box lunches: chicken shawarma + hummus roasted mashed potatoes

Mike left this week’s worth of lunches in a bag on the CTA early Tuesday morning. Not a great start to the week.  He was lunchless and disappointed, mostly because these chicken shawarma lunches happen to be his favorite.  Our only solace comes from the hope that some hungry stranger found them and was able to enjoy them, but who am I kidding? RIP delicious shawarma, you’re just another casualty of public transportation.


The inspiration for these lunches came from a very dark place. Some of you may be familiar with my unhealthy obsession with hummus. I know, I have a problem.  I’m yet to discover a dippable snack that isn’t heavenly smothered in it.  Pitas! Pretzels! Baby Carrots! Roasted broccoli! French fries!

And here is where things got out of control.  The french fries.  I never should have dunked a french fry in hummus.  It opened a Pandora’s box of possibilities because if there is any food obsession that rivals my obsession with hummus it would be potatoes.  Hummus and potatoes?  I need to lie down now…

The great thing about these hummus mashed potatoes is their texture.  I do not tolerate soupy mashed potatoes.  That’s why red potatoes are my favorite to mash.  This recipe takes them even further and you’re going to think I’m crazy but I need you to trust me on this one.  Roast your potatoes first.  Mash them second.  I kid you not, it will change your life.  Roasting them in the oven first gives them that really crunchy exterior and keeps the insides pillowy and soft, so they mash up perfectly chunky and creamy at the same time.  I imagine they’d pair well with any flavor combination, but the hummus adds just the right amount of tang that goes perfectly with the chicken shawarma.  Roasting the potatoes first does add a bit of time to this recipe, but I promise you it’s worth every second.


hummus roasted mashed potatoes
3 lbs red potatoes, cut into quarters
olive oil
salt + pepper
1 cup hummus
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place potatoes on a sheet pan and coat with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste. Roast potatoes in oven for approximately 1 hour, flipping halfway through.  (I always put the hummus in a glass bowl on the stove-top while the potatoes are roasting- this takes the chill off and makes it easier to incorporate later on.)  When the potatoes are finished roasting, immediately place them in a saucepan with the butter and cover with a tight fitting lid.   Let them steam for 5 minutes, allowing the butter to melt.  Mash the potatoes a bit before adding the milk.  I always start with 1/4 cup of milk to avoid soupy potatoes.  You may need to add a bit more to get the right consistency.  Once the potatoes have reached the perfect mash, mix in the hummus.

And there you have it- hummus roasted mashed potatoes.  It’s a mouthful, a wonderfully delicious mouthful.


I used this recipe for chicken shawarma.  I used 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinated them in 1.5 times the spice mixture overnight.   I also opted out of pan frying the chicken after taking it out of the oven.  If you’re going to eat it right away, I think pan frying would give it a nice little crunch, but since I microwave these lunches again at work, I find that it dries out the chicken a little too much.


The above mashed potato recipe and 3 chicken breasts cooked using the recipe linked above made enough for 8 lunches.  Roasted broccoli will probably pop up in many box lunch posts because I can’t get enough.  I like to stuff everything (potatoes included) into a pita.  It’s a great way to break up a mundane work day.

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