Clean eating / Food

Bye Bye Pizza Night- Make Your Own Shawarma is Healthier!

My husband is part Lebanese and not only did he share with me his difficult to spell last name, he also introduced me to Lebanese Food.  I remember the first time I went to his parents’ house for dinner.  I was 18 years old and super nervous about what they might serve for dinner.  Having grown up in an Irish family, where meat and potatoes were the daily offering and my Dad thought eating rice twice a week was “too ethnic and exotic”; you can imagine how nervous I was about this strange sounding Lebanese food.  Turns out, that first dinner, Matt’s mom served spaghetti but I did eventually try Lebanese food and fell in love with its garlicky goodness!

I love Lebanese food!  Tabouli, hummus, kibbe, and pita bread.  It’s all good!  Our favourite fast food is Shawarma!  Luckily in Ottawa, we have a Shawarma place every 2 blocks!  We used to pick up family platters as our “takeout” meal but then I discovered this recipe from my first meal plan with Sarah.  Not intended to be shawarma but it is a great “clean eating” substitution.

The recipe (another great by my friend Sarah) can be found at It’s called Buttermilk Chicken.  I like a recipe that contains hardly any ingredients:

Garlic, buttermilk, honey, salt and pepper combine to make the marinade for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Marinade at least 2 hours- but I think longer is better in this case!

While the chicken is marinating, you have plenty of time to roll in cow manure and a mud puddle.

Well that’s what Boyd chose to do with his time… you might want to do something more productive with your time like bathe your lab on the front lawn 😛
Top the chicken with Panko (the “cleanest” option for Panko I have found is the PC Black Label- 4 ingredients and I can pronounce them all) then bake in the oven.  If you would rather BBQ, I would skip the Panko.

While the chicken is baking, make the salad.  My favourite salad (other than Kale) is Fatoosh Salad (which means Bread Salad).  I love this salad!!!

Salad ingredients:
Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber (or 1/2 an English cucumber), chopped
2 radishes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 pita bread, lightly sprayed with olive oil and toasted under the broiler

1/2 c lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/3 c olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 grind of fresh pepper
2 tbsp. of sumac spice (can be found at a Middle Eastern supermarket- also called Lemon Thyme”)

I like to group the various vegetables on top of the salad before I toss it.  I don’t know why…. I just do.


Add the dressing and the toasted pita bread.  Yummy!

Next, prepare your shawarma toppings.  Shawarma is usually topped with:
-tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, pickled turnips (they are the pink things and can be bought at a shawarma restaurant and at Middle East supermarkets), onions, hummus and garlic “paste”(also available at Lebanese supermarkets and restaurants).

Ok.  A word about garlic paste.  This is probably/definitely not clean!  It is garlic emulsified with canola oil (NOT A CLEAN OIL).  We have tried unsuccessfully to make this at home with olive oil- if it ever turns out, I will share.  I LOVE GARLIC PASTE.  I can not eat a shawarma without it.  I’m sorry.  A healthier sandwich would just have hummus as the sauce.

Thinly slice the chicken and set out a buffet of pita bread, toppings, sauces and salad.  Today, I picked up some Meat Pies from the Lebanese Bakery. 
It’s basically a pita type topped with ground beef or lamb, tomatoes, onions and spices.  These also make a great sandwich substitution in kid’s school lunches.


Set your family loose on making their own sandwiches!


Enjoy!  Make sure your whole family eats this- very garlicky!  The rule with garlic is everyone must eat it!

I made extra chicken tonight which I cooked then froze for a quick and healthy meal another night.


A fun Friday night type dinner that’s cleaner and healthier than pizza! 

Your body will feel happier after eating this than pizza!

Choose happy 🙂



5 thoughts on “Bye Bye Pizza Night- Make Your Own Shawarma is Healthier!

  1. So colourful and delicious! Great idea to cook more chicken for another meal. Love it all!
    (Boyd definitely chooses happy).


  2. Thanks Tracey for sharing! I followed your instructions and made healthy Shawarma and the Fatoosh salad for my family tonight and it was a big success! (I skipped the bread in the salad though so not sure you can still call it Fatoosh… but was still delish)


  3. Love everything about this! Thanks for sharing all of your tried and true, and most importantly CLEAN recipes!! Definitely trying them all 🙂


  4. Pingback: I Survived 6 Weeks of No Drinking! | I choose happy

Leave a Reply to Cathy Hughes Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s