Our Allergen Friendly Lebanese Chicken Shawarma recipe is free from all top 9 allergens and packs in all the flavour you crave. Treat yourself to a taste of the Middle East with this quick and easy-to-make recipe. With juicy marinated chicken this recipe is the perfect balance of healthy and delicious.
- Why We Love This Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- Allergen Friendly Chicken Shawarma Ingredients
- The Ingredient Low Down
- How to Make This Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- Like This Recipe? Sign up to our Newsletter so you never miss a recipe.
- Variations /Adaptations
- Equipment Needed for Making This Allergen Friendly Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- Storage Instructions
- How to Send Dairy Free Chicken Shawarma as Leftovers for Lunch
- Top Tip
- What To Serve With
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- Have You Made Our Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe? Please Leave a Comment Below.
- Rate our Recipe.
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Why We Love This Chicken Shawarma Recipe
We love to travel and explore the cuisines of other cultures. This is something we did a lot before the kids developed allergies and EoE. Since it has been a bit more complicated for us to do this the way we used to, we have learned to bring those flavours home.
Shawarma is one of our favourite Lebanese foods. It can be eaten in a wrap as a sandwich on the go ro in a chicken shawarma plate with rice, potatoes, stuffed vine leaves and salads. It can be cooked as a kebab for the summer barbecues.
If you were to walk into a Lebanese restaurant the shawarma marinated chicken breasts would be pounded thin and stacked tightly one on top of the last piece of chicken. It is heated by a side grill and the spit is on an auto rotating device. The shawarma is then carved off the spit when fully cooked.
Our recipe takes all that flavour but makes it top allergen friendly. We were inspired by several food posts by a home cook in a now defunct foodie group to learn how easy it is to make this at home. We experimented with the flavours and created this super easy and fast dinner recipe. Marinated chicken and a tangy sauce come together to create the ultimate allergy-friendly meal. Don't miss out on this tasty and safe recipe!
Allergen Friendly Chicken Shawarma Ingredients
- Cardamom Pods
- Smoked Paprika
- Ground Cumin
- Ground Coriander
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Allspice
- Ground Thyme
- Sea Salt
- Ground Pepper
- Oat or Coconut based Plain Dairy Free Yoghurt, Gluten Free
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Chicken Breast
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
We use a bit of a blend of spices that include thyme and paprika. It can be substituted with Lebanese 7 spice (Baharat) which doesn’t have salt, paprika, or thyme but instead includes nutmeg, cloves instead.
Always check with spice manufacturers about the suitability of their products for you. There can be a risk of cross contact in the manufacturing and packaging or spices.
Plain Dairy Free Yoghurt
We use either a gluten free oat based yoghurt or a coconut one when we make this recipe. Those are what are safe for us. Other kinds of plant based wheat free yoghurt can be used. Make sure it is plain and not vanilla or other flavoured yoghurt. Using plant based yoghurt is what make this a dairy free chicken shawarma recipe.
If plant based yoghurt is not safe for you check out the substitutions section.
We prefer to get the full flavour from fresh garlic. It is part of what gives this marinade its kick. We do not recommend using garlic powder or granules.
Most Lebanese dishes use olive oil and its grassy notes to help bring out more flavour in the dish. If it is not safe for you a neutral oil can be used in place of it, just make sure its smoke point for cooking is higher than olive oil.
Lemon Zest and Juice
If you follow our recipes you probably have heard me say this a lot: we use fresh lemons for juice. Our theory is the fewer ingredients from source to dinner the better. The lemon juice in bottles is fine to substitute as long as it is safe for your family. You can always juice and zest a bag of lemons then freeze the juice in tablespoon sized ice cubes. Store the zest in an airtight container or bag in the freezer to always have some on hand.
Tip: Zest the lemon, then juice it. It is tougher to juice it first then zest it. Make sure to really wash the lemons well and remove any wax that the producers may have coated the outsides with. Those with soy and other allergies may need to make sure the lemons they use for zest are not coated with soy based wax. Zest can be omitted, if needed, it will have less of a citrusy punch.
We prefer to use chicken breasts that are boneless and skinless for this gluten free chicken shawarma recipe. We pound the breasts thin so they cool quickly but if you have more time to spare or aren’t a fan of tenderising meat the breasts can be left larger. They will need more cooking time however to ensure they reach a food safe internal temperature.
How to Make This Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe
To prep the spices:
In a mortar and pestle, place the cardamom pods in the mortar bowl. Tap the pods with the pestle to crack the pods but not crush the seeds inside. Dump the mortar contents into the palm of your hand and with your nails pull the dried pods off the seeds. You can compost the shell. Keep the seeds and put them back in the mortar bowl. When all the seeds are separated from the pod use the pestle and grind the seeds into a fine powder.
Add the ground cardamom seeds to a small glass bowl. You can use the mortar bowl if you want to use less dishes.
Measure the rest of the spices into the same small glass bowl as the ground cardamom. Mix well.
