We have often wondered what to serve with beef shawarma. There are so many amazing sides out there but which pair best with the tender meat that is beef shawarma?
We are going to explore that question and answer today! To choose the best side dish for beef shawarma, you need to consider the flavors of the beef.
Shawarma is a classic Middle Eastern dish that is made by stacking meat on a rotating spigot and slow roasting it. The tender, juicy meat is cut against the grain to create thin pieces of perfect sandwich meat. It is incredible!
Seasoning on Beef Shawarma
Most beef shawarma has a zesty, bold seasoning. Paprika, cumin, cloves, and turmeric are all common spices in any beef shawarma recipe.
Keep the shawarma spice in mind as you search for the perfect side dish for beef shawarma.
Think about other Middle Eastern dishes, too. Great food pairings often come from the same place!
Beef Shawarma Side Dishes
Take a look at this fantastic list of perfect beef shawarma side dishes. There is something on this list for every season and to suit every person’s personal tastes.
1. Skinny Greek Bruschetta
A light side dish is sometimes exactly what you need with hearty beef shawarma. Beef shawarma is often made with flank steak which can be very filling. This skinny tomato bruschetta is the perfect side!
Our skinny bruschetta is made with fresh chopped tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Feta cheese is added to the mix giving the bruschetta a creamy twist. It is savory, delicious, and has a middle east twist.
Give the skinny bruschetta mix even more of a Middle Eastern twist by adding some ground cumin or turmeric to the tomato mix. A little extra shawarma seasoning is always good!
Rather than put the tomatoes on top of a French baguette, stuff the bruschetta into a beef shawarma wrap or a pita bread with beef shawarma. It is a perfect street food creation!
2. Pita Bread
A beef shawarma sandwich is a classic Middle Eastern street food. Beef shawarma is typically stuffed inside pita bread or made into a beef shawarma wrap. We especially love the pita bread version of this tasty food.
Try making homemade pita bread using this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish. Homemade pita bread is not only very tasty, but it is also fun to make.
Flour, salt, water, and yeast are mixed together to create a soft dough. The dough rises and is then divided into individual balls. Roll the balls into pita-sized circles.
The main idea behind pita bread is the way the bread puffs as it cooks. The puffed bread will have a pocket in the center that is perfect for stuffing with beef shawarma meat.
Pita puffs are best when placed on a hot tray or pizza stone. Preheat a try and then slide the rolled dough onto the hot tray to give it instant heat.
The results of the soft sandwich bread will be fantastic!
Wrap your cooked pita bread in a large zippered freezer bag and freeze it for later. Anytime you need a fresh, homemade pita, you can pull one out of the freezer, let it thaw, and then enjoy.
It’s nice to have homemade bread on hand. There are so many more Lebanese recipes that use pita, you are sure to need extra bread!
3. Cucumber Salad
Fresh cucumber salad is a nice, crunchy side to serve with your thin slices of beef shawarma. The crisp texture of the cucumbers and red onions are amazing with the tender meat.
Try this cucumber salad from Cooking Classy. It is a super easy recipe that is packed with flavor.
Sliced cucumber, sliced onions, and fresh garlic make up the bulk of the recipe. Dill and parsley are the main herbs used in the red onion mix.
The dressing for the salad is made with mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, and ground black pepper. Use regular white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar as needed.
You just may want to add a splash of extra honey! Use white sliced onions of sliced shallots in place of red onions if needed.
This will give the cucumber salad a stronger bite. Just be sure to cut the onion in nice, thin strips so they aren’t too potent. You want to be able to taste your beef shawarma!
4. Oven Roasted Vegetables
Beef shawarma is such a hearty dish. Between the dense flank steak and the powerful shawarma seasoning, you may want to choose a side dish that is a little lighter. A side dish packed with vegetables may be just what you need.
We love these oven-roasted vegetables from A Couple Cooks. They are super simple to make and only require a single sheet pan. Less clean-up is always great!
Cauliflower, broccoli, red onion, sweet potato, and bell pepper are all chopped and spread on a sheet pan. A quick drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Old Bay is added to the veggies.
Roast the vegetables until they just begin to brown and caramelize.
Use your favorite vegetables to make this perfect dish. Add squash, potatoes, or even tomatoes to the mix. Any hearty vegetable will roast well.
We like to replace the Old Bay seasoning in this recipe with shawarma seasoning. This makes the meal a little more cohesive. Everyone loves that spicy shawarma seasoning and it goes great with these simple vegetables.
5. Marinated Olives and Feta
A big beef shawarma bowl with delicious toppings is one of our favorite meals. These marinated olives with feta from What’s Gaby Cooking are the perfect topping to add to any beef shawarma bowl.
They will give your bowl so much flavor that you may want to lick the bowl clean! Olives and feta are tossed in a shallow dish with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
The longer the mix marinates, the more flavorful it will get. Try to make the side dish a few days in advance to really increase the flavor of your shawarma bowls.
Use the marinade sauce from the olives and cheese as a dressing for your shawarma bowls. It will taste delicious poured over your tender cooked flank steak. Stuff the olives, cheese, and beef shawarma in a sandwich for yummy, easy meals.
