Lamb shawarma with pickled red cabbage and harissa dressing

Lamb shawarma with pickled red cabbage and harissa dressing

  • serves 8
  • A little effort

The best lamb shawarma recipe. This Middle-Eastern dish is easy to recreate at home if you have a bit of time. Serve with pickled red cabbage and harissa sauce.



  • leg of lamb 1, boned and butterflied
  • Greek yoghurt 200g
  • mint a handful, chopped
  • garlic 1 clove, crushed

spicy marinade

  • cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • coriander seeds 1 tsp
  • fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • cardamom pods 2
  • coriander a large bunch, finely chopped
  • mint leaves about 20, finely chopped
  • garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • lemons 2, zested and juiced
  • olive oil 100ml
  • paprika 1 tsp
  • ground cinnamon 1 tsp
  • chilli powder 1 tsp

harissa dressing

  • garlic 5 cloves, chopped
  • onion ½, chopped
  • olive oil
  • beef tomato 1, diced
  • chopped tomatoes 200g tin
  • sugar a pinch
  • harissa paste 2-3 tbsp

pickled red cabbage

  • red wine vinegar 150ml
  • demerara sugar 120g
  • mustard seeds 1 tbsp
  • red cabbage 1 small, core removed and very finely sliced

to serve

  • flatbread or pitta bread
  • pickled chillies
  • finely sliced red onion
  • chopped tomatoes
  • feta crumbled
  • hummus


  • Step 1

    To make the spicy marinade, heat a small frying pan and dry-fry the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom pods for a few minutes until fragrant. Cool, then grind to a powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Mix with the other marinade ingredients and season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper.

  • Step 2

    Pierce the lamb all over with the tip of a knife. Put the lamb in a large shallow dish or strong freezer bag, pour over the marinade and leave overnight (at least 4 hours).

  • Step 3

    To make the cabbage, simmer the vinegar with the sugar and mustard seeds for about 20 minutes – it will thicken slightly and become very glossy. Allow to cool, then pour over the cabbage and leave for a couple of hours, tossing now and again. Drain off any excess liquid off before serving.

  • Step 4

    For the harissa dressing, cook the garlic and onion in 3 tbsp olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, then whizz in a blender until smooth. Add a pinch of sugar and enough harissa paste until you reach the heat level you like.

  • Step 5

    Mix the greek yoghurt with the mint and garlic and season.

  • Step 6

    To cook the lamb, heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 3. Heat a large griddle pan or heavy frying pan, take the lamb out of the marinade and cook on the griddle, turning until very well browned all over (you can also do this stage on a bbq when the weather is warm). Transfer to a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

  • Step 7

    Rest under foil for 20 minutes before carving into thin slices. Serve with the mint yoghurt, harissa dressing, pickled cabbage and other accompaniments.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 735
  • Fat 44.4g
  • Carbs 8.5g
  • Fibre 3.2g
  • Protein 67.8g
  • Salt 1.2g