Who doesn't love a good shawarma? As I do not have a proper spit, I have had to come up with other ways to bring the joy of shawarma into our lives. This is a pretty darn good option, especially when you get the itch in the middle of the week. Ground chicken stands in for the sliced meat, and the fixings include well-seasoned roasted carrots and tangy quick pickles.
I highly recommend you preseason the chicken and carrot. In fact, you could prep them even as early as the night before. Season your carrot chunks at the same time as your ground chicken and let marinade until ready to bake.
If you are making your own hummus, use the garlic you've soaked for the tahini sauce part of the hummus instead of 6 fresh garlic cloves.
Chicken Shawarma Meatballs with Roasted Carrots and Quick Pickled Onions
Yield: 5 - 6 servings
2 lemons juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper
pinch of ground cinnamon
2 lbs ground chicken
2 large eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1.5 lbs carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch rounds
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
Quick pickled onions
2 small red onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider or coconut vinegar
1 T maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Aleppo
leafy lettuce greens
Season meatballs and carrots
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, Aleppo pepper, and cinnamon until smooth. Add the chicken, eggs, bread crumbs until just combined. Do not over mix at this stage. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
In a large bowl, combine carrot chunks with seasonings and drizzle with oil. Toss well to combine. Set aside until ready to roast.
Make quick pickled onions
Lay the onions into a heat-safe dish or bowl. Place the bowl in the sink, to catch any splashes of hot vinegar later.
In a small saucepan, combine the water, both vinegars, maple syrup, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then carefully pour the mixture over the onions.
Ensure that all of the onions are submerged in the hot vinegar and let the pickled onions cool to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes), at which point they should be sufficiently pickled for serving.
Refrigerate leftover pickled onions for later. Quick-pickled onions are best consumed within three days, but they keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake the meatballs and carrots
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Toss carrots and spread evenly on one baking sheet. Slide in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, shape the chilled chicken mixture into meatballs the size of a golfball and place onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them out evenly. Arrange the sliced red onions among the meatballs, making sure everything is in a single layer.
Continue roasting carrots and add the sheetpan with the meatballs, roasting until golden and slightly crispy, 25 to 30 minutes.
Once everything is baked, serve the meatballs, roasted carrots with pita, hummus, and quick pickled onions. Enjoy!