and instantaneous access to the magical wide web that made me stop obsessing about cookbooks.
And yet, I still can’t walk by a shelf of cookbooks without flipping through them. It’s just now I stopped buying all the cookbooks I see and I am very particular about what I want to have on my bookshelf.
Read my other cookbook reviews:
- Coconut Lemon Bars and Simply Citrus Cookbook Review
- Bumbleberry Pancakes and Bringing It Home Cookbook Review
The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen Cookbook by Samantha Ferraro, founder of The Little Ferraro Kitchen, is exactly the cookbook I want to have on my shelf. No, not even on my shelf, I want it on my kitchen counter or kitchen table just so that I can keep it close by and cook from it again and again.
Samantha and I met on Facebook in the summer 2017 just as I was starting to work on my cookbook, The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook. She asked a question on a photography forum that was so specific that it made me suspect that she was also working on a cookbook with the same publisher.
I sent her a message, she responded, and we’ve talked all through our respective creative processes, writing, recipe developing, photographing, and publishing of our cookbooks. And right when Samantha started showing her behind the scenes photo shoots on her instagram account, I knew that I wanted to have her cookbook in my possession.
The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen
The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen is a collection of 80 recipes, all of them are bright and flavourful and very accessible. The cookbook starts with a section on Mediterranean staples like Pomegranate Molasses and Tahini and then proceeds to describe a lot of spices and their uses.
Although, I am familiar with Mediterranean flavours, I actually very rarely cook that way at home, so it was fascinating and educational to read about the spices. I had to go and purchase many of them as I didn’t have them in my pantry. I am pretty sure I’m going to buy more of them as I will, no doubt, be cooking more from this cookbook.
About The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen Cookbook
The cookbook has six chapters:
- Appetizers and mezze – Fast and fresh light fare
- The main meal – Easy and vibrant mediterranean dinners
- Soups and salads – Flavorful one-pot meal
- Vegetables, grains and pulses – Effortlessly healthy and wholesome eats
- Sauces, dips and spreads – Aromatic condiments to enhance any dish
- Sweets and sips – Light and fruity treats to satisfy your sweet tooth
I am looking forward to trying many of the recipes, notable:
- Baked Feta Two Ways (page 22)
- One-Pot Paprika Chicken with Olives and Orzo (page 49)
- Turkish Lentil Soup (page 77)
- Baked Orzo with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Halloumi (page 115)
- Persian Style Eggplant and Yogurt Dip (page 156)
- Mini Fig Tarts with Pomegranate Molasses (page 178)
It took a while to decide what to make from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen cookbook. Every photo is so vivid and mouthwatering that I wanted to grab a spoon and dig in. Finally, I narrowed it down to Everyday Chicken Shawarma (page 62) which I served with Spiced Baked Pita Chips (page 42). And since the pita chips required some za’atar, I followed the recipe in the spice section of the cookbook (page 15).
I’ve never made my own za’atar blend and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to create and how versatile it would be in the kitchen. I’ve had sumac at restaurants but never cooked with it before. I loved the sour tang of the spice in za’atar. So wonderfully refreshing.
We make our own baked pita chips at home all the time but I usually just bake the pita plain. Samatha’s recipe for Spiced Baked Pita Chips was a great way to elevate them. Made with za’atar, garlic powder, and cumit, the pita chips are crunchy and savoury, and, oh, so addictive!
How to make Chicken Shawarma
Everyday Chicken Shawarma was absolutely amazing. The chicken was juicy and the spices were warming, savoury, and extremely satisfying. It’s amazing how a recipe that requires so little effort could pack so much punch and flavour in every bite.
This recipe appealed to me since it didn’t require any grilling or stove-top pan-frying. Just as the concept of my cookbook, The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook, suggests, I love cooking in the oven and this Chicken Shawarma is baked in the oven as most of my favourite dishes.
The recipe starts out with a delicious marinade. Chicken thighs are then covered in the marinade and left alone for a little while. Later on, you just bake, slice, and serve!
So, the steps are actually minimal and surprisingly simple:
- Make a delicious marinade, just combine the spices, chopped garlic, lemon juice, and oil.
- Add the chicken to the marinade, mix around and let marinade in the fridge.
- Transfer everything to a baking sheet and bake.
It’s so easy! All you need to do is make the marinade!
Chicken Shawarma Marinade
Marinade for this Chicken Shawarma recipe is incredible. It’s full of bright and flavourful spices: sumac, pepper flakes, allspice, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon.
That tiny addition of cinnamon really brought the flavours to another level. It’s so subtle but it made the Chicken Shawarma so wonderfully spiced.
The spices are mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lots of chopped garlic. It’s really easy to make and the result is magical.
I have to warn you, the marinade for Chicken Shawarma smells heavenly! You just want to eat it with a spoon! I am sure it can be used on many other meats and proteins. I can even imagine some delicious eggplant roasted with that sauce. It’s just fantastic!
Ingredients for the Chicken Shawarma Marinade
- olive oil
- lemon juice and lemon zest
- chili pepper flakes
It sounds like a lot of ingredients but the marinade comes together in just a couple of minutes.
TIP: I used good quality jarred chopped garlic and it saved me time. Very convenient!
Everyday Chicken Shawarma
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced (I only used 1 lemon, see note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (I used regular chili flakes)
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and all the spices. Mix well to create a delicious marinade.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and mix well to coat the chicken on all sides.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or preferably longer.
- Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan large enough to hold all the chicken in one layer. You can line the sheet pan with foil for easier cleanup.
- Make sure to drizzle all the marinade from the bowl over the chicken.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature is at least 165F.
- Optionally, turn up the oven temperature to 425F and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes for extra crispy edges.
- Serve with pita, hummus, fresh cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, and lemon wedges.
- I used jarred chopped garlic just because I didn't have fresh garlic at home.
- I only used one lemon for the juice and zest instead of two. I love citrus flavour but I felt that one lemon would be enough for me and it was perfect!
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