Shish Tawook

Marinated and grilled Shish Tawook (chicken on skewers) is served over cooked quinoa with smooth hummus and a cool, creamy tzatziki sauce.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese, Mediterranean
Keyword chicken tawook, shish tawook
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 456 kcal



  • 1 large juicy lemon (1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even 2 inch pieces
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

For Serving

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 2 cups water or chicken broth (See Note 1)
  • 1 10-ounce container hummus (or make your own)
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, (or 1 large English cucumber) halved and then thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Pita Chips (Optional)

  • 4 pieces white pita bread
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 Persian cucumber (or 1/3 of 1 English cucumber) (1/2 cup grated)
  • 1/2 cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. MARINATE CHICKEN: Prepare the chicken breasts by patting dry with paper towel, cutting into even 2-inch pieces and placing in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients: 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3/4 cup yogurt, 5 cloves of finely minced garlic, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, salt and pepper (to taste; about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Whisk until combined and then pour over the chicken. Stir to generously coat the chicken, cover, and chill. Marinate for 2-24 hours.

  2. TZATZIKI: After making the chicken marinade, make this sauce so it can chill and flavors can develop before serving. Grate a cucumber with the large holes of a cheese grater. Line a small bowl with a few paper towels (or clean kitchen towel) and place the grated cucumber on top. Squeeze as much extra moisture from the cucumber as you can (to keep the sauce from being watery). Once it's drained, place in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the Greek yogurt, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper). Place in the fridge until ready to serve. Whisk with a fork right before serving.

  3. COOK CHICKEN: Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill for medium-high heat (400-450 degrees F on an outdoor grill) and generously oil the grates. Thread the chicken onto metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers). Cook on preheated grill until the chicken is golden and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side.

  4. PITA CHIPS AND TOMATO/CUCUMBER: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with Silpat liner or parchment paper. Cut each pita into 8 triangles and arrange evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the triangles and then use a pastry brush to spread the oil evenly onto the pita bread. Flip the bread and repeat. Sprinkle with salt (about 1/4 teaspoon). Bake for 10 minutes, flipping the pita bread on the other side halfway through bake time. Serve warm with the chicken. For the tomato/cucumber salad, add the halved tomatoes and thinly sliced cucumbers halves to a bowl. Drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper (to taste).

  5. ASSEMBLE: With the back of a spoon, spread hummus on the base of 4 large plates. Divide the cooked quinoa evenly among the plates. Divide chicken skewers evenly among the plates. Top with tomato/cucumber, and finally drizzle even parts of tzatiki sauce (or serve on the side) over plates. Divide up the pita chips. Season individual plates with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: to cook the quinoa: add the quinoa, broth or water, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt to a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the broth/water is absorbed. Remove from heat, keeping the pot covered, and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.