Beef Shawerma

Shawerma, along with falafel, is the street food of the Middle East. You can find shawerma shops in every neighborhood in the Middle East. Shawerma is thinly sliced meat (beef, chicken or lamb) rolled into pita sandwiches and topped with tahini or hummus, tomatoes, bell peppers, pickles, onions, and parsley. It's honestly the perfect meal, whether it's for lunch or dinner. 

This recipe is for beef shawerma. I usually marinate the meat early in the morning and let it sit in the fridge, soaking up all the spices, until dinner time. You can even marinate the beef overnight. The longer, the better. Traditionally, shawerma in the Middle East is made on a vertical, rotating grill. You can find mini ones online for home use, but it's just another unnecessary appliance to store in your kitchen cabinets. It's much easier to make it in your oven or on the stovetop. 

Shawerma is a perfect weeknight meal and it's my go to dish for busy days. You prep it and forget about it while it bakes in the oven or cooks on the stovetop. It's also perfect because it's totally customizable - you can add whatever toppings you want! 

Make this for dinner and serve with fresh pita bread, all the toppings, and a batch of french fries on the side. 

Beef Shawerma 

Servings: 4-6 servings 

Prep Time: 20 minutes 

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients: 

2 pounds beef, sliced into cubes

2 Roma tomatoes, diced 

1 white onion, sliced 

2 teaspoons salt 

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar 

1 cup water 

Parsley Tahini Dressing:

1 cup parsley, roughly chopped 

1 cup tahini 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 cup lemon juice 

1/4 cup water, or as needed

Sumac Onions:

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced 

2 tablespoons sumac 

Directions: 

1) In a bowl, combine beef, tomatoes, onion, salt, cinnamon, black pepper and vinegar. Mix and cover. Refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight. 

2) Preheat oven to 400*F. 

3) Place shawerma in a baking dish and add the water. Cover and bake for 1 hour. 

4) While the shawerma is baking, in a small bowl, combine parsley, tahini, salt, lemon juice and water. Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

5) In a small bowl, combine onions and sumac. Mix and set aside. 

6) When ready to serve, top 1/4 of your pita bread with the meat. Add the dressing and toppings and roll the pita bread. 

Notes: 

- If you prefer, you can make the shawerma on your stovetop. Cook the meat in a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat for about 45 minutes. Make sure the meat is covered with water the entire time its cooking to avoid it drying out. 

- When making the tahini dressing, you can add as much water as you prefer. It really depends on your tahini and how thick it is. I would add a tablespoon of water at a time.