Dive into this delectable Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Recipe, where the magic of Instant Pot Saffron Rice meets the allure of homemade Tzatziki sauce, sans cucumber. This recipe is a treasure trove for fans of Middle Eastern cuisine, combining the convenience of Trader Joe's Shawarma Chicken Thighs with the authentic touch of homemade elements.
For those who relish the rich, aromatic blend of spices, this recipe is a culinary dream. We'll guide you through making the most of your saffron spices, revealing tips to unlock their full potential, perfect for crafting a mouthwatering Middle Eastern Saffron Rice recipe. The Saffron Basmati Rice recipe we've developed is a nod to our favorite local eateries, capturing the essence of their signature yellow Mediterranean rice. Whether you're aiming for skewer sides or a hearty Shawarma bowl, this rice is a game-changer.
Not only do we appreciate Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma for its ease and flavor, but we also know when to add our homemade touch - like with the Tzatziki sauce. While Trader Joe's offers a pre-made version, our homemade Tzatziki, whipped up in under five minutes, omits unwanted ingredients, relying only on Greek yogurt, fresh lemon, garlic, and dill.
In about 30 minutes, you can assemble a delicious meal that's sure to dazzle at the dinner table. This recipe featuring skinless Chicken Thighs is not just about convenience; it explores flavors that transform a simple meal into a nutritious, easy dinner.
As a holistic nutrition specialist, recipe curator, and mother, I'm passionate about creating easy recipes that blend Trader Joe’s products with homemade items. Crafting a nutritious, flavorful, and healthy meal doesn't have to be a challenge. This Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs recipe exemplifies how you can bring a flavorful meal to your table without hassle.
If you'd like to check out more Trader Joe's recipe creations, try our TJ's Harvest Blend Chicken and Spinach Stir Fry, TJ's Holiday Hash Recipe with Sausage and Quinoa, or TJ's Chicken Meatballs Italian Bake!
To round off this delicious experience, remember to set healthy intentions. Embracing a mindset focused on well-being and positivity can elevate not just your meal but your overall lifestyle. If you're keen on integrating such practices into your daily life, don’t forget to check out our free guide on using intentions and affirmations. This guide is a treasure trove for anyone looking to infuse more mindfulness and health-conscious choices into their lives.
So, if you're a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, looking for easy recipes to grace your dinner table, or simply curious about how to make saffron rice, this Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma recipe with its nutritious meal and blend of spices is an ideal choice. Join us in this culinary adventure and discover how simple it is to bring a flavorful meal to your family's dinner table.
Basmati Rice: A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, basmati rice is known for its distinct aroma and fluffy texture. Opt for organic rice to ensure the best quality and purity.
Chicken Broth: Enhances the rice's flavor. Using organic chicken broth ensures you're getting a product without unnecessary additives.
Onion: A fundamental ingredient in many dishes, onions add a depth of flavor. Select organic onions to avoid pesticides common in conventional farming.
Red Bell Pepper and Yellow Bell Pepper: These colorful vegetables are not only visually appealing but also packed with vitamins and phytonutrients. Choose organic bell peppers to avoid synthetic pesticide exposure.
Garlic: Known for its health benefits, including improving heart health, garlic adds a punch of flavor. Organic garlic is preferable for its stronger taste and purity.
Fresh Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins. When selecting tomatoes, opt for organic. You can use chopped Roma tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes.
Saffron: Known as the "golden spice," saffron adds a unique flavor and color to dishes. When purchasing, look for strands that are vividly colored and aromatic, indicating freshness and quality. Saffron has incredible health benefits as well, including mood-boosting and antioxidant benefits.
Onion Powder and Garlic Salt: These add depth to the dish. Opting for organic versions ensures they are free from additives and made from high-quality ingredients.
Lemon Pepper: A zesty addition to any dish, lemon pepper enhances flavor. Choose organic to avoid any artificial additives and to get the true essence of lemon.
Sea Salt & Black Pepper: Sea salt is less processed than table salt, including kosher salt. It also retains more minerals. Black pepper adds not just flavor but also aids in digestion. Go for organic to ensure they are free from contaminants.
Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Thighs: These marinated chicken thighs are convenient and flavorful, making them a great protein choice for quick, nutritious meals.
Fresh Dill: An herb that adds a refreshing touch. Organic dill is ideal for its natural flavor and aroma.
Hummus: A delicious and healthy addition to any Mediterranean dish. Choose or prepare hummus made with natural ingredients for a wholesome complement to the meal.
Incorporating these high-quality ingredients into your Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma recipe not only ensures a delicious meal but also supports a healthy, balanced diet. Each component brings its unique flavor and nutritional benefits, making this dish a delightful fusion of taste and well-being.
See the recipe card for quantities.
For the Chicken Shawarma:
Begin with the Chicken: Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C). Place the Chicken Shawarma thighs on a sheet pan in a single, even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), verified with a meat thermometer. There's no need to flip the chicken; it will cook evenly in the oven. Cooking Tip: Start with the chicken first. While it's baking, you can prepare the rice. If the rice finishes early, keep it warm in the Instant Pot using the 'Keep Warm' mode.
For the Rice:
In the Instant Pot, heat avocado oil to sauté onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and garlic.
Add the tomatoes, rinsed basmati rice, chicken broth, and spices. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, then let it naturally release pressure for 3-4 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork, add a bit of avocado oil, and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Assembly: Dish the spiced rice into bowls, top with slices of the baked Shawarma chicken, and complement with hummus and Tzatziki sauce. For a finishing touch, garnish with fresh herbs or a lemon wedge if desired.
