Padma Lakshmi's Beef Shawarma with Beet Yogurt Sauce

Beef shawarma is traditionally roasted on a spit and then sliced thin. This grilled version by Padma Lakshmi has similar vibes thanks to a highly seasoned marinade. This recipe makes extra beet yogurt sauce, so stick it in the fridge to have on hand for dolloping on grain bowls, salads and sandwiches.

Padma’s Beef Shawarma with Beet Yogurt Sauce
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
55 mins



  • ¼ cup lemon juice

  • ¼ cup balsamic or cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed

Sauce & Accompaniments

  • 1 cooked medium beet, peeled

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled

  • ½ cup whole-milk plain dahi (see Tip, below) or yogurt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons tahini

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

  • 1 Persian (mini) cucumber, chopped

  • 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed


  1. To prepare steak: Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, oregano, cloves, cayenne and ginger in a shallow dish. Add steak and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day, turning occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, to prepare sauce: Combine beet, garlic, dahi (or yogurt), tahini and salt in a blender; process until smooth. Stir in dill.

  3. Preheat grill to medium-high.

  4. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard marinade). Grill the steak, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125°F for medium-rare, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Slice the steak against the grain, then cut into bite-size pieces. Reserve half the sauce for another use. Serve the steak and the remaining sauce with cucumber in pitas.

To make ahead

Marinate steak (Step 1) for up to 1 day. Refrigerate sauce (Step 2) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

388 Calories
12g Fat
40g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 pita sandwich
Calories 388
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 31g 62%
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Vitamin A 74IU 1%
Sodium 547mg 24%
Potassium 640mg 14%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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