Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous

Shawarma and beef couscous is a deconstructed version of your fave sandwich, ready for healthy meal prepping!

Oh, shawarma! It's so delicious, but depending on where you live, you might not always be able to get that traditional preparation. When that happens, make this riff on shawarma at home with spices and herbs that call to mind those flavors. Instead, they are mixed into ground beef and served with couscous and a "salad" of chopped tomatoes and cukes. So good, so refreshing, and so easy!

Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous Ingredients

Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous
  • 10 ounces couscous
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar

How to Make Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous

This recipe is comprised of a few separate elements, and you might initially be skeptical by the long list of spices and herbs. It's ok! It only looks like a lot, and this specific combo will make for a greatly flavored ground beef base.

Cook the ground beef in the spices and then add the onion, garlic, and so forth. While you're doing that, cook the couscous. It will come together quickly! Assemble the tomatoes, cukes, and red onion in a little bowl and drizzle with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Shawarma Spiced Beef and Couscous in a cast iron pan

How to Serve and Store Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous

This is super easy to meal prep, if that's where you're going with it. You can portion them into compartments and keep them in airtight containers in the fridge. This recipe yields six servings, so what we like to do is eat one serving right away and then prep the rest! But you do you. You can eat this all at room temperature if desired. But feel free to heat up the beef and couscous, too, if you'd rather have it hot.

You can also freeze all parts of this dish (except the fresh veggie salad) for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge or in the microwave. You've pretty much got a complete lunch or dinner here, so you probably don't need to add much to your plate, unless you want to toss those veggies with some mixed greens. (We won't stop you from eating more plants.) The crispy crunchy salad is a bright contrast to the beef.

Substitutions and Alterations

Feel free to make this recipe with ground pork, chicken, or turkey or lamb. It will be great.

If you don't want to serve this with couscous, it will also work with orzo pasta, rice, farro, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

You can eat all of these delicious flavors in a wrap or stuffed into a pita, instead of with the couscous or other starch. Go totally traditional and serve with a garlicky sauce or tzatziki; there's a recipe for the latter in our Chicken Shawarma Bowl recipe.


Shawarma Spiced Beef and Couscous in meal prep containers

Shawarma-Spiced Beef and Couscous

Take your favorite shawarma herbs and spices to ground beef and couscous for an awesome and healthy meal prep!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: ground beef, shawarma
Servings: 6
Calories: 338kcal
Author: Meal Prep on Fleek


  • 10 ounces couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar


  • Prepare couscous according to package directions; fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. For more flavor, stir in lemon juice and chopped parsley or cilantro. 
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and brown until cooked through, crumbling with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the onion and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt, and cook for 1 minute more.
  • In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, then season to taste with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. 
  • Serve the couscous and beef topped with the tomato salad. Or, for meal prep, divide the couscous and beef into individual containers and store the tomato salad separately. Refrigerate up to 4 days. To serve, heat the couscous and beef to steaming, then top with the salad. 



Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 351mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @mealpreponfleek or tag #mealpreponfleek!

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