Chicken Shawarma Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Chicken Shawarma Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Anita Schecter
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
653 Calories
31g Fat
51g Carbs
45g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 Servings
Amount per serving
Calories 653
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 966mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Protein 45g
Calcium 294mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

All people of Middle Eastern heritage who grew up eating shawarma know the beauty of this simple and tasty dish. Nowadays, with the growing acceptance and large fan base for Middle Eastern spices and dishes, the popularity of shawarma has only increased and bred fabulous variations. The spices of the meat, once used only for animal protein, are now used to season beans, vegetables, and anything else you can think of.

Originally made with mutton, shawarma is made today with any protein of your liking, and the spices that are commonly used can be a great addition to your cupboard. Use them on beef, lamb, or tofu, or in broth or vegetable soups. Our chicken meatballs seasoned with shawarma spices and a flavorful tomato sauce are a beautiful and quick dish for lunch or dinner, and a nice way of introducing Middle Eastern spices to your family and friends. Serve over white rice or with fresh bread and a green salad.


  • For the Shawarma Spice Mix:
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: pinch cayenne pepper
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 pound chicken breast (ground)
  • 1 onion (peeled and small diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons shawarma spice (recipe below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small onion (peeled and finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (or full-fat plain yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon shawarma spice (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

Make the Shawarma Spice Mix

  1. Gather the ingredients for the spice mix.

  2. In a small bowl, make the spice mixture by combining the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Make extra by doubling or tripling the amounts and keep the mixture in a spice jar for 3 to 6 months. Set aside.

Make the Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, small diced onion, minced garlic, egg, half of the shawarma spice, salt, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Mix well.

  3. Using a one-ounce scoop (approximately), scoop out meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should get about 24 meatballs. 

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Make the Tomato Sauce

  1. While the meatballs are cooking, make the tomato sauce. Put one tablespoon of the olive oil and the diced onion into a large skillet and sauté for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent.

  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and whisk in the flour until combined.

  3. Whisk in the chicken stock.

  4. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining shawarma spice.

  5. Stir in the milk or yogurt and the chopped parsley.

  6. Taste for salt and add any if needed.

Assemble the Dish

  1. Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the sauce, cover, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Add the crumbled feta cheese and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

  3. Serve hot and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Meatballs and Other Variations

If there are any gluten allergies with your guests, follow these simple suggestions to serve a gluten-free meal:

  • Replace the flour with oat flour.
  • Replace the breadcrumbs with quick oats.
  • Double-check the chicken broth label to make sure it's gluten-free. If not, use water or homemade broth.
  • Serve with potatoes, rice, or quinoa and skip the bread.

If there are any dairy allergies:

  • Use unsweetened cashew milk instead of milk or yogurt.
  • Skip the feta cheese or use vegan parmesan on top.
  • Make sure the bread you're serving doesn't have milk ingredients in it. Go the safe route and buy an organic baguette.