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Shawarma Bowl: Two Ways!

Last week I brought you all on a little trip to Japan. This week? We are heading to the Mediterranean. Grab your sun hats. 

shawarma bowl 2 ways

Does anyone else equate chicken shawarma with late nights (and a few too many consumed beverages)? Just me? Alright. Well that’s how we tend to finish our pub nights up here in my neck of the woods.  Toronto is brimming with falafel and shawarma stands and it is probably the least expensive thing you can find.  Especially after a night of dancing, boyyyyy does it hit the spot. 

shawarma rice bowl

Before I started eating meat just a couple of years ago, I had never had Chicken Shawarma. It was all falafel wraps for this girl. To this day, falafel is still my favorite fast food dinner. 

However, when I finally tried a Chicken Shawarma Wrap, I realized I had been slightly missing out. 

Now. There is some confusion that lies with the origin of the shawarma and falafel.  To some they are merely considered “Mediterranean” cuisine, however, this term covers a very large amount of countries and cultures. I’ve been asking the question, “but what is it considered, exactly??” for years. So it was time I finally settled this for myself. 

shawarma rice bowl

Chicken Shawarma is in fact an Arabic food, originating from Turkey.  Falafel, on the other hand, seems to stir up slightly more controversy. Some say it originated in Egypt, however it is now known to be the national dish of Palastine and Israel as well. Apparently there are some pretty epic falafel debates out there…… (chick pea food fight??)

Regardless, I think we are safe to just slot them both under “Middle Eastern,” and call it a day. 

shawarma sweet potato bowl

But I digress! We aren’t here to talk about falafel anyways! 

The thing about proper chicken shawarma is that it is really all about the marinating process. Lamb, beef, chicken or fish gets married for at least one-two full days on a large vertical rotisserie. Ain’t no one got time for that!

shawarma rice bowl

The other traditional element is the specific use of spices. When researching the most common Middle Eastern spices, I was surprised at what I found! Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom were all up there, alongside the more expected cumin, parsley and turmeric. 

shawarma sweet potato bowl

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to go out and find a greasy shawarma stand but is craving all the flavor of her favorite late night take out? Create her own! And why not make it ridiculously healthy and plop it all into a beautiful bowl while she’s at it? #lovebowls

I was so excited about this bowl guys. It really comes down to the epic shawarma sauce and super easy marinade. I tried a few different combinations of spices before coming to what I think hit the spot. To get the same creaminess that usually oozes out of the pita wrap, I made the sauce using greek yogurt. It was a perfect choice. Creamy and BURSTING with flavor. 

shawarma sweet potato bowl

 The best thing about turning your favorite wrap into a bowl is the ability to make it however you wish! There are so many options. I have made a few, but have settled on my two favorites.

I made my first bowl using rice as the base, the second with mashed sweet potato. I must say – without bias – the sweet potato bowl rose to the top.

Shawarma Rice Bowl


Each bowl was then filled with similar ingredients – all reminiscent of what you would find in a shawarma pita. Tomato, red onion, cucumber, roasted beets and sauerkraut. You really need that “pickled” flavor somewhere in there, so if you didn’t have time to pickle your own onions or beets, adding sauerkraut will kindly take care of that for you. 

If you are a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Isreali/Palestine/Arabic cuisine fan as I am (really hoping to not step on any toes here), I urge you to give this super simple, elegant and delicious bowl a try! Customize it as you wish. Just don’t forget the sauce!

I've got your Shawarma cravings covered with this beautiful, healthy and customizable Shawarma Bowl: Two Ways to enjoy! Click To Tweet


Shawarma Sauce and Marinade
Serves 4
Craving that late night shawarma fix? Now you can get all the taste of the Mediterranean classic at home in a beautiful, bountiful bowl. Use this jaw dropping-ly delicious sauce as a marinade for chicken, beef, pork, fish or even tofu. and then use as a sauce for your favorite Shawarma or Falafel bowl!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1/2 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular will work)
  2. 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  3. 1 tsp dill, dried
  4. 1 tsp parsely, dried
  5. 3 garlic cloves
  6. 1/2 tsp allspice
  7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  9. 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  2. If using as a marinade and sauce, you may want to double the recipe and then divide. Marinate protein of choice for 1 hour - overnight. Cook meat according to instructions. Use the remaining sauce over your bowl of choice.
Shawarma Bowl Instructions
Rice Bowl
  1. Brown basmati rice, iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, roasted beets, sauerkraut, hummus
Sweet Potato Bowl
  1. Ice berg lettuce, mashed sweet potato, red onion, roasted beets, sauerkraut, hummus
  2. Start with a bed of ice burg lettuce, pile on all ingredients of choice, top with marinaded and cooked protein and drizzle with delicious sauce. Dig in!
mylittletablespoon http://mylittletablespoon.com/


  1. Marina @ Snackie Bird | 1st Mar 16

    I have same feelings for shawarma! Late night, a little booze and this tasty creations in the hands. Fun facts: we say shawerma instead of shawarma in my city? The regional accent, you know.

  2. chasetheredgrape | 1st Mar 16

    Delicious combo Cora! That marinade sounds amazing! I might try it out the next time we are grilling chicken!
    I have been to the Middle East a few times now and can guarantee that they sure know flavour! Spices galore! The most amazing, incredible food!

  3. SuzLyfe | 1st Mar 16

    Girl, you cook like this, and I”ll follow you anywhere!

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      Oooo.. that’s power!

  4. Kate Bennett | 1st Mar 16

    I’ve actually never had a chicken shawarma bowl, but I will gladly take one! The sauce reminds me a lot of tzatziki sauce, which I love. I think what is great about these bowls is all the colors and flavor variety. Wonderful!

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      Really!? Wow. The sauce is definitely a lot like tzatziki.. there’s just something very unique that sets shawarma flavoring apart. I think it is the allspice. I love the colors 🙂

  5. hungryforbalance | 1st Mar 16

    I’ve never had chicken swarma before! I always gravitate toward falafel as well. We don’t have that many middle eastern restaurants around here and that makes me sad. This recipe looks great! Pinned!

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      Interesting! They are on every corner here. Falafel has my heart but shawarma is a nice change up once and a while.

  6. Ellie | 2nd Mar 16

    Creative idea. Falafels are SO GOOD! Whenever I go to the farmer’s market I hit up the gyro stand and get a falafel pita. Nothing says comfort like fried chickpeas

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      Oh NICE! Especially from a farmers market. Have you ever made your own? They are actually super easy. And I know you usually have a can of chickpeas laying around…

  7. bucketlisttummy | 2nd Mar 16

    SImilar to Kate, I don’t know if I’ve had or ordered “Swarma” but I sure love Mediterranean food! Falafels are an all time fave. Your pictures look great – awesome job! Recipe sounds super delish for any late night cravings 🙂

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      If you like falafel I’m thinking you’d like these flavors. Plus…BOWLS.

  8. Hagar | 3rd Mar 16

    The fact that you like shawarma makes me feel so… Proud? I’m an Israeli girl and this is one of our traditional meals here. As you said, there is different kinds of meats but the most popular here is from a cosher meat (because jewish you know haha). Anyway, it’s my first comment here but I want you to know that I’m a huge fun of you so… you go darling!

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 16

      Oh my gosh! SO cool!! I’m so glad that a) you decided to comment and b) I hopefully spoke respectfully of a traditional meal of your culture. I would so love to travel to Isreal or anywhere in the middle east. Where do you live? Thanks again, and don’t be a stranger 🙂

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