Last Updated on April 13, 2022
I like to sometimes get lunch from a little Mediterranean restaurant in my neighborhood. They serve authentic Middle Eastern food including falafel sandwiches, kebabs, beef kefta, hummus, tabbouleh, grape leaves, grilled halloumi cheese, and one of my favorites: shawarma. (And apparently, shawarma is popular with some of the Avengers as well.)
Shawarma is a dish made with seasoned meat that is cut into thin slices and then stacked on a vertical spit for slow roasting, similar to gyros. Shawarma can be eaten on its on or served sandwich-style in a wrap or pita. At my local restaurant, I like to order their shawarma sandwiches, which consist of grilled meat on toasted pitas with onions, pickles tomatoes, and tahini sauce.
I also recently discovered I can purchase chicken in a shawarma marinade from Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s cousin. Based on how much people talk about this shawarma chicken on a Trader Joe’s fan page I’m a member of on social media, this is one of the more popular fresh meat items at TJ’s.
Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs cost $5.99 per pound at the time of publication. I bought a 1.57-pound package that cost $9.40. It can be found in the refrigerated fresh meat section, and it should be kept refrigerated.
The package states this contains up to 7% solution of shawarma spice marinade. Ingredients include boneless skinless chicken thighs and shawarma spice marinade (dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic sea salt, spices, paprika, turmeric, and parsley, annatto oil for color, lemon juice, vinegar powder, and natural rosemary flavor).
If you’re looking out for allergens, this contains soy.
A 4-ounce serving has 160 calories, 7 grams of total fat (9% DV), 1.5 grams of saturated fat (8% DV), 100 mg of cholesterol (33% DV), 440 mg of sodium (19% DV), 3 grams of total carbohydrates (1% DV), no dietary fiber or added sugars, and 21 grams of protein.
The chicken can be baked in a conventional oven or grilled. Some people on the Trader Joe’s fan page I follow say it’s excellent cooked in an air fryer, but I haven’t tried that.
To bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken on a rack atop a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Roast about 20 minutes or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees measured by a food thermometer. Slice and serve right away.
To grill the chicken, preheat the grill to medium high. Lightly spray with cooking oil and grill about 7-10 minutes or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Slice and serve right away.
I opted to bake the chicken, and it was perfectly cooked after 20 minutes in the oven. The chicken is aromatic and very tender. I had four boneless thighs in my package, and once they were baked they were easy to cut into thin slices.
On the recommendation of some members of a Trader Joe’s social media fan page, I picked up some Trader Joe’s Tzatziki Sauce, Trader Joe’s Indian Style Flatbread, and some fresh veggies such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion to make shawarma sandwiches. Some people like to serve the sandwiches with hummus instead of or in addition to tzatziki sauce. You can also make a rice or grain side dish if you want, or serve this alongside a salad like tabbouleh, which Trader Joe’s also sells in the refrigerated aisle.
If sandwiches aren’t your style, or if you prefer something with fewer carbs, you can make shawarma bowls with the chicken, veggies, sauce, hummus, rice, sliced flatbread, or whatever else you want to add.
This chicken served sandwich-style in flatbread was excellent. The chicken is flavorful and tender. The tzatziki sauce perfectly complemented it, and the veggies added just the right flavor and crunch, all wrapped up in soft, chewy bread.
I’m glad I tried this meal, and it’s definitely something I’ll buy again.
Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs are well seasoned and perfect for serving with flatbread, hummus or other dip, veggies, and/or rice. They cook easily in the oven or on the grill, and rumor has it they do well in the air fryer, too. If you enjoy Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food, or if you’re just wanting to try something different, we highly recommend this chicken.