Chicken Shawarma Nachos

colorful chicken shawarma nachos on a sheet pan with a glass of wine

Sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and Chicken Shawarma Nachos! So excited to bring these to light today, guys. Along with this recipe, comes to light my love of couch-eating off a big platter or, in this case, sheet pan. There are other ways to eat nachos but they’re no good, I promise. The best way is seated on the couch, with the coffee table pulled up to your knees, hunched over a hot pan of colorful, crispy Chicken Shawarma Nachos, devouring them with your husband/partner/best friend/imaginary friend (the extra body there helps you feel like it’s a super fun thing you’re doing and not just a weird, messy, stuff-your-face session). So now you know what Joey and I did on Saturday night while we caught up on TV. This is pretty much an ideal night for me.

colorful chicken shawarma nachos on a sheet pan with a glass of wine and a hand grabbing a chip

Can we please explore this rainbow of chicken, chips, cheese, and veggies? Work. Of. Art. Right? Chicken Shawarma, in its classic form, is a love letter to my taste buds. It’s Middle Eastern street food that usually combines that hot, juicy shaved meat that rotates on a vertical spit all day, seasoned with all the warm spices we love: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, etc., with fresh and pickled veggies, sometimes served as a sandwich on flatbread or pita. So, I’ve just morphed all that action into nachos for our collective couch-eating delight.

DIY Shawarma flavor

As much as I want a vertical, rotating rotisserie in my house, one has not appeared yet. My work-around is roasted, skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. You can use whatever chicken you prefer, even leftover cooked chicken works and will shave about 40 minutes off this recipe. Buuuuuttt… I like chopping up the chicken skin after its absorbed all those spices, then crisping it up in a pan while I’m searing the roasted chicken in the leftover juices. Not necessary, but will increase your enjoyment of this by, like 10. (I also shortcut some of the individual spices by using curry powder and garam masala.)

chicken thighs, rubbed with spices, roasted on a pan
Save those juices to sear the chicken in later.

Back to the nachos, there’s two layers of salty, crisp yellow corn tortilla chips here with melty smears of cheese and hunks of warmly spiced chicken. Then, because contrast is king, tangy purple cabbage, crisp cucumber and tomato, spicy jalapeno, sweet and sour pickled onions, salty feta, crunchy pistachios and a smooth, sour cream/tahini drizzle to tie it all together. It’s a bed of flavor, adorned with gobs of more flavor.

Get after it!

chicken shawarma nacho on a sheet pan with someone grabbing a chip
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Chicken Shawarma Nachos

Spiced, seared chicken nachos with fresh veggies, pickled onions, feta, and a sour cream/tahini drizzle! All the flavors of shawarma, in nacho form!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

for the chicken

FOR THE CABBAGE

  • 1/4 of a head of purple cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t lemon juice

Toss the cabbage in the salt, let sit 15 minutes. Toss with lemon juice.

for the pickled onions

Combine the following (stir to make sure sugar dissolves), let sit 15 minutes.

  • 1/2 a red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t sugar
  • 3/4 t salt

for the creamy drizzle

Whisk together the following:

  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 3 T tahini 
  • 2 T water

for the rest

  • 1/2 a bag of tortilla chips (I use Mission brand yellow, round chips)
  • about 4C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 an English cucumber, diced
  • crumbled feta
  • pistachios, finely chopped

Instructions

for the chicken

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Coat the chicken with olive oil and spices, let sit for 30 minutes, if you have time. Bake for 35 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 160. Remove from the oven and let cool. *Save the juices that are on the pan!
  2. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and chop it into small pieces. Remove the chicken from the bones and slice into strips. 
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of the juices from the pan into a skillet over high heat and add the chicken and chicken skin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin is crispy and the chicken has some char marks – 8 to 10 minutes.

assembling the nachos

  1. Switch the oven to broil.
  2. Spread 1/2 the tortilla chips in a single layer on a baking sheet and top with 1/2 the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 the chicken and chicken skin. Top with the remaining chips and mozzarella and place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  3. Top with the remaining chicken and chicken skin, followed by the cabbage, pickled onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, and cucumber.
  4. Drizzle with the sour cream/mayo/tahini mixture and sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped pistachios.

Notes

If you don’t want to deal with bone-in, skin-on chicken, use whatever chicken you prefer. Even leftover, cooked chicken would work – just shred it up, toss it in the spices, and sear it w/ a bit of oil in the pan for a minute. That’ll shave about 40 minutes off the time for this recipe.

If you have leftover ingredients/toppings/drizzle sauce, they make a super delicious rice bowl the next day!

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