Halifax Donair

Halifax Donair

Halifax Donair is a traditional recipe from the Atlantic coast that combines donair meat and a unique sweet and savoury sauce. This recipe offers you donair four different ways (Pizza, flatbread, wrap, and bowl.)

Halifax Donair
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The recipe for Halifax Donair Flatbread was originally posted in June 2019. I have uploaded new photos and added an improved recipe for the donair meat. Moreover, I have included three other ways to enjoy this Maritime classic, so you have a choice among a pizza, flatbread, wrap, or salad bowl! However, the blog post itself remains mostly the same.

Maritime Classic

Hello, everyone. Today I am super pumped as we’ll have an extended weekend (Happy birthday, Canada!) I am about to share a real Canadian recipe. That’s a challenging thing because it’s super hard to define “Canadian cuisine” itself most of the times. That’s not our case today. It’s not just the Canadian recipe; it’s one of the symbols of the Maritimes.

The Halifax Donair has been known since the 1970s when one Greek immigrant tried to introduce the gyros to the city. However, Nova Scotians seemed not to be very passionate about lamb and tzatziki. He adapted the recipe to Maritimes tastes substituting spicy beef for lamb and sweet & savoury sauce for tzatziki. In 1973 he opened King of Donair which become the first Donair place in Canada.

There’s a thing about a donair pizza: you either love it or hate it. There’s probably another stage in between, and I might be the one who’s here now.

Halifax Donair

What’s the Halifax donair? There are two parts. The first part is protein. The donair meat is made of beef and various spices and herbs such as onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, and oregano. Then the meat is shaped like a large kebab and cooked on a rotating spit, then shaved off, and cooked again on a grill. This recipe is adjusted for an oven, and it is also recommended to brown the shaved meat in a pan. Delicious! You can put the donair meat on your pizza or wrap it up in a pita. It goes perfectly with diced tomatoes and onions.

The second part of the recipe is the sauce. When I was exploring the recipe (Before giving this pizza a try), I was surprised to find out the sauce is made of condensed milk, sugar, garlic powder, and vinegar. While I am not opposed to sweet and savoury combos (You know me, right?), my main concern was vinegar. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of taste would it bring when combined with milk and sugar. When we ordered the donair pizza first time ever, we asked not to drizzle our pizza too generously and put the sauce aside. I think I must have submerged the tip of my finger into the sauce like it was a hazardous substance. The first lick – didn’t get. The second lick – hmmm. Another try – that’s not bad at all!

Halifax Donair Sauce

The sauce is sweet (Not horribly sweet, though). However, you don’t really feel the vinegar. I guess its purpose is to thicken the sauce up due to some chemical reaction. Also, you can use either a can of sweetened condensed milk or the combination of evaporated milk and granulated sugar. When I made this sauce, I wanted to slightly reduce the amount of vinegar. That’s the reason (I believe) it didn’t have the right consistency. If you pay attention to the pictures with the pizza, you’ll notice the sauce is foamy and too thin. The next day, when we were finishing the donair meat leftovers, I fixed the sauce by stirring in it more vinegar and then refrigerating it a bit. The result was just right, and the taste was pleasant, too. The bottom line: don’t neglect the vinegar part.

I swear we did like this simplified Halifax Donair Flatbread Pizza more than anything we had tried in the pizzerias. Obviously, with homemade pizza crust, it would be even more delicious, but flatbread will work too. And you know what’s the best part? You can totally avoid the sauce if you didn’t like it.

Have you ever heard of the Halifax Donair Pizza? Would you like to give it a try? Tried this recipe? Let me know here or on my Instagram (DM or hashtag #havocinthekitchen).

Happy Canada Day to all who celebrate.

Cheers.

Halifax Donair
Halifax Donair Pizza.
Halifax Donair Bowl
Donair Salad Bowl.
Halifax Donair Flatbread
Halifax Donair Flatbread.
Halifax Donair Flatbread.
Halifax Donair Wrap.
Halifax Donair Wrap
Halifax Donair Wrap.
Original Photo. June 2019.