6. Pickled Turnips
Pickled turnips are a very unique side that is often served with beef shawarma. You will find lots of pickled turnips inside classic beef shawarma bowls and on any traditional shawarma sandwich. The reason is that they are so flavorful!
The strong, acidic flavor of pickled turnips goes well with the meaty taste of roasted sirloin tip. The vinegar also compliments the spicy shawarma spices. Pickled turnips are a traditional Middle Eastern street food for sure!
Make this classic side dish for beef shawarma using this recipe from Taste of Artisan. It is pretty easy to make but does require the turnips to sit in the pickling liquid for five days. Plan ahead and double the batch so you always have some on hand!
To make turnips, you simply need to peel and slice the vegetable then submerge it in a mix of water, kosher salt, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. As the turnips sit, they become pickled and preserved.
You may want to eat some right out of the jar!
7. Tzatziki Sauce
A creamy, yogurt-based tzatziki sauce may be just what you need to top your beef shawarma bowl. This easy recipe from Wholesome Yum is delicious and simple.
The tzatziki sauce is a classic Middle Eastern sauce that is used on everything from gyros to a beef shawarma wrap. It can even be used as a salad dressing or a dip for sliced vegetables.
The base of tzatziki sauces is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. You can find Greek yogurt in your local grocery store.
Add the Greek yogurt to a small bowl then follow the recipe, mixing in olive oil, lemon juice, dill, chopped parsley, garlic, salt, and shredded cucumber. Simply stir and then enjoy! We wish more recipes were this easy!
You can add some of your favorite shawarma spices to your tzatziki to liven it up. A pinch of ground cloves or a dash of cayenne pepper will give your sauce a little personality. We can’t get enough of those warm spices!
8. Tahini Sauce
A smooth, creamy, rich tahini sauce may be exactly what you need to round out your shawarma recipe. We absolutely love this recipe for homemade tahini sauce from Downshiftology.
It only takes a few minutes to make but the end result is a versatile, flavorful sauce.
Tahini paste is the base of this sauce recipe. Tahini is simply ground sesame seeds. The paste has a nutty flavor that is unbeatable.
Mix in lemon juice, minced garlic, sea salt, and cumin. Try using a food processor to blend the ingredients together easily. You may need to add a little water to make the sauce the perfect consistency.
Tahini sauce is great to drizzle over a large bowl of beef shawarma and rice. The nutty taste brings out the flavor in the slow-roasted meat. Try sprinkling a few red pepper flakes over the bowl to add a spicy, medium heat to the dish.
You can also serve tahini sauce as a side dish for your beef shawarma. Tahini sauce and sliced vegetables pair well and make for a perfect appetizer.
9. Grilled Halloumi
Fire up your outdoor grill and get ready to make a perfect, cheesy side dish. Once you have tried this recipe from Healthy Recipes, you will be hooked!
Halloumi is a very interesting Middle Eastern cheese. It has a salty flavor and bright white color like mozzarella. However, halloumi does not melt when heated. It holds its shape even when fully cooked and heated through!
Grilled halloumi is easy to make and a perfect side dish to serve alongside your beef shawarma recipes. Slice the halloumi cheese and brush it with oil.
Place the cheese slices on the preheated grill and cook until they are golden brown.
The crispy outside of the cheese gives way to a tender, soft center. Eat the grilled halloumi on its own or place a slice on top of a shawarma sandwich.
Take a big bite and don’t worry about saturated fat or nutrition calories- it is worth every bite!
Before grilling your halloumi, sprinkle it with your favorite warm spices. A pinch of ground cloves, turmeric, cayenne, or cumin can help give the cheese even more flavor.
Brush the cheese with your favorite marinade to add juicy flavor as well. You can’t go wrong with marinated halloumi! Use any extra marinade as a dressing for your beef shawarma bowl.
10. Lebanese Rice
Beef shawarma is a Middle Eastern specialty. Therefore, it goes great with Lebanese recipes. This recipe for Lebanese rice from Feel Good Foodie is the perfect side to serve with your favorite beef shawarma recipe.
The rice recipe begins by toasting white rice and skinny vermicelli noodles. Toast the rice and pasta mix in a hot, large skillet with just a little olive oil. Toasting the noodles and rice gives them a roasted, nutty flavor.
Use white, long-grain rice for the best results. You can try using brown rice but you will need to cook the rice a little longer. Brown rice is heartier and needs more water and cooking time to become tender.
Cook the rice in water, simmering it over low heat until it is perfectly tender. A touch of cinnamon will give the rice that Middle East flavor.
Serve your cooked beef shawarma directly on top of the rice for a fantastic beef shawarma bowl.
Add some tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and a little feta cheese to make the beef shawarma bowl complete. This rice may be simple but the nutty, cinnamon taste is perfect with tender, sliced skirt steak.
Perfect Side Dishes for Beef Shawarma Bowl
There are so many fantastic side dishes you can choose from to perfectly complement your beef shawarma. From rice to flavorful sauces to coat the meat, you can find a side dish on this list to suit everyone’s tastes.
Let us know which recipes you try and which are your favorites! Enjoy.
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