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Recipe Swap: Turkey shawarma offers a spicy solution to Thanksgiving leftovers
Recipe Swap

Recipe Swap: Turkey shawarma offers a spicy solution to Thanksgiving leftovers

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If you’re tired of all the usual suspects for leftover Thanksgiving turkey, try this recipe, which takes its inspiration from the Middle East.

Shawarma is a cousin to the Greek gyro — spiced meat cooked on a spit. This recipe recreates the flavor by using a similar blend of spices — in this case, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne and turmeric.

Though chicken shawarma is quite popular, turkey is said to be used often in Israel.

Common garnishes include onions seasoned with sumac, pickled turnips, parsley and tomatoes.

Here the pickling of vegetables — cucumbers, onions, carrots and radishes — is simulated with a quick toss in vinegar.

The shawarma is typically served in pita. But a tortilla wrap works just as well. You can even serve the spiced turkey over hot rice.

Tahini sauce is the most common topping, but tzatziki is good, too. So is hummus — heck, even a dab of plain Greek yogurt on top is good.

Send requests or recipes to Recipe Swap, c/o Michael Hastings, Food Editor, Winston-Salem Journal, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101; or email to Please include name, address and a daytime telephone number. Previously published recipes are available at


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