Tag Archives: pickled turnips

Recipe: Shawarma Salad

7 Jul

It’s been crazy hot here this week. So much so, that Mr. Bacon installed our air conditioner today. We don’t put it in every summer, but the last few have required artificial cooling in order to sleep in our bedroom. And when it’s this hot, you certainly don’t want to make anything that’s going to heat the kitchen up which is why tonight we had shawarma salad.

Sandwich and garlic potatoes from my favourite shawarma purveyor, Ali at Shawarma House on March Road. Ali is an artist.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the shawarma, it’s one of the most popular street foods in the middle east and is incredibly¬†prevalent in Ottawa and Montreal due to the high population of middle eastern immigrants. Shawarma usually consists of meat (either beef or chicken) with vegetables (lettuce, tomato, onion, cabbage) and pickles (turnip and Lebanese cucumber) slathered in sauce (garlic, hummus, tahini) and wrapped in a pita.

What I call shawarma salad though is a traditional Lebanese salad called fattoush with grilled chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon and middle eastern spices. It’s intensely fresh and flavourful and makes a great light summer meal.

Shawarma Salad

For the salad:
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 radishes
pita bread
pickled turnips

For the dressing:
juice of 2 fresh lemons or 1 fresh and 3 tbsp of bottled lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried mint
1 1/2 tbsp sumac

For the chicken:
2 boneless skinless breasts, or 1 pound of chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup plain or greek yogurt
3-6 tbsp of lemon juice (use more if you’re using greek yogurt to thin it)
2 tsp shawarma spice (comes in a packet labelled as such, but there are also recipes on the internet for the spice blend)
1 tsp salt

Marinate the chicken for at least an hour. It’s best if you prep it in the morning. When you’re ready for dinner, start the BBQ and grill the chicken over medium heat.

While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables for the salad and mix the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl. Don’t fudge on the fresh parsley and the fresh lemon – it makes a difference.

Take the pita and rip it into bite sized pieces. Place them on a disposable cookie sheet and spray lightly with Pam. Sprinkle with a little sumac and place the cookie sheet on the BBQ with the chicken until they’re crispy.

When the chicken is done let it rest for 5 minutes. Take this time to pour the dressing on to the salad (leaving the pita ‘croutons’ aside) and toss well. You can choose to dice the chicken and include it in the salad, or place it on top. Garnish with ¬†the pita croutons and the pickled turnip pieces. Yes, the turnips are bright pink and look crazy, but they taste awesome really add a great dimension to the dish.

You should be able to find the pickled turnip, shawarma spice and sumac at your local middle eastern grocery store. Although I see that Bulk Barn (at least the location nearest me) is now carrying sumac as well.