Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette

August 15, 2014

Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette

Can we talk about the song ‘Rude’ by Magic! for a sec?
I can’t stop blasting it. It’s been love/hate since I've first heard it on the radio - less and less love as time goes by, but still.
I enjoy the pop-reggae sound and I kinda dig the lyrics - a man asking a father for permission to marry his daughter, yet winds up getting soundly rejected. Pretty original.
There are a couple of things bugging me about it though.
First off, do we (i.e., guys) still ask the girl’s father for permission to marry her?
I know some do, of course. But is it still common?
Take for instance my friend Rob. Before he asked his now fiancee to marry him, he first discussed it with his parents, then he went over to his fiancee's house so that he could get the permission from her parents, and then asked her. Exhausting.
I honestly thought what he did was the exception rather than the rule.
The way I see it is: the guy pops the question to the girl first, and then tell the parents, hoping for their blessing.
Am I completely off-base?

Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette

Secondly, I think our so called protagonist in this song is not so innocent as he claims. It's a ruse.
He’s trying to play the victim card. His insistence that he is going to marry the guys daughter anyway is a somewhat subtle threat to the father.
The biggest red flag is when he tells the father “I'm human, too!"
Is that it? Is this the best reason you’ve got for marrying his daughter?
Buddy, lemme tell ya, saying that you’re human will not make you stand out. Ha.
Lastly, I have a big problem with the singer’s pronunciation of the word “rude”.
I’m not saying that he has an unfamiliar accent/inflection, he just clearly mispronounces the word.
Listen carefully next time you hear it.
He distinctly says “Why you gotta be so ROUX?”
Is the guy implying that the father is like the sauce created by cooking wheat flour and fat? If so, what does he means? The only thing we can infer is that the guy’s a foodie. Good for him.
Or maybe he’s saying “Why you gotta be so RUE?” If so, he’s obviously trying to show off by throwing random archaic words at the father. Who cares if that question has no semantic meaning, right?

Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette

Okay, enough with my rantings about this song — which is, by the way, the song of the summer.
Let’s talk about food, shall we?
I made some Shawarma chicken this week. You guys seemed to enjoy it so much, I just had to make it again, and again, and again.
Flavorful and spicy, piled high in a bowl with other...stuff. Green stuff, red stuff, healthy stuff, dressed with a to-die-for basil-lemon vinaigrette.
This is so my kind of summer lunch.
It’s light, refreshing, super filling and P to the A to the L-E-O.

Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette
Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette                              Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Chicken Shawarma

1 lb / 453 gr free-range organic chicken breast, cut into 3-inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander


6 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 gr spring greens
1 cup / 5.3 oz / 150 gr cherry tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls torn fresh basil leaves
1 avocado, sliced

Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil


In a bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, curry powder, cumin and coriander until combined.
In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziploc bag, combine chicken strips and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (marinate overnight for fullest flavor.)
When you're ready to make the meal, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add a tiny bit of olive oil, add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes turning regularly, until juices run clear.
In the meantime make the vinaigrette. In a food processor (or small blender), process the basil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined. Set aside.
To make the salads, add the greens in a large bowl and toss them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top along with the tomatoes, basil, and avocado.
Drizzle the bowl with the basil-lemon vinaigrette.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 392 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs and 27 grams of protein.


  1. Looks so fresh and clean. Great photos!!

  2. Lol, Mike, do you have marriage on the brain....? ;-) I get songs stuck in my head too, usually random ones that I don't want in there, like the theme to Spongebob or something. This looks yummy! I'm always drawn to recipes with curry because it's such a healthy spice!

    1. Hahahaha Lauren, the theme to Spongebob...I have no idea what that is but I bet it's super annoying!

      this is the Spongebob Theme song lol...... Dish looks great can't wait to try it

  3. Looks amazing Mike, I love the idea of combining spices and fresh veggies!

  4. Mike you are too funny! You don't know the extent of my troubles with lyrics in English, Some of the stuff I sing makes the hubby roll on the floor (ok, not literally) laughing, which I should smack him for, so unfair! I misunderstand A TON of stuff, even classics, like Rolling Stones, Beatles, stuff I grew up listening to.

    great recipe, I would eat this whole bowl, and keep the bowl too because I love it. Sorry. Not giving it back.

