Shawarma of all forms is a stunner of a sandwich. Shawarma is a snack you have once and get addicted almost immediately to the juicy flavor of the meat, salad, and sauce of your choice, stimulating only positive vibes, but is shawarma gluten-free? Here is everything you need to know about the gluten status of chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb shawarmas.
Shawarma: What Is It?
The term “shawarma” was derived from the Turkish word doner, which translates to “turning.” Shawarma rose in popularity during the reign of the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), and today it is still referred to as doner kebab in Turkey.
Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern dish that consists of seasoned meat served on a pita bread, sandwich, or plate. It has lots of similarities with Greek Gyro and Mexican Al Pastor but has a different mode of preparation. It is almost like a treasonable act if you’re not serving this dish fresh and hot to the eager consumers waiting their turns on street corners.
Shawarma Is not only limited to the Middle East anymore, with Lebanese immigrants taking along the goodness of this dish to the West and even Africa. One thing I love about this dish is how flexible it can be. I could have it on the go and still get supplied with proteins, veggies, minerals, and grain nutrients.
There are lots of shawarma variations—as little as changing the sauce (garlic, amba, hummus, tahini) or protein (chicken, beef, turkey, lamb) transcends the dish to another level.
Is Shawarma Healthy?
Irrespective of the shawarma type, shawarma offers lots of health benefits. However, not watching your portion size could eventually mess with your waistline. A typical wrap of shawarma could supply 300 calories, depending on the ingredients used.
A chicken, beef, or turkey shawarma offers low-cholesterol meats. However, when marinated with oil-based marinades, the saturated fat content can significantly increase. Further, tahini or humus sauce has a high cholesterol and fat content. You can always opt for a healthy yogurt-based sauce.
The vegetables used usually offer cholesterol-reducing fiber and loads of nutrients like iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, vitamins A, C, B3, and K, which are all necessary for the nervous system and skin health, slowing down aging, and even aiding in blood clotting.
Is shawarma Gluten free?
All shawarmas, including the chicken, lamb, beef, and turkey wrapped in pita bread, are not gluten-free. As pita bread is derived from wheat, it thereby contains gluten allergens.
However, plated shawarmas can be free from gluten if they are served on a plate without pita bread; however, your choice of sauce could also introduce gluten to your dish.
If you want to have a gluten-free experience, you can opt for the use of rice wrappers for your shawarma and avoid any dip that contains gluten.
Is shawarma meat gluten free? Final Thoughts
Fortunately, shawarma meats are gluten-free. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, rye, barley, etc. It is a storage protein and contributes to the chewy texture of baked goods like bread, but there is no gluten in chicken, beef, lamb, or turkey, except an ingredient with gluten is added to the meat.
Chicken Shawarma Gluten status
Chicken shawarma is the most popular option; it is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and paired with some or all of the following: salt, pepper, cayenne, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Usually, the chicken is marinated overnight for a tastier delivery. Unfortunately, chicken shawarma contains gluten as it is made with pita bread.
Is beef shawarma gluten free?
Beef shawarma is also another street favorite and is commonly dished with parsley, red onions, and pickled turnips. However, it is often wrapped in pita bread, making beef shawarma not gluten-free or safe for individuals with gluten sensitivity.
When I first got acquainted with shawarma, after the nasty symptoms I had from consuming some pita bread, I had to do my research. So, when I start craving the street delight, I go along with some rice wrappers (as funny as it may sound) and a video too, just in case the vendor has no experience using the rice wrap. You could save yourself the stress and just make it at home.
Is lamb shawarma gluten free?
Lamb shawarma is not gluten-free. It is usually made with marinated lamb shoulders, which are roasted until they become tender, then served in a pita with salads, amba, and tahini. Pita bread is a source of gluten, and if substituted for a rice wrap or served on a plate instead, you could have a gluten-free experience.
Is Jerusalem shawarma gluten free?
Irrespective of the location, if your shawarma is wrapped in pita bread, it is not gluten-free. If you want to have a gluten-free shawarma in Jerusalem, you could request for it to be plated and also ensure the dipping sauce is gluten-free.