In the world of quick and tasty sauces, Homemade Shawarma Sauce is always a winner. With minimal effort and just 5 minutes of time, you will have a lovely, creamy, savory sauce to complement so many salads, grain bowls and main entrees.
A few years ago, I was introduced to creamy garlic shawarma sauce at the famous Halal Guys cart in New York City. I followed the advise of online reviewers and ordered extra shawarma sauce with my meal. I poured the sauce over falafels, chicken shawarma, salad, rice, hummus…honestly, I might have dipped my baklava in it. Everything got a little hazy at some point.
What you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Garlic: raw garlic builds over time, so if you're making this sauce hours before (or the day before) serving, be mindful that the yogurt sauce will grow more garlicky and adjust accordingly.
Herbs: the recipe calls for dill and mint in the sauce. Substitute fresh chives, flat leaf parsley or tarragon.
Sumac: an optional garnish, sumac adds color and bright citrus notes to the sauce. It's a great spice to keep on hand for sauces, marinades and fish seasoning.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients
To begin, combine yogurt, lemon juice, tahini, fresh garlic and salt in a small bowl. Mix very well to incorporate the tahini into the yogurt.
Chop fresh dill and mint. Stir into yogurt sauce.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Remember that the sauce will intensify in flavor as the garlic marries with the Greek yogurt and lemon juice.
2. Chill sauce
Refrigerate for 15 minutes and subsequently re-taste. If the sauce is very thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin out the shawarma sauce to the right consistency before serving.
3. Garnish and serve
Finally, garnish with additional fresh dill, mint and sprinkle of sumac.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
This sauce is the perfect accompaniment for pita pockets stuffed with falafels, topped with thin slices of pickled onions and a few crumbles of feta cheese. If you thin the garlic lemon yogurt sauce with a little water, you could use the shawarma sauce as a salad dressing over a large bowl of Jerusalem salad or a falafel grain bowl.
Absolutely. I serve this shawarma sauce most often with falafel patties, so using a dash of warm spices like curry powder, ground coriander and cumin add complementary flavors to this condiment. If you're out of fresh garlic, dried garlic powder can be substituted. And black pepper can add a warm heat that won't overwhelm.
A small amount of harissa red pepper paste would be delicious and add that pop of spice you're looking for. Of course, red pepper flakes or ground cayenne would also do the trick, as well as a few dashes of bottled hot sauce.
You can use sour cream, but I would recommend adding a bit of fresh lemon zest or an extra squeeze of lemon juice to add additional acid to more closely mirror the acidity of yogurt. Plain yogurt is also an option. It is a thinner texture than Greek yogurt, so you likely will not need to thin the sauce with any water.
Shawarma sauce is usually a creamy yogurt and tahini sauce with various fresh herbs and sometimes spices. It is smooth and rich and can even be thinned out into a dressing. Tzatziki sauce is fresh cucumber and Greek yogurt based sauce, with lemon or vinegar and fresh dill. While similar, tzatziki is fresh and crisp and chunky with cucumber pieces, while shawarma sauce is a creamier, more savory experience.
Sumac is a popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a small red spice that adds a lemony, acidic flavor to dishes. It's often added to spice rubs or sprinkled over a yogurt or vegetable salad. I love keeping a quality sumac on hand as a flavor boost for all kinds of dishes.
To store this delicious quick shawarma sauce, transfer to an airtight container and straightaway store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.