Cooking Rice on the Stovetop:
For those without a pressure cooker, stovetop rice cooking is straightforward:
- Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic until soft.
- Stir in tomatoes, basmati rice, chicken broth, and spices.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Let it stand covered for 5 minutes off the heat, then fluff with a fork.
This stovetop method ensures you still enjoy a delicious and aromatic rice dish without the need for specialized kitchen appliances. Happy cooking!
Substitutions and Variations
Dietary and Flavor Adjustments
Saffron Substitute: Omitting saffron is perfectly fine, and for an extra flavor boost, try adding a pinch of ground cumin.
Shawarma Bowl to Wrap: Convert your Shawarma bowl into a handy wrap by using warm pita bread, a great way to enjoy your meal on the go.
DIY Shawarma Marinade: No Trader Joe's nearby? Whip up a homemade shawarma marinade with lemon juice, avocado oil, garlic powder, sea salt, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, and crushed red pepper, perfect for marinating either chicken thighs or breasts.
Cauliflower Rice for Low Carb: Swap basmati rice with cauliflower rice for a healthier, low-carb version that goes well with cauliflower tabbouleh.
Vegetarian/Vegan Option: For a plant-based alternative, use jackfruit instead of chicken. Its texture is ideal for absorbing the shawarma spices.
Cooking Methods for Chicken
Stovetop Cooking: A skillet over medium heat works well for cooking the marinated chicken until it's done.
Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma: Use an air fryer for a quicker option. Place the marinated chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer for evenly cooked, slightly crispy chicken.
Seasoning and Ingredient Variations
Chicken Breasts Instead of Thighs: You can easily use chicken breasts instead of thighs. Just adjust the cooking time to ensure they remain moist.
Brown Rice Option: Opt for brown rice as a whole-grain alternative to basmati rice. Remember, it requires more cooking time and liquid.
Ground Cumin Addition: Add ground cumin to the rice or marinade for a warm, earthy flavor.
Favorite Vegetables: Add or swap in your favorite veggies in the rice or as sides. Options like carrots, spinach, or cucumbers can enhance both the nutrition and appearance of the dish.
Shawarma Wrap with Pita Bread: Make a shawarma wrap with warm pita, layering sliced chicken, rice, and a mix of vegetables.
Traditional Frying Methods: Traditional frying in a skillet is another great way to cook the marinated chicken to perfection.
These variations and substitutions offer flexibility for different dietary needs and preferences, ensuring that the Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma recipe remains a versatile and enjoyable option for any meal.
Chicken Shawarma: Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days. For freezing, place in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat to 165°F before serving.
Rice: Store cooled rice in the fridge in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Add a bit of water when reheating to retain moisture.
Tzatziki Sauce: Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5-7 days. Stir before reuse.
Assembled Bowls: Best eaten the next day when stored in the fridge in covered containers.
Note: It's not recommended to freeze the assembled bowls or Tzatziki sauce.
Blooming saffron is a crucial step to unleash its full flavor and color. To bloom saffron, grind about 20 strands with a mortar and pestle and steep them in 3 tablespoons of warm water for about 10-15 minutes. This process intensifies the spice's rich aroma and vibrant hue, enriching your dish with a deeper flavor profile and an appealing golden color. Incorporating bloomed saffron into recipes like our Mediterranean Rice elevates the overall taste and presentation of the dish.
Trader Joe's Shawarma Chicken Thighs are versatile and can be eaten in various ways. Enjoy them sliced in a wrap or pita bread, atop a salad, in a rice bowl with vegetables, or as a standalone entrée with sides. They're precooked and seasoned, making them a convenient addition to any meal.
To grill Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken thighs for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Grilling gives them a delicious charred flavor and crispy exterior.
Chicken Shawarma is not only tasty but also a good source of protein. It's versatile and can be used in various dishes, from sandwiches to salads. It's a convenient option for quick meals and is well-suited for a variety of dietary preferences.
Shawarma marinade typically includes ingredients like lemon juice, garlic, olive or avocado oil, and a blend of spices such as cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and paprika. This blend imparts a rich, savory flavor to the chicken.
Looking for other healthy dinner recipes like this? Try these:
This bowl is a complete meal but also pairs well with a side Greek salad!
More Holistic Nutrition Tips
Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma with Instant Pot Saffron Rice and Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
- Baking tray
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon
For the Rice:
- 2.5 cups basmati rice rinsed
- 2.5 cups organic chicken broth
- 1 medium onion minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes diced
- Avocado oil for sautéing and finishing
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 20 strands saffron bloomed
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the Chicken Shawarma:
- 2 lbs Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Thighs
For the Tzatziki Sauce (Cucumber-Free):
- Hummus as needed for serving
For the Rice:
- In the Instant Pot, heat avocado oil and sauté onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and garlic.
- Add tomatoes, basmati rice, chicken broth, turmeric, bloomed saffron, onion powder, garlic salt, lemon pepper, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow natural pressure release for 3-4 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, add a bit of avocado oil, and adjust seasonings.
For the Chicken Shawarma:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Bake the Chicken Shawarma thighs on a tray for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- Combine Greek yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Serve spiced rice in bowls, top with Shawarma chicken, add hummus, and a spoonful of Tzatziki sauce. Garnish optionally with fresh herbs or a lemon wedge.
I hope you enjoy making and tasting this Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma recipe as much as I loved creating it! Your feedback is invaluable, so please share your experiences in the comments below. Don’t forget to like, share, and follow on social media to stay updated with more delicious recipes. If you found this recipe helpful, save it for later so you can easily revisit it anytime. Your engagement and support mean the world to me.