Homemade Shawarma Spice Mix Recipe and Creative Ideas How To Use It

I find it amusing when someone credits me for inspiring them to do something, and in turn, what I "inspired them to do" ends up inspiring me to do things I'd never thought of doing before.
Take this, for example.
Until my friend, Sara, became friends with me, she had never made or served lentils before, but after seeing how often they appeared on my family's meal plan, she started making them weekly, and its one of her kids' favorite foods. How does she make it- I wanted to know. With shawarma spice mix, she says. Hmmmm. Interesting. That is something I never would have thought of trying...
Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish, originating in Turkey, in which lamb, beef, turkey, or chicken are grilled/roasted on a spit, with a delicious spice mix, and then shaved off into little bits, and then typically served in a pita or other flatbread, together with humus, tahini, vegetable salads, pickles, French fries, etc... You can make your own shawarma at home just by cooking small pieces of meat with this seasoning mix, etc...
However, I always associated the spice mix purely with meat- it never even occurred to me to put it on other things, like lentils, etc...
After my friend, Sara, told me about how much her kids loved lentils that way, I decided to give it a try. I fried up some onions until they were caramelized, mixed them with cooked green lentils, and seasoned them with lots of my homemade shawarma mix. It was delicious- one of the best lentil recipes I ever had.
Best part about it- my kids, who aren't typically lentil fans, really liked it as well!
After that, I started experimenting more and more with my shawarma spice mix- it also tastes great on veggies, like butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, etc... as well as on fish, and has many other great uses as well. I haven't made a dish seasoned with shawarma spice mix that I didn't like.

So... How do you make your own shawarma spice mix?
Very easily!
I have a coffee grinder, so I just used the whole spices... but if you don't have a coffee grinder, feel free to just use the already ground spices, adjusting the spice mix as necessary (ground spices are more concentrated than whole spices, so use a little less than the listed amount).

Homemade Shawarma Spice Mix Recipe

1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 talespoon. garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Mix all the ingredients together.

2. If using whole spices, grind.

3. Use it! Enjoy!

Have you ever had shawarma before? Are you a fan? Have you ever made shawarma at home, or used shawarma spice mix? How do you like to use shawarma spice mix? Have you ever made your own mix? Does this look like a recipe you'd try out?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I've never even heard of it! But I'll give this a try, have all the spices anyway for Indian food. Thanks!

    1. Hope you like it! I was thinking that this spice mix is probably a type of "curry"...

  2. Aside from the coriander seeds, peppercorns, and cloves, was everything else already ground? If not, please specify, since I don't have a coffee grinder and would love to try this but would need all those spices already ground (I can get them ground at a local spice store, I think)

    1. Sorry for not being clear enough- i used whole coriander seeds, cloves, and peppercorns, and everything was already in powder form.

  3. I love shawarma! I have a great recipe for chicken, but I'm definitely going to try it on other things now. We visited Qatar a number of years back and that's where I had it (authentically!) for the first time. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I just made a batch. Thank you so much for posting yet another super-helpful recipe! I'm going to season popcorn with it (I know, I know).

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