Grilled chicken shawarma with homemade grilled pita bread √

Serves 8.

Note: Although making your own pita bread is easy, and fun to do with the kids, if time is of the essence, store-bought will work fine. From Meredith Deeds.


• 1/2 c. yogurt

• 2 tbsp. lemon juice

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/2 tsp. ground allspice

• 1/4 tsp. salt

For sandwiches

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 rounds Grilled Pita Bread (recipe follows) or store-bought pita, warmed on the grill

• Thinly sliced cucumbers

• Thinly sliced onions

• Thinly sliced tomatoes

• Tahini sauce (recipe follows)


In a large bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Add chicken and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat grill (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Lift the chicken out of the marinade. Grill or broil chicken until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Cut chicken into thin diagonal slices.

Slice the pita in half and, using a fork, carefully open up the pocket. Fill with the chicken and and some cucumber, onion and tomato. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 460 Fat 16 g Sodium 380 mg

Carbohydrates 45 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 87 mg

Protein 31 g Cholesterol 70 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2½ bread/starch, 3½ lean meat, 1 fat.

Tahini Sauce √

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Note: Tahini paste — which is sesame seed paste — can be found in most grocery stores. It's often found in the condiment aisle or near the pickles and olives, but occasionally appears elsewhere, so if you can't find it, ask your grocer. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1/4 c. tahini (see Note)

• 1/4 c. water

• 1 tbsp. lemon juice

• 1 tsp. minced garlic

• Pinch salt


In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk together until creamy.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 46 Fat 4 g Sodium 27 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 33 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fat.

Grilled Pita Bread √

Makes 10 pitas.

Note: Get your kids in on the act by having them help with rolling out the dough. You can substitute up to 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour for the unbleached all-purpose flour. From Meredith Deeds.

4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed

• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1 pkg. active dry yeast

• 1 1/2 c. lukewarm water

2 tbsp. olive oil; more for the bowl


Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend the salt evenly into the flour.

Add the sugar and yeast to the water and stir. Allow the water-yeast mixture to sit for about 3 or 4 minutes and when foamy on top, add olive oil. Stir.

Turn on the processor and quickly pour the yeast-water through the feed tube. Process until the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems too wet, add more all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon at a time. Remove from the food processor and form dough into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2 or 3 times to remove any air bubbles. Form into a log and divide it evenly into 10 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then roll into disks about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. Lightly oil two rimmed baking sheets. Put the disks on the baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise an additional 20 minutes.

Prepare a medium-high gas grill fire, leaving one burner off, or prepare a charcoal fire with the coals pushed to either side of the grill, leaving an area in the middle with no coals underneath.

When very hot, place the pitas on the "cooler" part of the grill in batches and cook until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Depending on how hot your grill is, you may have to move the pitas directly over the heat for a few seconds to get them to brown properly, but be careful not to burn them. Flip and continue cooking until lightly golden on the bottom and the pitas are puffed and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack. If stuffing, cut the pitas in half and carefully separate the layers with a fork.

Nutrition information per pita:

Calories 210 Fat 3 g Sodium 360 mg

Carbohydrates 39 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 9 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2½ bread/starch, ½ fat.