Preheat a small pan over medium high heat on the stove. When heated add the dried ground spices from the small glass bowl. Stir the spices often. Heat them for about 1-2 minutes or until the smell gets stronger. Dry roasting the spices in a pan brings out the best flavour of the dried spices. You do not want to use any oil, instead use a dry pan. Stirring constantly will stop the spices from burning over medium high heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and turn off the burner. Carefully transfer the spices back to the small glass bowl. Set aside until making the marinade.
To make the marinade:
In a large glass bowl add the gluten free oat or coconut based plain flavour dairy free yoghurt. To it add the heated spice mix, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Stir well to mix together. Set aside.
To make the rest of the dish:
Trim any extra fat or bits from the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board. Cut each of the chicken breasts in half.
Put 1 piece of parchment on the cutting boards. Place one of the halved chicken breasts on the paper. Cover the breast with a second sheet of parchment and using the flat side of a meat tenderising mallet pound the meat until it is ½ an inch thin. It should be evenly thin. The parchment paper is used to help reduce the possible spread of food borne bacteria when tenderising the chicken. Plastic cling film can be used in place, if preferred.
Peel the chicken from the parchment and place in the bowl containing the marinade. Re-use the parchment for the next piece of chicken. Repeat for all the chicken breasts. The chicken is tenderised to help it cook quicker and evenly.
When all the chicken has been tenderised and is in the marinade bowl use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken. Ensure all the meat is well coated with marinade.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to marinade. It should sit for 2 hours minimum and can be left overnight, if preferred.
After the chicken has finished marinating, lightly oil a 9 inch by 13 inch glass casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Pour the chicken and the marinade into the casserole dish. Spread the chicken out into a single even layer.
Place the casserole dish on the middle rack of the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches the internal temperature of 175 F.
Hint: If you are making the spice mix to use much later, grind and heat the spices right before using. Leave the cardamom seeds whole but separated from the pods and grind them with the other spices in the mortar and pestle.
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- Other Cuts of Chicken- instead of Chicken breasts you can use other cuts like thighs, drumsticks or even a whole chicken. Marinade it the same way. The cooking times would vary if they are bone in or boneless. Bone in usually cooks a bit longer. We recommend baking any cut with the skin on on a rack inside the casserole dish or in a roasting pan with a rack to catch the drippings. There will be a lot of fat in the pan otherwise.
- Instead of Plant Based Yoghurt - If you do not have a safe plant based yoghurt you can use either coconut cream in half the amount or a quarter of the amount of the dairy free yoghurt in plant based buttermilk. To make plant based buttermilk use your safe plant milk and add 1 teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar per ¼ cup. This will sour the plant milk. It is best left to slightly curdle for 5-10 minutes before using it in the marinade.
- Beef, Lamb, or other meat - While it is usually chicken that is made as a shawarma in most Lebanese restaurants in North America Lamb is one of the traditional meats used in this dish. Beef is also suitable for this dish and becoming a popular meat to pair with a Lebanese shawarma marinade. Pork is traditionally not made with any middle eastern dish due to religious reasons.
- Spit Style - a more traditional way to make this recipe is to cut a large starchy potato so it lays flat on its side. Into the potato four skewers are stuck straight up. Place the chicken on the skewers so the chicken is horizontal. Stack one breast on top of the other to layer it.The potato becomes a base the chicken is supported by so it can stand up in the oven. The juices run down the whole thing as it cooks. This will take much longer to cook as the chicken should be tightly packed. The chicken will need to be at least 175 at the very centre of the stack. It also will need a fairly large oven to be able to stand up whilst cooking.
- Spicy - add a bit of Shatta ( a very spicy chilli paste used in foods from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and other neighbouring countries ) to the marinade. Use a very tiny amount as it can be extremely hot for those not used to it.
- Kebabs (aka Kabobs, Kebaps) - For a large group or barbecue don’t pound the chicken breasts flat. Instead cut them into cubes and marinade the meat. Use skewers to string the chicken with vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini (courgettes), bell peppers, eggplant (aubergine) and/or onions in a row. Grill the kebabs, kabobs, or kebaps on the Barbecue until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 175 F.
- Kid friendly - Serve it in a gluten and top 9 free wrap or pita as a sandwich. You can add Hummus (most contain sesame but you can make it with sunflower paste instead of tahini) or a homemade plant based yoghurt sauce.
Equipment Needed for Making This Allergen Friendly Chicken Shawarma Recipe
Mortar and Pestle
This is piece of equipment is used to get really fine spices. It is usually best to make the spice mixes up and grind them for each recipe for the best flavour. If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can use a spice grinder and clean it out with grinding rice after so the string cardamom won’t flavour your next mix. Only use a grinder or mortar and pestle with allergen friendly spices as the oils can be tough to clean out. Do not use your coffee grinder as it may flavour your coffee even after cleaning. In many countries though, cardamom coffee is popular.
9 X 13 Glass Casserole Dish
A large casserole dish that is oven safe is what we use for this Dairy Free Lebanese Chicken Shawarma recipe. Our cooking times are based on using a clear glass dish. Dark metal, ceramic, and other kinds of casserole dishes will cook at different speeds due to the way they conduct heat.