Halifax Donair

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: MainCuisine: Canadian
Servings

8-10

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Donair meat

2-3

hours
Chilling time

10

hours

Traditional Maritimes recipe Halifax Donair – four ways (Pizza, flatbread, wrap, and salad bowl.) The cooking time only includes making donair meat. This donair meat is enough for at least 2 pizzas, 2 flatbreads, 4 wraps, and 2 salad bowls. The meat can be refrigerated for about a week.

Ingredients

  • The Donair Meat:
  • 3 lb. (1,5 kg) lean ground beef

  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs (Such as Ciabatta)

  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp. paprika

  • 1 tbsp. onion powder (not salt)

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (not salt)

  • 1/4 tbsp. ground black pepper (Traditionally, used more)

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper

  • Donair Pizza:
  • ~500 gr. of ready to use yeast dough (for two large-medium pizzas)

  • ~ 1 cup of sliced (shredded) donair meat

  • ~ 1 and 1/2 cups shredded pizza mozzarella

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (about 2 tomatoes)

  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped

  • 1 tsp. cornmeal

  • Donair Flatbread:
  • 2 store-bought or homemade flatbread like Naan

  • ~ 1 cup of sliced (shredded) donair meat

  • 1/2 small red onion, diced (1/4 cup diced)

  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced (2/3 cup diced)

  • 2/3 cup grated pizza mozzarella

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup good quality pizza sauce (Optional)

  • Donair Wrap:
  • pita bread (I like Greek-style)

  • shredded donair meat

  • few drops of olive oil

  • diced tomatoes and red onion (traditional toppings)

  • other possible toppings: cucumbers, leafy salad like Iceberg or arugula

  • Donair Salad Bowl:
  • pita bread (I like Greek-style), cut into segments

  • shredded donair meat

  • few drops of olive oil

  • Iceberg lettuce, arugula (or other salad), diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, sliced radishes

  • Donair Sauce:
  • 1 can (370 ml) evaporated milk

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

Directions

  • The Donair Meat:
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Using a a stand-up electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine all ingredients on low speed until incorporated then increase speed to medium and knead donair mixture until elastic and firm, about 10 minutes. You can mix it by hand in a large bowl, but it will take 7 to 10 minutes longer.
  • Once everything is very well mixed, form the meat into a tightly packed oval loaf. Personally, I prefer making 2-3 logs as they are more convenient and faster to cook. In this case, I made 2 medium and one small logs. Tightly wrap these logs in foil (2 layers of foil) and seal well from both sides.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet (I would recommend lining it with some foil as the donair meat could leak). If you are using a rimmed baking sheet, place an empty baking sheet underneath.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about about 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you are making one large loaf, cook for about 2 and 1/2 hours.
  • Remove from the oven to rest and cool down to room temperature then place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day after the meat has chilled, slice the loaf(s) into thin slices.
  • Donair Pizza:
  • Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
  • Form the dough into two balls and roll out (You can choose one large pizza instead of two.) Sprinkle with the cornmeal. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. Top with the tomatoes, onions, and donair meat.
  • Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until nicely baked. Broil on high for 40 seconds or so to melt the cheese and remove from the oven.
  • Serve with the donair sauce if desired.
  • Donair Flatbread:
  • To make the flatbread, preheat oven to about 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Arrange the flatbread on a baking sheet.
  • If using, spread the pizza sauce over the flatbread. Generously arrange the meat along with the tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle with the mozzarella.
  • Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until the edges are crispy and browned and the cheese is melted.
  • Serve with the donair sauce if desired.
  • Donair Wrap:
  • Take a portion of shredded donair meat and cook in a frying pan with a few drops of olive oil, just until hot and lightly browned.
  • Warm up the flatbread, in a pan or even in a microwave.
  • Top the flatbread with the toppings and enjoy!
  • Donair Salad Bowl:
  • Take a portion of shredded donair meat and cook in a frying pan with a few drops of olive oil, just until hot and lightly browned.
  • Toast the flatbread segments onto a dry pan, few minutes, until hot and slightly crisp.
  • Mix up all salad ingredients and serve bawls with hot donair meat and pita bread. Serve with the donair sauce if desired.
  • Donair Sauce:
  • To make the sauce, in a bowl stir together the condensed milk with garlic powder and sugar and whisk 1-2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Whisk in the vinegar, until thickened.
  • Transfer to a container, cover, and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  • You can use sweetened condensed milk – just simply avoid the sugar.

