Leftover Turkey Shawarma

Turkey Shawarma

It is just me or is Christmas the ideal time to explore the flavours of the Middle East?

There’s just something about the spice combinations. Traditional Middle Eastern Spices evoke feelings of warm. Exactly what you need for a cold Winter’s night by the fire!

Turkey Shawarma? Okay, so technically this recipe should actually be called Shawarma-Style Turkey. It’s not cooked at all like it should be. Sorry about that. I promise it’s still awesome though!

True shawarma is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated meats – lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or a mix of meats – on a vertical spit. Sorta like that kebab you might have caught sight of in your local take out after dark…. Be honest; we’ve all been there. Only the traditional version is far classier than that! The shawarma cooks on the spit for hours and hours, basting in fat and its own juices. Slowly turning so it all cooks evenly.

I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Turkey Shawarma

They slice shavings of meat from the surface and serve it tucked inside a warm flatbread, topped with tahini or garlic sauce. In this case it’s going to be garlic sauce. Maybe lay off the kissing for an hour or two… Unless you have managed to feed your date the same dish of course 😉

Turkey Shawarma – Middle Eastern Flavours at Christmas

Now I usually make this dish with chicken. And it usually marinates in the spices overnight, before spending a day slowly cooking. #shoutouttotheslowcooker

The next step was to test this out with ready cooked meat. I knew that before long we would all be looking for inventive ways to look after our beloved Christmas turkey leftovers. The recipe has been declared a success! Turkey shawarma – tasty kebabs the quick and easy way.

Turkey Shawarma

Serves Serves 2

5 minPrep Time

3 hrCook Time

3 hr, 5 Total Time

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  • 250g Cooked Turkey
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 2tbsp Rapeseed oil ( or your favourite )
  • Red Onion & Cucumber Salad
  • 1 Red Onion - Finely sliced
  • 1/2 Cucumber - Finely sliced
  • 15g Parsley - Chopped
  • 3tbsp Rapeseed Oil
  • 3tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Garlic Sauce
  • 1cup Natural / Greek Yoghurt
  • 2tsp Crushed Garlic
  • 1/2tsp Rock Salt


  1. Combine the cooked turkey with all other ingredients. Stir well until all of the meat is coated in spices.
  2. Fry over a medium heat until heated through & the turkey starts to fall apart. Encourage it to shred with a fork if you need to. If the turkey starts to dry before it is warmed through, add a couple of tablespoons of water. It will burn off so don't worry about affecting the flavour.
  3. Once warmed through the turkey is ready to serve.
  4. Red Onion & Cucumber Salad
  5. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Leave to gently pickle for approx 15mins - stirring every 5mins of so
  7. Garlic Sauce
  8. Stir to combine.

Turkey Shawarma

We love making flatbreads in this household. Well. Matt loves making flatbreads. On this occasion we were decided on shop bought pitta bread. Sometimes Christmas beats ya down… They were a fitting substitute, and the perfect way to keep this dish quick and easy!

I’m looking forward to exploring the flavours of the Middle East further in 2017. It looks set to be a trend; and for once on I wanna jump on the band wagon with! Check out the Leisure site for further inspiration. And don’t forget to pop back in the new year to see what we have in store.

Do you have favourite takes on any Middle Eastern dishes? Or a good recipe for leftover turkey you’d like to share with me? Let me know below, or gimme a shout on twitter.

Many thanks to Leisure for sponsoring this post and providing inspiration for this wonderful dish.