Meat Tenderising Hammer and Parchment Paper
This is an optional bit. If you have more time to cook your chicken breasts and prefer a thicker cut then skip this equipment. Pounding the meat will allow it to cook through quicker but it does mean the dish needs to be watched as it can overcook quickly.
The parchment paper is used to put under the chicken and on top of it so the raw meat will splatter less. This helps to stop contaminating the kitchen with bacteria from uncooked meat.
Small Pan and Stirring Utensil
It is a small dry pan that is used to gently warm up the spices to bering out the most flavour possible from them. Toast but not burn. A non-stick pan is recommended and non wooden utensil to stir the spices.
The Usual Equipment
This recipe will also make use of measuring spoons and cups, a knife and cutting board, a large glass bowl, a few small glass bowls as most of our recipes do.
In an airtight container, our Allergen Friendly Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
We have not tried to store the chicken in the freezer. If you freeze it let us know how it does by dropping us a comment below.
How to Send Dairy Free Chicken Shawarma as Leftovers for Lunch
We send the gluten free Shawarma chicken to school cold on a salad or in a gluten and allergen friendly wrap for the kids the next day. Sometimes we will send it as cut up slices in a bento box style kit with crackers, veggies and fruit. It can easily be eaten cold and with their fingers.
If you make this Allergen Friendly Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe often consider making up a container with the spice mix without the cardamom in a jar that seals. When making the marinade, add ground cardamom and then toast all the spices to make it a bit quicker and easier.
What To Serve With
Our Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe is best when served as a chicken shawarma plate with rice, roasted potatoes, gluten free tabouli salad, allergen friendly stuffed vine leaves, a fattoush salad (with gluten and top 9 free pita bread) or dairy free greek salad, and homemade hummus made with sunflower seeds instead of tahini.
We also serve it with Lemon Roasted Potatoes and a salad. For the summer we barbecue allergen friendly chicken shawarma on skewers as shawarma kebabs with rice on the side.
The chicken can also be served on a large dinner sized salad.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Have You Made Our Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe? Please Leave a Comment Below.
Rate our Recipe.
We Love To Hear From You!
Allergen Friendly Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe - GF/DF, Top 9 FreePrint Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
- Mortar and pestle
- Knife and Cutting Board
- 9 X 13 Glass casserole dish
- Meat tenderising hammer
- Small Pan and stirring utensil
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Large glass bowl
- A few small glass bowls
- Parchment paper
- 4 Cardamom Pods dried
- ¾ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Ground Coriander
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- ½ teaspoon Ground Thyme dried
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 1 C Oat based Plain Dairy Free Yoghurt Gluten Free (or Coconut based)
- Heated Spices from above
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsps Lemon Zest
- 2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
- 4 Large Boneless Skinless Breast Trimmed and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon Neutral oil for the casserole dish
To prep the spices:
- In a mortar and pestle, place the cardamom pods in the mortar bowl. Tap the pods with the pestle to crack the pods but not crush the seeds inside.
- Dump the mortar contents into the palm of your hand and with your nails pull the dried pods off the seeds. You can compost the shell.
- Keep the seeds and put them back in the mortar bowl. When all the seeds are separated from the pod use the pestle and grind the seeds into a fine powder.
- Add the ground cardamom seeds to a small glass bowl.
- Measure the rest of the spices into the same small glass bowl as the ground cardamom. Mix well.
- Preheat a small pan over medium high heat on the stove. When heated add the dried ground spices from the small glass bowl. Stir the spices often. Heat them for about 1-2 minutes or until the smell gets stronger.
- Remove the pan from the heat and turn off the burner.
- Carefully transfer the spices back to the small glass bowl.
- Set aside the heated spices until making the marinade.
To make the marinade:
- In a large glass bowl add the gluten free oat or coconut based plain flavour dairy free yoghurt.
- To it add the heated spice mix, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and minced garlic.
- Stir well to mix together. Set aside.
To Make the Main Course
- Trim any extra fat or bits from the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board. Cut each of the chicken breasts in half.
- Put 1 piece of parchment on the cutting boards. Place one of the halved chicken breasts on the paper. Cover the breast with a second sheet of parchment and using the flat side of a meat tenderising mallet pound the meat until it is ½ an inch thin. It should be evenly thin.
- Peel the chicken from the parchment and place in the bowl containing the marinade. Re-use the parchment for the next piece of chicken. Repeat for all the chicken breasts.
- When all the chicken has been tenderised and is in the marinade bowl use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken. Ensure all the meat is well coated with marinade.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to marinade. It should sit for 2 hours minimum and can be left overnight, if preferred. If pressed for time the marinade is optional but for best flavour recommended.
- After the chicken has finished marinating, lightly oil a 9 inch by 13 inch glass casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Pour the chicken and the marinade into the casserole dish. Spread the chicken out in to a single even layer.
- Place the casserole dish on the middle rack of the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches the internal temperature of 175 F.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 175 °F (79.4 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Contact the manufacturer of products, regarding cross contact and ingredients, to ensure they are safe for you
- Always check ingredients for allergens
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove