Middle Eastern-Spiced Beef Shawarma Bowls Recipe

You may want to try this Middle Eastern-spiced beef shawarma bowl recipe when you're looking to switch out your standard burrito bowl for a new set of flavors (but with the same general idea). "This beef shawarma is ideal for feeding a family," says recipe developer Ashley Altan of Crave-Worthy. "The cut of beef is inexpensive and tasty, and once cooked, it can be eaten in a variety of ways, including stuffing it into a pita pocket, rolling it into a tortilla, or even serving it over a bowl of buttered rice with toppings like hummus, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers." And this last iteration is precisely what you get when you serve beef shawarma in its bowl-like form — a well-balanced, flavor-packed mix of veggies, grains, and meats.

But as you dig into this hearty, meaty entree, just know that Altan warns against skipping the sauce; it's the full combination of flavors that will leave you craving a second bowl. So go ahead and get cooking — and if you want extra beef to stuff into a pita to take to work with you the next day, just double up on the ingredients for the beef and marinade.

Gather the ingredients for Middle Eastern-spiced beef shawarma bowls

The ingredients list for the beef shawarma bowls is a bit long, but you likely have a number of the ingredients on hand. First, you need to assemble the ingredients for the beef and marinade. You'll need flank steak, olive oil, lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best), garlic cloves, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cloves, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and baking soda. 

Next, you'll need to round up items for the tahini yogurt sauce and the onion parsley salad. For the sauce, grab a container of full-fat plain yogurt, tahini, additional lemon juice and garlic cloves, and salt and pepper, to taste. Then for the salad, all you need is right there in the title: a small onion and a bunch of fresh parsley. 

Finally, you need the ingredients to assemble your shawarma bowls. You'll need cooked rice, hummus, Persian cucumbers, a tomato, and if you're so inclined, thin-sliced pickles. 

Partially freeze and slice the beef

Before getting started, Altan has a special tip for thin-slicing your beef: Freeze the beef for about 25 minutes before you try to cut it. "This will make the cutting process much easier," she advises. When the beef is partially frozen, use a sharp knife and cut it against the grain into thin slices. 

Marinate the beef

There's one other special tip Altan has for making the most tender beef possible: mix baking soda right into the marinade. "When adding baking soda along with water to the meat, you elevate the pH level on the surface, which prevents proteins from bonding excessively, resulting in moist, tender meat. For this recipe, you'll add the baking soda right in with the marinade. No need to soak in water," she says. 

So grab the olive oil, lemon juice, and all the marinade spices and combine them with the baking soda in a bowl. Add the sliced beef to the bowl and toss well with tongs, until the meat is nicely coated. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes. 

Make the onion parsley salad

As the meat is marinating, you can use the extra time to prep some of the other ingredients. First, slice up the onion and chop the parsley and toss them together in a small bowl as the onion parsley salad.

Mix the tahini yogurt sauce

Then, mix the tahini yogurt sauce by placing the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Use a whisk to stir the ingredients until they're well-combined. 

Cook the marinated beef

When the beef is ready to go, place a large skillet on the stove and turn the heat to high. Add the beef strips to the skillet, spreading them out so they're not layered on top of each other (you may need to cook the beef in batches if your skillet isn't large enough). You want the beef to attain a nice char, so cook the meat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it's golden-brown. 

Assemble the shawarma bowls

When the beef is cooked, it's time to assemble your bowls. Start by adding a cup of cooked rice to the bottom of the bowl, then add a nicely-sized serving of steak, a scoop of hummus, a drizzle of tahini yogurt sauce, and a spoonful of the onion parsley salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sliced pickles, if desired. With all the ingredients in place, your beef shawarma bowl is ready to enjoy! 

Middle Eastern-Spiced Beef Shawarma Bowls Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
These Middle Eastern-spiced beef shawarma bowls feature tender flank steak, an onion and parsley salad, and a fresh yogurt sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
middle eastern beef shawarma bowls
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup lightly packed chopped parsley
  • ⅓ cup full-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup hummus
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 thin-sliced pickles
  1. Place the steak in the freezer for 25 minutes (this will make the cutting process much easier). Using a sharp knife, cut the partially frozen meat against the grain into thin pieces.
  2. For the beef marinade, add the olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 3 cloves of garlic, spices, salt, pepper, and baking soda to a mixing bowl. Mix until fully combined.
  3. Add the sliced meat to the bowl. Toss and coat the meat in the marinade with tongs. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the thin-sliced onion and chopped parsley to a bowl, toss to combine, then set aside.
  5. Add the yogurt, tahini, juice of 1 lemon, and 1 chopped garlic clove to a bowl and mix until fully combined.
  6. Once the steak has marinated, heat a large skillet over high heat. Using a pair of tongs, add the meat slices to the hot skillet and spread them out evenly. For a nice golden-brown char, cook over high heat for 10-15 minutes. If your skillet is too small to fit all pieces, cook in batches.
  7. Assemble the shawarma bowls by adding a cup of rice to the bottom of the bowl, followed by a generous amount of steak, a dollop of hummus, tahini yogurt sauce, onion parsley salad, and your other favorite toppings. Enjoy immediately.
Calories per Serving 261
Total Fat 13.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 44.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 1.0 g
Sodium 368.7 mg
Protein 17.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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