Donair Bowls

Donairs are a truly Nova Scotian treat. If you have never had one, it may be hard to imagine how delicious this should be- but I ask you to imagine. I will also provide some ways you can mimic Donair spice in your home for those that don't live in NS, but may want to try this treat.

Allegedly in the early 1970s a Greek restaurateur was selling lamb gyros, and he wasn't getting the response he needed from the very meat and potatoes, blue collar crew that lived in Halifax. He then swapped the lamb for beef, adjusted his spices and developed the sweet and garlicky sauce. From then on it has been a ridiculously good and greasy treat that people really crave when they leave.

On any given night you can see liquor soaked people wobbling in a pizza joint in downtown Halifax waiting for the greasy, garlicky, sweet feed. The original donair is spiced beef spit roasted shaved thin and piled high, served with onions and tomatoes on a thick pita with a huge layering of sweet and sticky sauce. Don't let anyone trick you in to putting lettuce on it because that it sacrilege. Some people add cheese and bacon, but if I am going to indulge: I want it basic because the original is just perfection.

When I decided to try and cut as many carbs out of my meals as I could, I figured I may miss the donair treats. One day I saw someone post about egg rolls in a bowl, and a lightbulb went off. If I could only master the seasoning in a donair, and the sauce then I could make bowls too!

I purchase pre-mixed donair spice. It's got a variety of spices in it though that you can make at home (salt, oregano, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, pepper, cayenne). This bowl is to help nick a craving for a donair while cutting the doughy carbs. It is NOT low carb due to the sauce, but it is lower carb than a big greasy donair. Not to mention, just as delicious-and you can control the amount of grease you eat.

 A prepared donair bowl from my dinner.

A prepared donair bowl from my dinner.


For the veggie base:

  • 1 green cabbage, shredded finely
  • 1 white onion, sliced extra thin
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp veg oil
  • salt

For the meat:

For the sauce:

  • One tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

For topping:

  • 2 cups grapes tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup finely diced white onion


  1. Mix sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, and 1 tsp garlic powder in bowl. Set aside. This sauce will get very thick, if you want to thin it add a few tsp of white vinegar.
  2. In a hot sauté pan, add beef and sprinkle with donair spice. Mix well cook until evenly browned. Drain beef, and set aside in serving bowl. Do not wash pan, leave bits of beef and some of the oils.
  3. In the same sauté pan add oil, a tsp of kosher salt, shredded cabbage, onion, and carrot sauté for one minute. Add 2 tsp or 10 big grinds of black pepper, and 1 tsp of powdered ginger. Cook untilveggies have softened and the colour of the carrots is bright orange (around 5-6 mins)
  4. Add hot veggie mix to bottom of big bowl, top with ground beef. Sprinkle with chopped onions and halved grape tomatoes and drizzle with the thick, sweet donair sauce.



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