Basically everything there is to want out of life…all piled up into one colorful, healthy, beautiful bowl – Shawarma Hummus Bowls. These bowls have so much freaking flavor! And color! And texture! Needless to say, I’m pretty obsessed.
These shawarma hummus bowls are inspired by the hummus bowls at a fast-casual lunch spot in downtown Minneapolis that my team frequented back when I worked in the corporate world. It was one of my favorite lunches because life seriously doesn’t get better than a bowl of creamy, dreamy hummus piled high with all kinds of toppings (along with the warmest & freshest puffy pita – DROOL.).
I originally published this hummus bowl recipe back in 2018. It continues to be a PWWB fave up to this day, which isn’t surprising to me whatsoever. These hummus bowls are colorful, flavorful, & fresh feel-good food, & they’re so easy to throw together on even the busiest weeknights. I’ve streamlined the recipe a bit & have added a plant-based option for our vegetarian, vegan, & veggie-loving readers, but it still delivers the same colorful, texture-filled, flavor-bomb meal that you already know & love. (I promise!)
Easy Shawarma Hummus Bowls – Recipe Highlights
These shawarma hummus bowls are…
- MEGA-FLAVORFUL! – With the toasty warm shawarma spices, tangy brightness of quick pickled onions, & crisp freshness of any fresh veggies you love, these bowls are filled with flavor. (& they’re a texture-lover’s dream!)
- SERIOUSLY EASY – Aside from prepping a quick shawarma marinade & whatever toppings you’re craving, these hummus bowls are mostly an assembly job. Plus, they’re super meal prep friendly – check the Recipe Notes for meal prep tips!
- TOTALLY VERSATILE – You can switch these hummus bowls up by changing the toppings, using different kinds of hummus, or even swapping the chicken for roasted shawarma veggies. Basically whatever your happy little heart desires!
There’s seriously nothing not to love about ’em. ♡ Read on to learn more about these Shawarma Hummus Bowls, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
Shawarma Hummus Bowls start with an Easy Shawarma Marinade.
At the heart of these hummus bowls – aside from hummus, of course – is a simple shawarma marinade. Made with some pantry staples & flavorful spices that are probably already on your spice rack, this shawarma marinade adds a big punch of flavor to chicken, veggies & more.
You will need…
- Shawarma spices – Namely ground cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric & a little bit of cayenne pepper for heat.
- Garlic – Of course!
- Honey – Adds a really nice kiss of sweetness, plus it helps create crispy & caramelized edges on the veggie or chicken shawarma. If you’d like to make sure your hummus bowls are vegan, feel free to use agave or pure maple syrup in its place.
- Lemon juice – Its brightness balances out the warm spices beautifully.
- Olive oil – Just a little bit, to bring everything together.
Suggested marinating time ⇢ The longer the protein or veggies can sit in the shawarma marinade, the better! Marinate chicken for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days. Veggies will last even longer – you can marinate them for up to 5 days.
At-Home Chicken Shawarma
Traditionally shawarma is slowly roasted on a vertical spit, resulting in succulent shawarma meat with addictively crispy & caramelized edges. Since most home chefs, myself included, don’t have a vertical spit set-up, I wanted to figure out a way to replicate the flavors & textures of traditional shawarma. The answer ended up being pretty simple – the broiler!
Here’s how it happens…
- Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan: Transfer the marinated shawarma chicken to a quarter baking sheet. Be sure to drain & discard any excess marinade so the chicken roasts evenly.
- Bake: Pop the pan in the oven & bake until the chicken is just nearly cooked through.
- Thinly slice the chicken, mimicking the way traditional spit-roasted shawarma is sliced off a vertical spit.
- Broil for smoky, crispy edges: Place the sliced chicken back on the sheet pan & pop it under the broiler for a few minutes, until the edges are browned & crispy. So easy, so good!
Alternative cooking option ⇢ If you do not have a broiler in your oven (or if you don’t feel like turning on your oven for dinner), you can also create a similar smoky, crispy, caramelized effect using a grill or grill pan. Grill the chicken shawarma for 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through. Easy!
Hummus Bowl Assembly
With your shawarma prepped & ready to go, all that’s left is the fun part…Hummus Bowl assembly!
Here’s what you’ll do…
- Hummus – First, place a big swoop of your favorite hummus down on a plate or shallow bowl. Use the back of a large spoon to help spread it across the surface. You can absolutely make a batch of homemade hummus, though these bowls are also just as good with store-bought hummus! My favorite right now is Ithaca Lemon Garlic Hummus.
- Add your favorite grain – If you want to, add a spoonful of your favorite cooked grains. I like quinoa best, but these bowls are also great with brown rice, jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, & so on. Or, skip the grains altogether!
- Shawarma Chicken (or Veggies!) – Next, pile on your roasty, toasty shawarma.
- Toppings – Finish with any & all toppings you love most. I love topping my hummus bowls off with really finely sliced cabbage, thinly sliced cucumber, crumbled feta, & tangy-delicious pickled red onions.
