Create Global-Inspired Dishes with Middle Eastern Flavors

Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken Shawarma Recipe food and home VERGE Magazine

3 New Seasonings that Make it Easy
by VERGE Staff | Food and Home | Friday, November 9, 2018

Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes. Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try: 

Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil for dipping.

Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.

Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.

Recipes courtesy of


Grilled Chicken Shawarma
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Servings: 8

1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
5 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
tablespoons olive oil
tablespoon fresh lemon juice
teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
pita pockets, halved
medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
lettuce leaves

Cooking Directions: In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside. 

Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.

Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.

Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.

Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.


Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5

Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing food and home VERGE Magazine

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
tablespoons pomegranate juice
tablespoon honey
teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
cup shelled roasted pistachios
cup dried cranberries
cups baby arugula
cup crumbled feta cheese

 In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.

Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.

Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.


Za’atar Labneh
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)

Za’atar Labneh recipe food and home VERGE Magazine

1 cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
tablespoon olive oil
pita bread, for serving (optional)
pita chips, for serving (optional)
sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)

Directions: In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning. 
Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.


Source and photos courtesy of McCormick.

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