Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad

Meatless Monday – a great go-to salad

Shawarma, really?  During the 9 days of no meat?  This may sound a bit out of your comfort zone, but this fresh and easy Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad has warm, aromatic flavors of Shawarma without the meat.  This is a great way to incorporate some bright summer flavors into a healthy salad during the 9 days or any time of year!

What is “shawarma” you ask? Basically what my husband lived on during his year and a half in Israel, HA!

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of thinly sliced meat layered and slow roasted on a rotisserie or spit. You can get lamb, chicken, or beef shawarma stuffed into a pita or a laffa with all the fixings! Hummus, tahini, Israeli salad, cabbage salad, pickles and fries – yes, please! The “shawarma” seasoning usually is a mix of turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and sometimes cinnamon.  Basically, a warming spice blend that pairs perfectly with a salty cheese like feta, in today’s salad! You can buy shawarma seasoning at your local kosher supermarket, or (if you’re not feeling lazy), make your own spice blend!

I first got the idea for this salad while flipping through an older issue of “Eating Well” – just a simple, fresh summer salad with feta and herbs.  But as I was literally chopping the veggies to make this salad, I had a light-bulb moment.  Why not turn this into a spin on Israeli salad? Since I was half-way there, I added the radish for a hint of that sharp flavor and crunch and swapped red onion for green onion to make it milder.  But if you’re a red onion fiend like me, feel free to add it! And for the final touches, adding shawarma seasoning to the dressing made it the perfect, Mediterranean-kissed bite of yummy goodness.

The extras

This would also be good with some diced avocado, goat cheese instead of the feta, or even sun-dried tomatoes mixed in too.

I love cilantro (but you can substitute parsley of course).  If you ARE going to use cilantro, don’t forget about the stems!  That’s where all the flavor is, not primarily the leaves, as most people might think. How great not to waste time picking the leaves off – just chop everything up and you’ll get an even bigger burst of citrus flavor that cilantro brings to the party! And weirdly enough, I think I am in that percentage of people who thinks that cilantro tastes “soapy”, but yet for some reason, I love it.

The base of a well-rounded meal

This salad is so versatile, it’s the perfect base for a filling meal.  Add some grilled salmon or tofu on top for some bonus protein.  Or, go ahead and omit the feta and add in some grilled chicken. I make shawarma chicken for my husband all the time, it’s such an easy go-to Friday night dish.

Last but not least, make sure to use fresh dill, it really makes all the difference.  Serve with some lemon wedges, maybe some pita chips on the side and this is a healthy meatless, 9-days salad to keep your taste buds satisfied!

Want more salad ideas?  Check out my Herby Cabbage Salad, another healthy option during the 9 days too!


0 from 0 votes
Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Course: Salad
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup Cucumber, chopped
  • 3 Green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Radish, sliced thin
  • 1 Handful of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Handful of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 oz. Crumbled Feta
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed (and for serving)
  • 1/2 tsp. Shawarma seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  1. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, radish, dill, parsley or cilantro and feta in a large bowl

  2. In a bowl, mix the mayo, lemon juice (same some for serving), shawarma seasoning, salt and pepper

  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and squeeze a bit more lemon over the salad

  4. Serve with some lemon wedges on the side and crunchy pita chips!

Ultimate Hummus Plate

HummusIn honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut and Israel’s 70th birthday I challenged Rachel to a chickpea (AKA garbanzo bean) challenge.  Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, the increasingly popular paste that Israelis eat like Americans eat peanut butter.  I realize in this challenge I am taking Rachel on on her own turf giving me a distinct disadvantage.  The only way to beat an enemy on their own turf with superior fire power, in this case meat and fried food.

Below are three different chickpea recipes that are each great on their own, but truly shine when combined on a single plate. The  smooth hummus, the crunchy chickpeas, and soft falafel balls with a crispy exterior makes for a great textural contrast.  To combine them simply spread the hummus in a thick layer on a plate and top with the ground beef and onions, falafel balls, and roasted chickpeas.  Serve alongside some fresh pita for a great appetizer or even a main course.  If you you have a vegetarian or a vegan in the house just simply omit the ground beef.

