We make our own Chipotle-esque burrito bowls every so often, and it’s one of our favorite ways to do weeknight dinner. So when Elly posted this Middle Eastern/Mediterranean inspired version, I was all over it. Clara loves hummus, and I knew she’d be a big fan of the tahini dressing in this recipe because, like most toddlers I know, she loves dipping her food into any kind of sauce. Grilled chicken is always delicious, and this chicken is super moist and flavorful thanks to a yogurt marinade and a fantastic blend of spices. Basically, I knew as soon as I read the recipe that it would be a hit.
Like our typical burrito bowls, this dish has a few different components but comes together faster than you might think. The chicken does require at least an hour to marinate, but you can toss it together the night before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook the next day. Instead of standard rice, there’s a rice pilaf with almonds and vermicelli. What would normally be salsa in our burrito bowls is a tomato and cucumber salad tossed with tahini dressing, and the hummus is like the guacamole. As expected, we all loved this, and it’s definitely going into our weeknight meal rotation.
- YIELD: 4 servings
For the chicken shawarma:
1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon sumac
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
For the pilaf:
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Half a small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup vermicelli or broken spaghetti
¾ cup rice (preferably basmati/long grain)
1⅔ cups chicken broth
For the tahini sauce:
⅓ cup tahini
⅓ cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
For the tomato-cucumber salad:
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, spices, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to one day in advance.
When ready to cook the chicken, heat grill to high, wiping down grates with a vegetable oil coated paper towel. Cook chicken over indirect heat for about 8 minutes per side, then move to direct heat to lightly char each side. Alternately, cook the chicken in a grill pan or broil until cooked through.
While the chicken cooks, make the pilaf. Toast the almonds in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. In the same saucepan, melt the butter and oil, then cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, vermicelli and rice. Toast, stirring constantly, until the rice is opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about about 15 minutes. Stir in the toasted almonds just before serving.
While the rice is cooking, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley in a medium bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the tahini sauce, and toss to combine.
To serve, arrange the chicken, pilaf, salad, and hummus in individual bowls. Drizzle with tahini sauce and serve pita on the side.