Crisp wines such as Sparkling Wine, Rosé, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc pair best with Chicken Shawarma spread on top of rice or stuffed into a pita. If the Chicken Shawarma is heavy on the garlic sauce, dry versions of these wines mentioned above will fare better. If the Shawarma has a bit of a kick to it with some heat, go for off-dry (slightly sweet) versions of these wines.
Shawarma will vary from every restaurant. Some restaurants might allow some customization where you build your Chicken Shawarma like a submarine sandwich at a sub shop. Other Shawarma joints will be more traditional, and may only serve a one size fits all Shawarma style where no customization is offered. All of the wines recommended will pair up with any variant of Shawarma, including Shawarma served with rice, French fries, falafel, or tabbouleh salad.
Best Wine with Chicken Shawarma
Sparkling Wine & Chicken Shawarma Pairing
My top wine to pair with Chicken Shawarma would be a Sparkling Wine such as a Spanish Cava or an Italian Prosecco. These affordable sparkling wines offer just the right amount of flavour without getting in the way of the myriad of ingredients your Shawarma may contain. Chopped-up bell peppers, onions, pickled beets, pickles, black olives, banana peppers and lettuce all go quite well with the apple, toast, citrus and pear flavours of sparkling white wine.
Furthermore, a dry Sparkling wine will be crisp and acidic, thus it cuts through the rich and creamy garlic sauce that your Chicken Shawarma meal is often drowning in. As the acidity of the sparkling white wine zips around your mouth, it also ensures you’ll taste every ingredient shoved into your stuffed Shawarma pita.
Sparkling wine is made in a variety of styles that range from bone dry to sweet, so you’ll have to inspect your bottle carefully. I would not recommend a sweet Sparkling wine with Shawarma, however, for Shawarma tossed in a hot sauce instead of a garlic sauce, an off-dry Sparkling wine will work wonders. Off-Dry means the wine is slightly sweet, and this fleeting sweetness helps put out the fire in your mouth caused by the heat in the hot sauce. Meanwhile, for a creamy and garlicky Chicken Shawarma, either a dry or off-dry Sparkling wine will be delicious.
Rosé & Chicken Shawarma Pairing
Dry Rosé is produced to go with a wide variety of foods, thus, this crisp pink wine is a safe bet with a customized Chicken Shawarma stuffed into a pita. Onion, olives, shredded lettuce, baby spinach, tomatoes, pickled beets, and diced bell peppers are all friends with quiet cherry, raspberry, strawberry, citrus, and herbal flavours hidden away in your bottle of Rosé
In North America, Rosé is often a hard sell as men find it emasculating drinking anything pink. People also often assume it will taste sugary as the colour resembles that of a wine cooler, which is a popular beverage among young female college students. I assure you, however, Rosé is often quite dry, and there is no better wine to enjoy and cool you down with Chicken Shawarma out on a sunny patio or at a picnic table in the sun.
Riesling & Chicken Shawarma Pairing
Riesling is an acidic and crisp white wine featuring bright flavours of lemon, lime, apricot, green apple and minerals. Similar to sparkling wine, a dry Riesling is more suited towards a creamy Shawarma. Here, the zingy of Riesling will cut through the creamy, garlicky richness and mingle perfectly with all the seasoned poultry and fresh ingredients inside your stuffed pita. This is important as while we all love the creamy, garlicky sauce, it only takes a few bites before it overwhelms our taste buds, and for the remainder of our meal, it’s all we ever taste. With a sip of Riesling, your palate is cleared, and all those fresh vegetable flavours like olives, onions, green bell peppers and baby spinach can once more be enjoyed.
Meanwhile, an off-dry Riesling is delicious with a spicy Shawarma. You’ll be thankful for the refreshing citrus flavours of lemon and lime when the fiery spices singe your tongue as the residual sugar smothers out those eye-watering flames.
Wine enthusiasts go nuts for German Riesling, and Germany does make amazing Riesling. However, you’ll also find local Riesling that will be just as incredible, provided you live near a region that makes white wine. With Chicken Shawarma, I’d always suggest buying local if you can, as you’re bound to find a new favourite white wine that you’ll come to adore for years.
Sauvignon Blanc and Chicken Shawarma Pairing
The first time I ever had Chicken Shawarma, I had paired it with an Australian Sauvignon Blanc, and the pairing was awful. At the time, I did not realize my Shawarma was spicy, so the dry Sauvignon Blanc made it taste like burn. So if your Chicken Shawarma has some heat to it, keep Sauvignon Blanc far, far away from it.
On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc is fantastic with Chicken Shawarma drowning in a creamy garlic sauce. With its notes of grapefruit, lime and lemon, Sauvignon Blanc wastes no time cutting through the rich garlic sauce and penetrating the Chicken and vegetable flavours which are in your stuffed pita. Sauvignon Blanc also has green notes of grass and herbs, which make it fabulous with the green notes of the garlic sauce and the herb-seasoned Chicken.
Beaujolais Villages & Chicken Shawarma Pairing
I much prefer white wine with Chicken Shawarma over red wine, however, a light and fruity Beaujolais-Villages does make a nice pairing, particularly if your Chicken Shawarma is easy on the garlic sauce, and includes tomatoes.
Beaujolais-Villages is your classic picnic wine as it’s light-bodied and fruity with notes of cherry, strawberries and raspberry. You’ll also find some subtle herbal, earthy and black pepper notes which add a bit of complexity to the mix. Low in tannin, you’ll find plenty of acidity to cut through the creamy garlic Shawarma Sauce. Finally, the snappy acidity of Beaujolais also makes all the various ingredients in your Shawarma taste heavenly.
If your Shawarma is tossed in a hot sauce instead of garlic sauce, the low tannin and low alcohol content of Beaujolais will ensure your mouth won’t erupt with fire every time you take a sip. Instead, the fun and lively nature of Beaujolais will keep the hot sauce pain to a minimum.