This Veggie Packed Hawawshi Recipe is our take on a classic Middle Eastern masterpiece! It has all of the goodness of the original, from the hearty, meaty, and perfectly spiced filling to the crispy, crunchy pita, but with the bonus of bright bell peppers. 

Four hawashi pita pockets on a plate.

What is Veggie Packed Hawashi?

Originally created in Egypt, hawawshi traditionally features an incredibly flavorful filling of spiced ground meat encased in a crispy pita crust. It’s a super popular street food that’s known for its hearty, satisfying flavors and Middle Eastern spices like cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. 

For this recipe, we created our own spin on the classic by making a veggie-packed hawawshi that takes this beloved dish by adding green and red bell peppers to the filling. It still has all of the satisfying flavor and textures of the traditional version but with the addition of extra nutrients and a pop of color. Plus, you can customize it, making it the perfect way to sneak in all sorts of extra veggies!

Ingredients You Need

  • Ground Beef or Lamb – This is the meaty star of the show! It makes this dish hearty and filling.
  • Large Onion – These onions add a sweet and savory flavor to the filling, caramelizing beautifully as they cook.
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers– These add a pop of color and mild sweetness. Plus they’re full of nutrients!
  • Garlic – Garlic adds an irresistible aromatic punch to the filling.
  • Parsley, Finely Chopped – Fresh parsley brightens up the filling and adds a refreshing contrast to the other rich flavors.
  • Ground Cumin – Cumin gives the filling its signature warm and earthy flavor. 
  • Ground Coriander – We love the subtle citrusy undertone that coriander brings to the table! 
  • Paprika – Paprika adds just a touch of mild sweetness and a bit of a reddish hue.
  • Ground Cinnamon – A pinch of ground cinnamon adds a hint of warmth and a slight sweetness. Not to mention, it makes the hawawshi smell amazing!
  • Salt – Essential for seasoning and bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients, salt balances out all of the flavors. 
  • Black Pepper – Adding a gentle kick of heat, black pepper rounds out the flavors, too.
  • Chili Flakes (Optional) – If you like a bit of heat, chili flakes can add a spicy kick — you can adjust it to taste.
  • Tomato Paste – This concentrated tomato goodness binds the filling together and adds both brightness and umami flavor.
  • Tahina (Tahini) – Creamy and nutty, tahina helps to create a creamy texture and a subtle nuttiness.
  • Olive Oil – Used for cooking and brushing the pita, olive oil enhances the flavors with its fruity notes and helps to make the pita golden and crispy.
Four baked veggie-packed hawawshi pita halves on a plate.

How to Make Veggie Packed Hawawshi

  1. Make the Meat Filling. Use your hands to mix together the beef or lamb, onion, peppers, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl before adding all of the spices. Then, add the tomato paste, tahina, and olive oil and completely combine.
  2. Fill the Pita. Slice each pita in half before spooning the meat mixture into the pockets, ensuring that the fixture is evenly spread inside. After filling each pocket, arrange them on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake. Using a pastry brush, apply olive oil to the top of each filled pita pocket before placing the baking sheet into the preheated oven. Halfway through baking, flip the pockets over. Once the bread is browned and the meat is cooked through, remove the baking sheet from the oven. 
  4. Serve. After allowing a few minutes for the hawawshi to rest, serve them alongside dipping sauces like yogurt or tahini sauce or with a side salad.

Variations

  • Lean Meat – Use lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef or lamb for a lower-fat option.
  • Replace Meat – Substitute the ground beef or lamb with a mixture of cooked lentils and mushrooms seasoned with similar spices for a hearty and flavorful vegetarian option.
  • Add Vegetables – Mix in other finely chopped vegetables like zucchini or eggplant to add texture and even more nutrients.
  • Herbs – Add fresh flavor with herbs such as parsley, mint, and cilantro.
  • Other Add-Ins – Experiment with mixing in capers, olives, or sun-dried tomatoes. 

Can I Store Leftovers? 

You can store leftovers — that is, if you have any! But keep in mind that the longer these sit, the more likely it is that the bread may get soggy. You can reheat them in the oven, an air fryer, or in the microwave if you don’t mind them being soft. 

Place the hawawshi in an airtight container or resealable bag and refrigerate for 3-4 days.

Freeze hawawshi up to 3 months in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. 

More Meaty Recipes

Looking for more easy, flavorful recipes that make meat the star of the show? Don’t miss out on these super-satisfying meaty meals!

Beef Kofta Meatballs

Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Beef Rolls

Middle Eastern Crock Pot Beef Stew

Four Hawawshi pita halves on a plate.

Veggie-Packed Hawawshi Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Learn how to make veggie-packed Hawawshi, a kofta-like mixture stuffed into pita bread and baked until crisp!

Ingredients  

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes optional
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons tahina tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

For Assembling:

  • 4-6 large pita breads
  • Olive oil for brushing

Instructions 

Prepare the Filling:

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef or lamb, chopped onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, minced garlic, and parsley.
    1 pound ground beef or lamb, 1 large onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup parsley
  • Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, ground cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes (if using).
    2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Mix in the tomato paste, tahina, and olive oil. Combine everything thoroughly until well mixed.
    2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 2 Tablespoons tahina, 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Stuff the Pita Bread:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Cut each pita bread in half to create pockets.
    4-6 large pita breads
  • Stuff each pita pocket with the meat mixture, pressing down to spread the filling evenly throughout the bread.

Bake the Hawawshi:

  • Place the stuffed pita breads on a baking sheet.
  • Brush the outside of each pita with olive oil.
    Olive oil
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the bread is crispy and the filling is fully cooked. Turn the pita breads halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.

Serve:

  • Remove the hawawshi from the oven, and let them cool slightly before serving.
  • Serve hot with a side of yogurt, tahini sauce, or a fresh salad.

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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

5 from 1 vote

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! I chose to use lamb and served with a cucumber, feta and tomato salad. Minimal prep and easy clean up!