Spicy cabbage pitas, using shawarma leftovers

Having failed to blog yesterday’s shawarma properly, here’s a quick note on what I did with the leftover ingredients.

(I fried them, basically.)

Spicy cabbage and chorizo pita
Spicy cabbage and chorizo pita

The shawarma was made with slow roast lamb shoulder in a heavy-duty spice mix with plenty of coriander and lemon juice. The cabbage was leftover form the pita stuffing. Because the lamb needed to be kept moist and occasionally have water added, it left plenty of run-off juices and fat. Ordinarily, I’d have made a sauce out of this, but it didn’t fit with the kebab vibe, so it went into the fridge.

I’m glad – poured over fried cabbage and reduced it was amazing. What follows is a bare-bones recipe without the rich, spicy meat juices. It’s essentially an excuse to toast pitas full of harissa and tomato paste, and it ought to more or less work.


  • Cabbage (sweetheart in this case)
  • Onion
  • Chorizo
  • A fresh tomato
  • Garlic
  • Harissa paste
  • Fresh coriander
  • Pita bread
  • Cumin seeds
  • Paprika
  • A splash of stock


Ok, so, this is a bit perfunctory, as it’s a very simple core idea.

Finely shred the cabbage and slice the onions. Slice or dice the chorizo. Fry the onion and cabbage medium hot, adding chorizo and spices when they’re nearly done. At the end add a little liquid (stock, or whatever) and reduce. That’s where I used the meat juices.

Tomato and harissa dressing
Tomato and harissa dressing

Now the tomato and harissa dressing. Fine-chop the tomato and coriander. It may be an idea to press out a little of the liquid from the tomato in a sieve at this point so the dressing isn’t too wet. Make a clove or two of garlic into a paste in a pestle and mortar with a little salt. Combine the coriander, garlic, and tomato with some harissa. I used about a teaspoon, but that makes it feisty.

Warm the pitas so they puff up a bit and can be split without breaking. Slit them open and smear the tomato and harissa dressing inside. Then sear them on both sides on a hot griddle until they get those attractive little sear lines, and toast slightly. You’d do this for the shawarma, too. This is the cool part. You could totally just fill them with bacon at this point.

Griddling pitas
Griddling pitas

Stuff the pitas with the cabbage and chorizo mix, and maybe add a little yogurt or soured cream, especially if you used plenty of harissa

That’s it. You’re basically done.

You could do all sorts of variations here. Spinach would work, as would roasted vegetables. They key is really the toasted pitas warmed through with the tomato and harissa dressing. That makes it piquant and fiery, and offsets a lot of potential fillings.

I’d consider stuffing them with roasted peppers and a dollop of baba ganoush or hummus. That would absolutely work.

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