A vegetarian doner kebab made with grilled halloumi, garlic mayonnaise and chips – the ultimate fake away!
I love making vegetarian versions of popular meaty dishes – I’ve done vegan beef bourguignon, vegan katsu curry, vegan koftas, vegan pulled pork… there’s no reason why we vegetarians can’t enjoy exactly the same foods as our meat-eating friends (well, maybe not exactly…). With just a few tweaks, they can be just as delicious (if not more!) than the original versions. This vegetarian doner kebab is another perfect example – with grilled halloumi, fresh salad and chips (YES, CHIPS), this halloumi kebab is the ultimate fake away!
What is a doner kebab?
A doner kebab is a Turkish dish that’s usually made with a large spit of meat cooked on a rotisserie. The meat is shaved off in thin slices as the spit rotates.
But the term is also used to describe the way the meat is presented, served in a pitta or wrap with salad and sauce.
In the UK, the doner kebab has a reputation of being the kind of food you’d order in a take away after a big night out – not exactly haute cuisine, but a true guilty pleasure. This vegetarian version is perfect for cooking up for a Friday dinner in front of the telly!
I can’t say that this vegetarian doner kebab is authentically Turkish (or even a veggie version of an authentic Turkish kebab), but it’s a pretty amazing veggie alternative to the British version.
Vegetarian doner kebab
To replace the usual doner meat, I used grilled halloumi cheese in my vegetarian doner kebab. I adore halloumi – it’s really hard to beat hot cheese that’s crispy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle, and beautifully salty – it goes so well with the rest of the kebab ingredients.
My kebab also contains fresh salad (cucumber, tomato, red onion), garlic mayonnaise, and chips (French fries)! Because why the heck not.
French fry sandwich
To begin with, cook the fries. Although fat chips are more common in the UK, thin French fries actually work better in this vegetarian doner kebab. We’re not making a chip butty here, we’re making a kebab, so the chips are only there to add another flavour and texture to the kebab, and to make it feel extra special.
I just used frozen chips that I cooked in the oven – feel free to make your own chips from scratch if you prefer, but this kebab is hardly supposed to be gourmet, so I certainly won’t judge if you take the lazy option.
Next, the halloumi! Just slice it up and cook it in a pan for a few minutes on each side, until it’s nice and golden brown and crispy.
If you’re unfamiliar with halloumi, it’s a Cypriot cheese that can be cooked, grilled or baked. Unlike most other cheeses, it doesn’t melt, so it holds its shape when cooked. It’s beautifully salty, with a really incredible flavour.
You can find out more in my blog post all about how to cook halloumi!
Since Cypriot food and Turkish food have a lot in common, halloumi works perfectly as a replacement for the meat in this doner kebab.
One more quick thing to prepare – the garlic mayonnaise!
You can totally use shop-bought garlic mayo if you like – again, this is meant to be a quick, slightly naughty Friday night dinner, so there’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen. I was obviously feeling a bit more ambitious than usual when I cooked these!
Luckily, homemade garlic mayo is really easy to make – just some mayonnaise, garlic granules, dried parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
The garlic mayo is really amazing in this halloumi kebab – it pulls everything together to make an insanely tasty doner kebab.
Lastly, assemble your kebab! Smear a flatbread, pitta bread or wrap with the creamy garlic mayonnaise. Add plenty of fresh, juicy veggies (they really help to lift the other ingredients so it doesn’t feel heavy or stodgy!). Then top it all with the salty grilled halloumi, and the crispy French fries.
This halloumi kebab is quite literally one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. And it’s so, so easy.
Friday night fake away
As I said, this vegetarian doner kebab makes the perfect Friday night dinner. Instead of spending £20 on a take away, make it yourself for a fraction of the cost.
Plus you don’t have to leave the house to get it, which is always a major plus.
Vegetarian doner kebab
- 2 small portions French fries
- 1 block halloumi cheese, sliced
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- Black pepper
- 2 large flatbreads, pitta breads or wraps
- Large chunk cucumber, sliced
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Lay the French fries out on a baking tray, and bake according to the instructions on the packet. They should just be starting to crisp up.
- Meanwhile, add the slices of halloumi cheese to a dry frying pan, and cook for a few minutes each side, until golden brown and crispy.
- Mix the mayonnaise with the dried parsley, garlic granules, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- To assemble, spread the garlic mayo over the flatbreads, and top with slices of cucumber, tomato and red onion. Add the grilled halloumi and cooked French fries, and serve immediately.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 the recipe (1 kebab).