5 from 1 vote
Hummus With Ground Beef and Sauteed Onions
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Hummus with ground beef, an Israeli favorite, is great dish that can be eaten as main dish, side dish, appetizer, or snack.  You could use store bought hummus, but why do that when making it yourself is so easy and so much better.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Israeli, Jewish, Kosher, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings: 1 Plate
Author: Daniel Peikes
Hummus Ingredients
  • 15 oz Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) Skins removed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Ground Beef Ingredients
  • 1 Large Onion Diced
  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Shawarma Seasoning This can be bought pre-made or you can make it yourself by blending coriander, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, cloves, and allspice.
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Special Equipment
  • Food Processor fitted with the "S" Blade
  1. Add all the Hummus ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor.  Process until a paste starts to form.  If the paste starts to climb up the sides of the bowl, turn off the food processor, remove the lid, and scrape it down with a soft spatula.

  2. With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the 1/4 cup olive oil.  Continue to process until the paste is completely smooth.

Ground beef with sauteed onions
  1. Sprinkle the ground beef with the shawarma seasoning, making sure the shawarma seasoning is well distributed.

  2. Take your largest, heaviest, frying pan and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and put over high heat.  If you have a cast iron skillet, this is a good time to use it.

  3. Once the pan is very hot, crumble in the ground beef.  Cook on each side until nicely browned.

  4. Remove the ground beef, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions.

  5. Saute the onions until they just start to brown.  Remove the onions and combine with the ground beef.

  1. Spread a thick layer of the hummus on a plate and top with the ground beef and onions.  Serve immediately with pita on the side.

Recipe Notes

I call for canned chickpeas with the skins removed in this recipe.  I find that if you don't remove the skins from the chickpeas the hummus has a gritty texture.  If that doesn't bother you than you can use the chickpeas right out of the can.  To remove the skins, just lightly squeeze each chickpea between your fingers.  It is a bit labor intensive, but I think it is worth it.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Soaking Time
1 d
Total Time
1 hr

A great fried treat.  Excellent in pita with all the fixings or at side dish or snack all on its own.

Course: Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Israeli, Kosher, Middle Eastern
Servings: 24 Balls
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 16 oz Dried Chickpeas (1 Bag) Do not substitute canned
  • 1 Cup Chopped Scallion You can use the white and green parts for this recipe
  • 1 Cup Fresh Parsley Stems removed
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro Stems removed
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Optional
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Vegetable Oil For Frying
Special Equipment
  • Food Processor Fitted With "S" Blade
  • A Large Heavy Pan to Fry In Cast iron skillet if you have it
  1. Pour the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water.   Allow to soak overnight.

  2. Add all the ingredients, except the frying oil to the food processor.  Process until a thick paste is formed.  Do not over-process or it will get too thin. 

  3. Roll the mixture into balls roughly 1 inch in diameter.

  4. Put your frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to come 3/4 of inch the way up.  Make sure the heat is not too high, otherwise the outside of the falafel will burn before the inside is cooked.

  5. Fry on each side until dark brown.

5 from 1 vote
Roasted Chickpeas
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins

A great crunchy snack.  You can eat these on there own, as a salad topping or as part of a hummus plate.  Feel free to play with spices here.  If you don't like curry powder use garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  If you are using canned chickpeas as I did, just be careful about adding too much salt as, most canned chickpeas are already seasoned. 

Course: Side Dish, Snack, Topping
Cuisine: Israeli, Jewish, Kosher, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 15 oz Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) Drained
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Thai Red Curry Powder Can be bought pre-made or blended from chili pepper, garlic, lime peel, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, black pepper, cumin, fennel, mace and shallots
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
Special Equipment
  • 1 Sheet Pan Lined With Parchment Paper
  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.

  2. Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, making sure they are completely coated.

  3. Spread the chickpeas out on the sheet pan, making sure they are not touching each other.

  4. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

  5. While still hot, toss the chickpeas with the Thai red curry powder and the paprika.  Serve immediately or store in a resealable bag or container once cooled.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s chickpea post: Chickpea Curry