19 thoughts on “Halifax Donair

  1. Michelle says:

    I love donairs — although I never heard of them until I moved to Edmonton. Halifax style is quite common there, at least the ones I tried were with that signature sauce! Glad you’re sharing the recipe so I can make it at home!

  2. laura says:

    I do love donair, Ben! I’ve only had it in a sandwich, and I’m not sure whether there was vinegar in the sauce, but the sauce was delicious! When I made doner at home, I used a completely different sauce – I’d definitely try the Halifax version!

  3. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    This is an interesting recipe! It is amazing all the uses one can find for condensed milk-or not! Love the idea of baking the meat in the oven in rolls and I do love gyros, so what fun would it be to try this! Thanks!

  4. Catherine says:

    What a sensational looking pizza, so savory and delicious! Donair is also new to me, it looks wonderful in the wrap as well and I would love to try the sauce! Fascinating recipes, all!

  5. Marissa says:

    Halifax Donair is new to me, but it looks totally irresistible, Ben! And love how versatile it is. Thank you for all of the ideas of how to enjoy it.

  6. David @ Spiced says:

    Ah, I remember what you first posted this one, Ben! To be honest, I had forgotten about it, but now I’m super intrigued. I have always loved donair meat, but I didn’t realize you can make it at home like this. I wonder if I could do this with ground lamb for a traditional donair meat? I need to try this idea!! And turning it into a pizza? Well done! (You know me…I try to turn everything into a pizza. Haha!)
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Sweet and Spicy Chicken TacosMy Profile

  7. Katherine | Love In My Oven says:

    I’ve never made my own donair meat but I’ve been craving it!! There is a little place near us that I was just telling Etienne we need to go visit. I’m all about supporting local, but I love the idea of making it myself too! This looks so fabulous!!

  8. Marie says:

    This is totally intriguing, Ben. While the thought of condensed milk and meat scares me, I always love your flavour combos so I’m definitely tempted to try it. Isn’t it funny, I’m in Australia and I find Australian cuisine hard to define too. Maybe it’s a too close to home thing.

  9. Laura says:

    Happy Canada Day, Ben! This Donair pizza sounds wonderful! Around here, we can get “Greek Pizza” made with gyro meat, but there are only a couple of Donair (spelled “doner” here) places. But we do love Donair when we visit Canada. Looks and sounds like a great recipe. (Even the sauce☺️)

  10. Neil says:

    Hope you enjoy your extended weekend Ben and Happy Birthday Canada. What a great way to celebrate with this Halifax Donair Pizza. And yes please I would love to give it a try! This looks a bit like a Doner Kebab, except its on a flat bread. And as I love Doner Kebabs I know I would love this.
    Neil recently posted…Tomato Cheese and Spinach Filo TartMy Profile

  11. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says:

    Happy birthday, Canada! While I’m jealous of your extended weekend, our holiday is right behind yours, so I’m just going to have to practice patience… and stuff my face with flatbread while I’m waiting! You know I’m a HUGE fan of flatbreads, so this one is calling my name! I’ve never heard of donair meat before, so I’m totally intrigued! I’m loving that sweet and savory sauce you paired with this! This looks absolutely delicious, Ben! Enjoy your long weekend!!!
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Homemade Salsa Verde RecipeMy Profile

  12. David @ Spiced says:

    First off, Happy Canada Day! :-) Second, I must admit that I’m not familiar with Halifax Donair. It sounds a lot like Doner Kebabs…just with a Canadian twist. The meat sounds delicious, although like you I’m a little skeptical of the sauce. Interesting tasting notes there! I trust you, so I’ll have to go all in on the sauce. This is definitely a fun recipe, and I appreciate you sharing it here! Have a good long weekend, my friend!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Mint Chocolate Chip CakeMy Profile

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