We love a good rice bowl, especially one filled to the brim with mouth-watering Mediterranean flavors. And these Mediterranean rice bowls with grilled chicken tawook skewers, inspired by the same dish at Laziz Kitchen in Salt Lake City, check all the boxes necessary for a really great bowl. A nicely-spiced protein that’s anything but boring, veg galore, at least one dip/ condiment, and some sort of bread-y carb to swipe up said dip, all assembled on top of a fluffy rice pilaf makes for a stellar meal. Bonus: these rice bowls make for a great meal prep option – store the components separately and combine throughout the week for a leftover lunch you can look forward to.

Mediterranean Rice Bowl

What is tawook?

Originating from the Ottoman Empire, shish tawook (“skewered chicken”) is a simple dish of cubed chicken marinated, skewered, and grilled. The marinade consists of a base of yogurt, lemon, and garlic, and is rounded out with a variety of spices and sometimes tomato paste. As the Ottoman Empire collapsed and new countries were formed, culinary traditions from the empire became foundational to a variety of Middle Eastern cuisines. In Lebanon, shish tawook is commonly served with hummus and tabbouleh, which is our favorite way to enjoy them as well.

Prepping a Mediterranean Rice Bowl in Advance

Mediterranean rice bowls are a great meal option to prep in advance as nearly every step of the recipe can be done at least the night before. A quick how-to:

  • Chicken: The chicken is at its best flavor and texture-wise when marinated overnight. The salt, lemon, and yogurt tenderize the meat, while the garlic and spices intensify in flavor the longer they sit. Once grilled, this chicken is great in a pita sandwich or Mediterranean-style salad, as well.
  • Rice pilaf: Cook the rice a minute or two less when making ahead. The rice will continue to absorb moisture as it sits and can quickly turn gummy if cooked too long. A slightly toothsome grain is what we’re looking for.
  • Cucumber and tomato salad: Don’t be afraid to strain some of the juices from the salad after it’s sat for a bit. Add a drizzle more of olive oil and salt to taste just before serving to liven things back up.


Mediterranean Bowl with Grilled Chicken Tawook Skewers

5 from 1 vote
Brooke Eliason
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
We love a good Mediterranean rice bowl, especially one filled to the brim with mouth-watering Middle Eastern flavors.



  • 2 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 cup full fat greek yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme
  • fresh cracked pepper


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • kosher salt


  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 4 roma tomatoes or 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup loosely packed mint or parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


  • 4 slices naan or pita bread for serving
  • 8 oz. hummus for serving



  • Chop the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. In a medium-sized bowl combine the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, paprika, salt, dried oregano, and a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper. Stir in the chicken and evenly coat with yogurt mixture. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, heat grill to medium-high heat. Using wooden skewers, thread chicken onto skewers (you’ll need about 4-5). Grill chicken skewers for roughly 5-7 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165° F).


  • In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 cups of basmati rice and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, tossing rice and onions occasionally. Add broth and kosher salt* and bring to a boil. Reduce to lowest simmer possible, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed (you do not need to stir). Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Fluff with fork before serving.


  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the cucumber, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, mint or parsley, kosher salt to taste and a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper.


  • Divide the chicken kebabs, rice pilaf, and cucumber and tomato salad between four large bowls evenly. Dollop each bowl with a generous scoop of hummus (which you can drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if you want to take things up a notch) and serve with a slice or two of pita.


* When making the rice pilaf, the amount of salt needed can be extremely subjective based on the chicken broth you are using. We typically start with a teaspoon of salt and then salt to taste as the rice is cooked.

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