    1. You know what Sally? We should do a Karaoke night and mispronounce the lyrics of all the songs. Just like that. Deal?

  5. OKAY SO... WHENEVER "RUDE" comes on in the car... Or anywhere for that matter, I know my day is going to ROCK and I am just going to have GREAT LUCK... Well, for the past 3 days, it hasn't played, so when I was in the car today - I turned it on YouTube because I HAD TO LISTEN TO IT - I wanted to bring my mood up, and it WORKED! And then I turned the radio back on and BAM, it was on! So really, this day rocks my flipping socks off even though I woke up a little HO-HUM. LOL!!
    And uh, YOU KNOW MY ADORATION FOR SHAWARMA! I went to a NEW shawarma place yesterday with The Food Pervert and HOLY MOLY IN MY MOUTH!!!! I am SOOOO going again this weekend, it had a slight hint of cinnamon that truly kicked the pants off my of taste buds! You feel me? I'll tweet you a picture next time! ;)

    1. Please do GiGi and next time I'm in LA you have to take me there!

    2. Where did you go that was so good?

  6. They look fantastic Mike!

  7. Hahahaha, you crack me up! Love/hate is the right way to describe that song. You are forcing me to hear it again now, just to hear how he pronounces it...thanks a lot ;)
    LOVE this Shawarma bowl, and I must go see this chicken you're talking about!

    1. But if that song gets stuck in to your head, you can't held me responsible. OKAY? ;)

  8. wow, finger licking good chicken bowl salad!!!
    lovin the shawarma chicken was goodly spiced too....

  9. Dude I am laughing out loud at your song rant. Why you gotta be so roux?! Haha. I actually do love the song, too. And I would love a bowl of this chicken shawarma too.

  10. Gah - my daughter and I just had a conversation about this song too - you are so right about the "roux" bit - I am old fashioned and when it comes to my daughter (seeing I am mom + dad in one) the boy better ask me to marry her - or else!!!! And that bit about being Human - why I am gonna have to throw some roux on him if that's all he comes up with!

    Mike, you come up with some of the best dressings/dips and vinaigrettes! This lemon-garlic-basil one is exceptional - anytime you decide to bottle it and sell it - am here to buy it!

    1. Shashi you are one of the most lovely person I know but I'd never want to be your daughter's boyfriend, you must give him the hardest time ever...I don't know why, it's just a gut feeling!

  11. I don't know if it's the exception or the rule either (although probably better to ask first?). My husband talked to his parents and mine before he asked me, but I think he was being polite because I'm pretty sure the answer didn't matter to him either way!

    Love that you turned these classic flavors into a irresistible salad bowl!

    1. OK, got it. When the time comes I'll do just like your hubby did...but I'm not 100% convinced about it!

  12. I asked my wife's father permission before popping the question. I remember being so nervous b/c I had only met him once and I had to do it on the phone. He lives in MA.

    Thsi shawarma chicken bowl... it looks awesome man... especially with that basil lemon vinaigrette. #wolfpackeats

    1. Dude...what about Alpha? You should have asked me first. You can't do anything without my permission..I am not happy with this.

  13. Oh man. I literally just moaned from these pictures. Making this tomorrow.

  14. Salad looks great but you should probably marinate in a glass bowl with a lid and skip the nonstick skillet to cook.

  15. ^ I think you should marinate in whatever you want and cook in whatever you want ;)
    This recipe was delicious!! Not surprising because everything I've made of yours has been. Dressing was awesome, marinade was awesome, loved it all! And it was easy! Definitely going in my rotation.

  16. thank you for sharing this recipe, looks yum! wil definitely give it a try

  17. Just made (and devoured) this - amaaaazing!

  18. Just made this for lunch this week. This is amazing! The vinaigrette especially was a huge hit with my parents and siblings. Soooo yummy!!

    Also - my dad would be extremely upset if my sisters and I were engaged without our fiances having asked for permission!

  19. Just so you know, the proper English is 'handsful' rather than 'handfuls'. Spelling and grammar count even in the cyber world.

    Love Shawarma

    1. The plural is actually handfuls. Handful is one word, a noun, and the plural just adds an s to the end.
      Made this meal yesterday for company -- great hit. Curious though, why is it called shawarma?

  20. This. Looks. SO. Good. Can't wait to try it!

  21. Made this and it was really nice