Shawarma sandwich

November 3, 2015  •  Category: ,

shawarma sandwich

I was just alerted to the fact that today is National Sandwich Day. I should keep-up with these…celebrations? announcements? gimmicks? I will add that to my list of 2016 resolutions.
What does one look for in a sandwich? Lately, I have decided that a sandwich should have the equivalent of a complete meal, except in sandwich form. The Lebanese shawarma fits the bill since it contains meat (or chicken), raw veggies,herbs, tahini sauce, pickles and bread.

There are many versions of shawarma. This one below is from one of the most popular TV chef in the Arab region, Mrs. Manal el-Alem. I have my own recipe in the cookbook and have posted yet another on the blog a few years back. I have only slightly adapted Manal El-Alem’s recipe.
If you care to see my shawarma video, here is the link. It was shot on location in Lebanon.

The spices used in this recipe can be changed according to your taste. In the video, I add some cardamom and a few pieces of mastic.

I have also posted a fish shawarma recipe (my own) ; I have done a video for it as well.

shawarma sandwich

Shawarma sandwich

Joumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern November 3, 2015 Main Dish, Sandwiches, shawarma, sandwich, grilledmeat, tahini, pitabread, rawveggies, tagged,

6 servings


2 pounds tender beef roast sliced against the grain into thin ribbons (it is easier to freeze the meat first for 30 minutes before slicing it)
1 Tbsp mashed garlic or garlic paste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp shawarma spices (in Middle-Eastern stores); see note below
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I skip this)
3 to 5 Tbsp sumac
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup or more cucumber pickles
Pita bread (one per serving)
*I like to add sliced tomatoes to my sandwich

Tahini sauce (tarator)
1 cup tahini
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp vinegar (I prefer all lemon juice)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I substitute mashed garlic)


1. Place the meat with all the spices, oil and vinegar in a pyrex; cover and marinate several hours or overnight. Leave out the tomatoes and peppers.

2. Heat a large skillet, drain the meat and panfry over medium heat stirring frequently till cooked. Add the tomatoes, peppers, rest of the spices, panfry for a few minutes; add about one cup of water and cook over reduced heat for about 15 minutes longer.

3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the tahini sauce; place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk till creamy, adding more water or lemon juice if it is too thick or to taste.

4. Place the onion slices in a bowl, add the sumac and toss; add the vinegar if you like, but drain the onions when adding to the sandwiches. Open each pita, slather with the tahini sauce, add about one cup of the shawarma slices (with the cooked veggies), then some onion, parsley,pickles and (or) sliced tomatoes if desired. Roll-up and serve immediately.

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8 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Simply mouthwatering! Shawarma and tahini sauce are two of my favorite things…



  2. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Je vote pour ton sandwich, moi ! Superbe !!!

  3. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    Beautiful! A good shawarma is such a pleasure.

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi Joumana, I love your blog and I also purchased your book which is wonderful. Would you please provide the recipe for the beef shawarma spice mix. I don’t like to buy already mixed spices and I usually make them at home. For the shawarma I usually mix Cardamom, mastic, all spice and some black pepper but I was curious to know how you make it

    • Joumana says:

      @Sandra: I think you covered the main spices! I use a tiny bit of cinnamon also, no more than 1/3 teaspoon and I also use 1/2 tsp ground cumin. So glad to hear you enjoy the blog and book. Take care 🙂

  5. Arabic Guy says:

    Shawarma is awesome! Had a couple of them last Week in Cologne! I

  6. Nana says:

    Hello all the way from Sydney, Australia! Your cookbook was delivered to me just 2 days ago and already I have made 5 dishes, including the above sharawma. Hands down this is the best I’ve ever eaten, my husband and two children wholeheartedly agree too. Thankyou so much for your passion for Lebanese food, I showed my mum your cookbook and she was exclaiming about the old fashioned recipes that she had not eaten since she was a child in Lebanon! Thankyou and may you keep on sharing these wonderful recipes!

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