Another fun thing about hummus bowls is that you can easily switch them up by using different kinds of hummus, swapping for a different protein, changing out toppings, & so on. You can go wherever your creativity (& cravings) lead you to!
A couple of easy hummus bowl variations to get you started:
- Make ’em vegetarian or vegan! Swap the chicken with roasted veggies & chickpeas (like you find in this popular PWWB recipe). Check out the Recipe Notes for full vegetarian/vegan directions!
- Switch up the hummus: I like these bowls best with classic hummus, but you can easily change up the flavors by using different types of hummus – roasted red pepper hummus, roasted garlic hummus, spicy hummus, etc. Butternut squash hummus or pumpkin hummus are also amazing during the fall & winter months!
- Make it a salad – Swap out grains for your favorite greens, or make a simple cabbage slaw by tossing finely shredded cabbage with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, & a pinch of ground cumin for warmth.
- Change up the toppings – Go wherever your creativity leads you to build a hummus bowl that speaks to your cravings.
(…But no matter what you do, don’t forget a piece of warm pita bread or naan…you will NOT regret it!)
I can’t wait for you to try these Shawarma Hummus Bowls! They’re a serious fave here at PWWB, & I know you’ll love them too. If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡
More Recipes Like This:
Healthy, satisfying, & mega-flavorful Hummus Bowls! A grain bowl centered around creamy, dreamy hummus, piled high with homemade chicken shawarma (see Recipe Notes for a vegan roasted veggie shawarma option!), & finished with whatever toppings you love most – quinoa, cabbage, feta, pickled red onions, & more. The perfect easy weeknight dinner & great for meal prep. Easily vegetarian, vegan, & dairy-free.
for the hummus bowls:
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless thighs (see Recipe Notes for plant-based substitute)
- 1 cup hummus (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (½ cup dry cooked according to package directions)
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- for serving, as desired: thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded cabbage, extra virgin olive oil, lemon wedges, thinly sliced basil, pickled red onions, warm pita or naan, etc.
for the shawarma marinade:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey (or pure maple syrup or agave)
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- optional: ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, as desired
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken in a large Ziplock bag or baking dish. Add the olive oil, honey (or maple), lemon juice, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric, cayenne, kosher salt, & ground black pepper. Toss to combine, coating the chicken evenly in the shawarma marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, arranging the oven racks such that one is in the center of the oven & one is 4-6 inches under the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up & set aside.
- Roast the chicken shawarma: Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet, shaking off any excess marinade. Bake on the center rack for 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs. The chicken should be nearly cooked through. Remove the chicken from the oven, meanwhile preheat the broiler. As the broiler preheats, thinly slice the chicken. Transfer the sliced chicken back onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler. Broil 4-5 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the chicken shawarma is browned & caramelized.
- Assemble the hummus bowls: Add a large spoonful of hummus to the bottom of a large, shallow bowl. Use the back of a spoon to swoop the hummus across the bottom of the bowl. Add in the quinoa & chicken shawarma or veggie shawarma. Finish with pickled red onions, thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded cabbage, crumbled feta, and a sprinkling of fresh basil, & other toppings as desired. Serve immediately with a spritz of lemon and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as desired. Enjoy!
- Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead? Yes. I prefer thighs since they’re flavorful & stay really nice & juicy through roasting + broiling, but you can swap them out with breasts if you prefer. Either pound the breasts out flat or cut them in half lengthwise (butterflied) to ensure they roast up evenly. Skip broiling (Step 3), as the breast meat will dry out.
- Vegan hummus bowls: These shawarma hummus bowls are easily made vegetarian & vegan by replacing the chicken shawarma with roasted veggie shawarma. Swap the chicken thighs with ½ small head cauliflower (cut into bite-sized florets), 1 large sweet potato (diced into ½-inch cubes), & one 14-ounce can chickpeas (drained, rinsed & patted dry). Prepare the shawarma marinade as described (be sure to use pure maple syrup or agave in place of the honey for a vegan marinade). Divide the mixture on to two baking sheets. Roast at 450 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pans halfway through, until the cauliflower & sweet potato are tender with crispy, browned edges. Assemble the hummus bowls as described in Step 4.
- Hummus: You can use whatever hummus you like best. If there’s a hummus recipe you absolutely love, feel free to make homemade hummus. These bowls are also just as good with store-bought hummus! My favorite right now is Ithaca Lemon Garlic Hummus – yum!
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for these hummus bowls come from prepping the shawarma marinade. Whisk it up at the beginning of the week according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above. Pour over the chicken (or veggies) & marinate in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. At dinnertime, simply pop the chicken in the oven & get the rest of your toppings prepped while it roasts. Easy!
- Note: This recipe has been updated since its original publish in April 2018. If you are looking for the original recipe, which included grill preparation & a quick lemony cabbage slaw, click here to download a printable version!
Keywords: hummus bowls, chicken shawarma, chicken sheet pan dinner, sheet pan chicken, veggie shawarma, weeknight, easy, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.