Chicken Cauliflower Shawarma

Confession: I didn’t make a yogurt sauce for this. Would it have made it better? Probably. Yogurt is the one dairy product I’m still trying to avoid on a regular basis, so I went without. I still had plenty of good things to say about this without it to the point I’d totally make it again. It also introduced me to this Arabic flatbread [aka, pita] that New Seasons has in the freezer section. It easily thaws and toasts up so I can actually have bread on hand on a semi-regular basis and it won’t go bad. Novel!

The spice mixture for this recipe is killer. I almost went to the trouble effort to grind the whole ones, but I figured that the ground stuff I have isn’t getting any younger. It’s better to use it up while you can. I want to roast all kinds of vegetables in the mixture. It’s so deliciously smoky┬ábut in a spicy way, not actual smoke. The onions get caramelized. The cauliflower soaks up some of the chicken drippings. It’s just good.

Inspiration: Food52


  • 2 1/2lb head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced into half moons
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2lb chicken thighs [boneless and skinless]
  • lemon wedges, parsley, yogurt sauce, naan for serving


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle [I was shocked that mine wasn’t. When did that happen?]. Rub a sheet pan in oil or line it with aluminum foil. Spread the cauliflower and onion on top of the pan. Drizzle with three tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle half of the mixture on top of the vegetables. Use your hands to mix it all together so all of the pieces are evenly coated in the oil and spice mixture. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs with a teaspoon of salt, the remaining spice mixture, the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, and the garlic. Set aside until needed.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and turn the pieces over. Nestle the chicken pieces in with the vegetables. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into similar sized pieces to the cauliflower. Toss together with the parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with naan and yogurt sauce, if desired.



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