This is the ultimate Whole30 lunch recipe! Stave off those feelings of deprivation with this easy but seriously flavorful Chicken Shawarma Bowl. Served over grain free cauliflower tabbouleh with kalamata olives, picked red onions, and a zippy lemon tahini sauce, you’ll happily face-plant into this healthy lunch every single day. Naturally low carb, gluten free, dairy free, and Whole30.
Chicken Shawarma Bowls. Like, WOAH.
I hope you’re hungry. And if you’re not? Feast your eyes on these babies.
This is the recipe you make when you think “OMG, a Whole30 is so hard. A Whole30 is so restrictive.”
You won’t be feeling any of the deprivation feels once you’ve tucked into this seriously satisfying lunch of juicy shawarma spiced chicken, lemony cauliflower tabbouleh, and briny kalamata olives, drizzled with kickin’ tahini sauce.
Shawarma Bowl Ingredients
If you’re a big fan of buddha bowls or lunch salads, you’ve come to the right place. This shawarma bowl is a two-for-one! It’s packed with so many healthy, real food ingredients and colorful veggies that your doctor will give you a standing ovation.
- Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma: I’ve been making the same basic recipe for Chicken Shawarma for years, which I adapted from the New York Times. It reheats like a dream, so it’s perfect for meal prep.
- Cauliflower Tabbouleh: naturally grain free and ready in just 30 minutes, tabbouleh is the perfect vegetable and nutrient-dense side dish for chicken shawarma.
- Olives: olives add a salty kick and just enough healthy fats to keep you full and fueled straight through dinner.
- Pickled Red Onions: these are optional, but I find the tang helps to balance out the rich chicken. I used this recipe from Unbound Wellness, which is Whole30 compliant (no sugar!) and added a clove of smashed garlic and a few sprigs of thyme.
- Tahini Dressing: my go-to dressing on a Whole30! I put it on everything for a zippy, flavorful finish.
How to Make Chicken Shawarma Meal Prep Bowls
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list for this recipe – yes, they’re plentiful, but it’s largely due to the number of spices that come together to create an incredibly flavor-balanced shawarma bowl experience. This meal prep recipe takes about an hour start to finish (minus the marinating time for the chicken), but you’ll celebrate every moment of effort when you sit down to a wholesome, healthy lunch every day of the week.
- Make the Chicken Shawarma. Combine lemon juice, olive or avocado oil, minced garlic, pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, turmeric and red pepper flakes in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Trim 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs of large fat deposits (they’ll get gummy once baked), then place the chicken into the bowl. Rub the marinade into the chicken thighs with your (clean and dry) hands. Cover and marinate at least a few hours and up to overnight.
- Transfer the marinated chicken to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 425°F oven 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, cool slightly, then cut against the grain into 1/2″ slices.
While the shawarma bakes, gather the remaining ingredients for the shawarma bowls:
- My recipe for Whole30 cauliflower tabbouleh can be found at this link.
- To make the tahini dressing, combine tahini, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender. Add a quarter cup of water (more if needed) and blend until very smooth.
- Pickled red onions are optional, but definitely recommended. Make them after you prepare the shawarma marinade – they’ll be perfect by the time the chicken is done marinating.
Once you’ve got everything prepped, compose the chicken shawarma meal prep bowls:
- Add one cup cauliflower tabbouleh
- Top with one quarter of the chicken shawarma
- Add one ounce olives (6-8 olives) and one tablespoon pickled red onions (or to taste)
- Portion the tahini dressing into small containers
The chicken shawarma is delicious cold, straight from the fridge, and makes a terrific salad option with a handful of greens added to your bowl. Alternatively, you can remove just the chicken and heat for 45 seconds in the microwave. Return the chicken to the container and enjoy!
My Tips and Tricks for the BEST Shawarma Bowls
- Give the chicken enough time to marinate for superior flavor (at least a few hours) – I like to start this in the morning for dinner, or the night before if I’m meal prepping.
- Be sure to trim any visible fat from the chicken thighs – the fat gets chewy in the oven, and that’s just a nope.
- Slice the chicken thighs against the grain for incredibly tender bites.
- If you’re looking to purchase pre-made cauliflower tabbouleh (I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) be sure to double-check the ingredients list for Whole30 compliance. I often find they have canola oil (booo!).
- Speaking of pre-made shortcuts, my local chain grocery store carries pre-riced cauliflower in the produce section. Woot!
- These meal prep bowls will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Store the chicken separately and reheat for warm meal, or eat it cold straight from the fridge – it’s delicious.
More Whole30 Meal Prep Recipes
- Veggie-Packed Whole30 Hamburger Soup
- Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Orange Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls
- Ginger Scallion Pork Poppers
- Healthy Chicken Salad with Almond Butter Dressing
DID YOU MAKE THIS CHICKEN SHAWARMA BOWL?!? I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A RATING BELOW 👇
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Chicken Shawarma Bowls (Whole30, Meal Prep)Print Recipe Rate This Recipe Pin Recipe
- ½ c tahini
- ¼ - ½ c cold water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced (about 1 tbsp)
- Sea or kosher salt to taste
- Crack black pepper to taste
Shawarma Bowl Additions
- 4 cups cauliflower tabbouleh
- 4 oz kalamata olives
- ¼ c pickled red onions whole30 compliant (no sugar) - see ingredients section above for recipe recommendation
- Make the chicken shawarma. Combine lemon juice, avocado oil, salt, pepper, and spices in a large bowl and whisk thoroughly. Place the raw chicken thighs into the bowl and coat with marinade. Marinate at least a few hours, and up to overnight.
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place onto a rimmed baking sheet, leaving 2" between each thigh. Pour any excess marinade over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked throughout. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut agains the grain into 1/2" slices.
- Prepare the cauliflower tabbouleh following the instructions in the linked post.
- Make the tahini dressing. Combine the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper into a blender along with 1/4 cup of water to start. Blend until emulsified, adding additional water to reach desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice to preference.
- Make the meal prep bowls: add 1 cup tabbouleh to the meal prep container, then top with 1⁄4 chicken shawarma. Add 1 oz olives, 1 tbsp picked red onions, and pack 2 tbsp dressing on the side.
- Don't skimp on the marinating time - at least 3 hours, but 8+ (up to 12) is best.
- Be sure to trim any visible fat from the chicken thighs - the fat gets chewy in the oven, and that's just a nope.
- If you purchase pre-made cauliflower tabbouleh be sure to double-check the ingredients list for Whole30 compliance.
- Bowls will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Store the chicken separately and reheat for a warm meal, or eat it cold straight from the fridge.