Salmon ‘Shawarma’ with Beetroot Tzatziki on Pita or Naan Bread

Pita bread with shawarma, usually lamb or pork, is popular street food in the Netherlands. I discovered that it can be really good, if freshly made from high quality ingredients. You can read my post about that here. Some months ago our friend Michiel cooked dinner for us, and as main course he served a completely different take on this: salmon instead of meat, and with a beetroot tzatziki instead of garlic sauce. It was really good and I decided to try making something similar myself. Recently I remembered this, and here is my version.

The quality and freshness of the bread makes a big difference. In this case I made a flatbread using the recipe for naan, but cooked it in the way of pita. But you could of course also buy fresh flatbread from a good source. The combination of the fresh bread that is still warm from the oven, the juicy spicy salmon, the tang of the beetroot tzatziki, and the crispiness of the red lettuce is delicious.


For 2 servings

spicy salmon, from below

beetroot tzatziki, from below

2 large or 4 small flatbreads, such as pita or naan, preferably freshly homemade

red lettuce or radicchio, shredded

For the salmon
300 grams (.66 lb) salmon fillet, without skin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin seed

1/2 tsp ground coriander seed

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground fenugreek

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp if you like it less spicy, or more for very spicy)

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp minced dill

For the beetroot tzatziki

225 grams (.5 lb) beetroot, roasted for 1.5 hours in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil, at 200°C/400°F, cooled, peeled, and grated

125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt

1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper


Start with the tzatziki, so the flavors can develop. Put the grated beetroot in a bowl and add a crushed clove of garlic.

Add about 1/2 Tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Add the yogurt and stir until the mixture is homogeneous. Taste and add more garlic, salt, pepper, or lemon juice if you like. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

For the salmon, start by making the spice mix. In a bowl put 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin seed, 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek, 1/4 tsp ground allspice, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp ground white pepper. If you don’t like it spicy hot, omit or decrease the amount of cayenne pepper. You could also increase it of course.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil, and stir to mix.

Put the salmon in an oven proof dish and cover it with the marinade on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

The red endives I used have a bitter tough core, that I cut out first. Shred the lettuce.

Wash and dry the lettuce.

If you bake your own flatbread, cook the salmon in the hot oven after the flatbread. Otherwise, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Cook the salmon at 180°C/350°F until it is just cooked through, or about 20 minutes. Do not overcook the salmon, as we want it to be tender and juicy instead of dry. You could also cook the marinated salmon sous-vide for half an hour at 43°C/109°F. That way it will be amazingly buttery.

Shred the cooked salmon with a fork.

Add 2 Tbsp of minced fresh dill…

…and mix it with the salmon. Make sure to incorporate any juices that have leaked out of the salmon as well.

You are now ready to assemble.

Divide the salmon between the flatbreads, and arrange it on one side of the flatbread.

Cover with beetroot tzatziki…

..and lettuce.

Fold the flatbread and serve.

Wine pairing

This is great with a dry full-bodied riesling. It has to be dry to work with the freshness of the tzatziki, and it has to be full-bodied and creamy to work with the salmon. A good choice is a Spätlese or Auslese from Germany, but make sure that it is dry. The best way to tell this is by the alcohol by volume, which should be above 11%. More about understanding German wine here.


In the Netherlands we have our own Dutchified version of Indonesian food, such as this nasi goreng with chicken satay and peanut sauce. I’m not sure if Indonesians would recognize it, but it is pretty tasty nonetheless.


18 thoughts on “Salmon ‘Shawarma’ with Beetroot Tzatziki on Pita or Naan Bread

  1. Have to smile: it would be a rare week when I did not cook a ‘shawarma’ or a ‘shish tawook’ dish of some kind and tzatziki is on tap virtually all the time in this house, but have never made ‘Shawarma’ with fish or had tzatziki without cucumber 🙂 !! Truly must try 🙂 ! We are very lucky here as there are some awfully good small spice merchants on tap and I have to confess I buy ready made mixes for the two usually. Have to try yours!! And yes, your nasi goreng looks mighty tasty, and yes, methinks it is somewhat ‘Dutchified’ . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Stefan; I am kowtowing to the nth degree at the moment ’cause’ for some reason looked up what ‘happened’ a full two years ago!!!! Honestly did not realize or remember I had already ‘talked’ about nasi goreng!! Well, at least I was honest and have not ‘changed my mind.’ Heaps of love for the rest of the weekend . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Stefan.
    Minor detail: you don’t mention when to add the yogurt to the Tzatziki.

    Looks great, though – I’ll definitely try it out soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to share my experience with your recipe that, I had never tried the pita bread with shawarma lamb. But a few days ago I tried it and when I ate it was superb this gave me a unique taste which was good. I never thought that this kind of dish we can eat. A great dish.

    Liked by 1 person

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