Beef shawarma is the ultimate mediterranean street food that is widely known and popular even outside of the Middle East. But what you may not know is that beef shawarma is surprisingly really easy to make at home with very minimal ingredients and effort. I grew up eating my mom’s homemade shawarma and I’m going to show you how to make it too!
What is shawarma?
It’s a street-food classic that’s basically grilled beef or chicken heavily marinated in olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and warm spices, cooked on a revolving pit and then shaved off for sandwiches. Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods, but especially popular in the Middle East. It can be served on a plate with accompaniments or in a sandwich or wrap, which is more common.
The spices I used for my Chicken Shawarma can also be used for Beef Shawarma, but at the Mediterranean grocery store I shop at, they have different pre-mixed Shawarma spices so buy one of of each. Specifically, the beef shawarma spices included all spice, black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sumac.
How do you make shawarma
Well, I definitely don’t have a revolving pit in my home kitchen! Goals, though, amiright?! So what I usually do is order lean sirloin that is cut into strips. At the butcher where I buy it, I just tell them beef shawarma, and they know exactly what I’m talking about!
The goal with this dish is to tenderize the beef with the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and the spice combination and let it marinade for at least one hour, preferably overnight. You can also toss some sliced onions and lemon zest on top, but this part is optional.
And this is what it looks like when it’s all mixed up.
When I’m ready to cook it, I transfer the marinated beef shawarma to a pot and throw on some slices of lemon.
If it marinated long enough, the meat will look very tender and almost cooked, so it really only needs 10-15 minutes to thoroughly cook it stovetop. Then it’s up to you how you serve it, roll it, wrap it or top it. I usually make 2 pounds of it and we eat it for 2-3 days. My kids love making their own sandwiches with it!
How do you make the tahini sauce
A lot of people will agree that the most important part of a beef shawarma wrap or sandwich is the tahini sauce that it goes with it. I make mine super simple by whisking freshly minced garlic with lemon juice and tahini paste and once it’s all blended, I add the water to get it to the consistency I like. It is EVERYTHING in this recipe!!
What to serve with beef shawarma
This is the fun part! I mean look at all those colors! For the toppings and/or accompaniments if you’ve having this over rice or as a salad, use whatever you like! Traditionally, there’s tomatoes, cucumber pickles and red onions in addition to parsley and pickled turnips. But you can also added shredded lettuce, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, olives, lemon zest and really make it your own way!
I make my kids pick two things to add to their wraps, and it’s usually pickles and tomatoes. Color quota fulfilled for the day!
The assembly line meals are always the funnest! I usually use thin pita bread for my wraps.
Then I roll it up and cut it half and eat with a side of baked potato wedges.
You can also use thick pita or naan bread to make the wraps. Just don’t skimp out on the veggies.
More Lebanese recipes
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Beef Shawarma Wrap recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
- 2 lbs lean sirloin cut into strips
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- Juice of two lemons plus zest
- 2 Tbsp Shawarma seasoning
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion minced
- 1/2 cup Tahini paste
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 Large pita breads
- Roma tomatoes sliced
- Red onion sliced
- Flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- To make the marinade, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, shawarma seasoning and garlic until well combined in a large bowl.
- Add the sirloin steak strips to the bowl and toss to fully coat the beef. with the marinade. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably a few hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, add the onion slices and lemon slices, if desired, then transfer to a bottom-heavy pot and bring the mixture to a boil on high heat. Turn the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
- To make the tahini sauce, place all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend until well combined.
- To assemble the pita, place the beef shawarma on the pita bread, top with the vegetables of choice, drizzle the tahini sauce on top and roll up.
- Marinade: It’s important to marinade this for at least one hour so it can allow the beef to become tender and succulent. You can marinade it up to 2-3 days in advance actually and the long the better.
- Potatoes: You can find those baked potato wedges recipe here