Raq’n Recipes: Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

My MENAHT inspired costume.

My first experience with chicken shawarma was at the Castle of Muskogee Renaissance Festival earlier this month. I was visiting the fair with my friend and her daughter, and due to allergies, we had to find food that was both egg and dairy free. Having been the last several years, we were familiar with a halal booth offering Middle Eastern cuisine. The vendor is no longer halal, as they serve pork kabobs, but the owner assured us everything was egg and dairy free.

We got the shawarma plate with pita, and hummus, and a bunch of veggies I didn’t eat, and Israeli pickles (that I also didn’t eat). I stuffed a pita with some shawarma and hummus and had a nice little wrap. Up until that moment, I had never had hummus, despite being involved in dance for several years. It was different, but it wasn’t bad.

I decided to pick up a tub of garlic hummus and looked up a ton of chickpea recipes on Pinterest. I’ve yet to try any of them, but I have a few cans of chickpeas in my cabinet. I’m not sure how I ended up on shawarma recipes, but that was my project this week.

I sort of used this recipe from Jo Cooks, although, I was only cooking for me, so 3 chicken breasts was way more than I needed for myself. So I had to reduce the recipe. I’m more of an eyeballer than a precise cook, so I reduced, but not by 2/3 exactly. I also ditched the onion, because onions make me ill, and the parsley because I didn’t have any.

These are the rough measurements I ended up using.

  • 1 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • 1 tsp smoked paprikaPicsArt_05-25-04.34.13
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tbsp 100% lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

I marinated my chicken for 24 hours. I didn’t initially intend to do that, but I went out with family the day I planned to cook it, so it got shelved for a day. I mixed all my spices and liquids together and coated the chicken breast and put a lid on the bowl and popped it in the fridge. I flipped it over after several hours, before I went to work, so the other side got some love too.

When I was ready to cook, I put the chicken in a smallish Pyrex baking dish and baked it for 45 minutes at 425 F (218 C). I flipped the oven over to broil and left the chicken in there while I toasted a pita bread brushed with olive oil. I took the chicken out and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing it up.

I spread a layer of garlic hummus on the pita and sprinkled some hemp seeds on it for some extra texture. I added the chicken and a sprinkle of reduced fat feta cheese and had a tasty chicken shawarma wrap.

I also tried to make turmeric rice, but that was a bit of a disaster, so we aren’t going to talk about that.

My first attempt at Middle Eastern (inspired?) food was a success. Next time I might even try making my own flat bread or even my own hummus. I’ll definitely use a less tangy hummus next time.

But until then, Ma’as-Salaamah!



Raq’n Recipes: Purple Power Smoothie

I think part of anyone’s dance journey is some sort of fitness regimen, so as part of my dance life, I wanted to share the occasional healthy or culturally relevant recipe.

Today, I’ve got for you the Purple Power Smoothie, a vegan nutrition-packed breakfast (or any meal option) for dancers and non-dancers alike. I’m a picky girl and have never been good at getting in my fruits and veggies. Smoothies are a great way for me to make almost anything palatable.

Except bananas. I can’t even with bananas for some reason.


Everything in this smoothie is a fresh whole food with no refined sugars. Anything I could find in organic locally, I got, but non-organic options also work, of course.

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3/4 – 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 medium hass avocado (preferably chilled or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole chia seeds
  • 1 tsp raw honey (or 100% maple syrup/agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Add spinach and almond milk to blender and run until spinach is minced well. Add all fruit next and blend for a bit before adding the seeds. You might need to use an icing spatula to scrape the sides and fold in the seeds a bit before blending again. Lastly, add your honey and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Serve in an insulated cup to preserve texture longer. The lemon juice is optional, but I added it to cut through the sweetness of the blueberries.

This may seem high calorie, but it is meant to be a meal by itself. I’ve provided the nutritional info according to My Fitness Pal below. Packed full of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and other nutritious goodness, I think it makes for a good, high-energy breakfast.


Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 434
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25 g 39 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 161 mg 7 %
Potassium 678 mg 19 %
Total Carbohydrate 39 g 13 %
Dietary Fiber 17 g 69 %
Sugars 18 g
Protein 18 g 37 %
Vitamin A 40 %
Vitamin C 39 %
Calcium 38 %
Iron 37 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.