Gluten Free Donair Recipe – Meatloaf

This gluten free donair recipe was adapted from Harvard University’s Donair recipe. Donairs are similar to gyros but better. The history behind donairs is very interesting. When Peter and John Kamoulakos tried to introduce their Nova Scotia restaurant clientele to lamb gyros, it did not go over very well. They changed the lamb to beef and created a sweet sauce (some say using evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar and garlic powder). Today there are two restaurants in Ontario, Canada named Halifax Donair (Halifax is a municipality [large city] in Nova Scotia). You will find many Canadian pizza restaurants serving donairs and donair pizzas. This gluten free donair recipe is my version of this very messy, yet savory and sweet fare.


This meat also makes a wonderful meatloaf, especially when made with ground turkey.

Gluten Free Donair Recipe

Yield: Makes about 6 - 8 donairs.

Gluten Free Donair Recipe

A tasty gluten free donair recipe which may be made with a gluten free pita bread or my famous gluten free naan. For those who eat gluten they can use regular pita bread. Because turkey is not as greasy as beef, there is no need to refrigerate for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Slice as soon as the loaf is easy enough to handle.


    For the Donair Meat:*
  • 1 1/2 pounds overly ground, lean beef
  • 6 Tablespoons gluten free bread crumbs, unseasoned (or 4C Gluten Free brand, plain)
  • 1/3 medium yellow onion, cut Into pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional for kids)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups gluten free rice milk + 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, allowed to rest for at least 15 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (or 3/4 tsp stevia powder)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum (optional, for thickening)
  • For the Pita Bread:
  • 1 Recipe Gluten Free Naan
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1 fresh tomato (or red bell pepper for tomato-free), chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped


    To Make the Donair Meat:
  1. If you prefer your onions to be sweet, sauté them in a little oil for about 10 to 15 minutes prior to adding them to the mixture.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
  3. Add the ground beef to the large bowl of your food processor and top with the remaining meat ingredients. Run the processor for about 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth and the all of the ingredients are well distributed. Add the mixture to a baking dish and shape into a meatloaf. Transfer the loaf to a broiling pan and bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Transfer the loaf to a clean baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until it is firm. Slice the loaf into 1/4-inch slices and then into about 1 x 1-inch squares. Fry the slices in a pre-oiled frying pan to crust the outer edges, if desired.
  5. To Make the Sauce:
  6. Stir the buttermilk, sugar and garlic powder until the sugar dissolves and refrigerate the sauce.
  7. To Make the Pita Bread:
  8. Make the Gluten Free Naan recipe according to the instructions at the link above. Use only 1/4 cup of the batter instead of 1/3.
  9. To Arrange the Gluten Free Donair:
  10. Add a bit of sauce to each gluten free naan bread, add some of the meat mixture; garnish with chopped tomato and onion (sauteed a bit, if desired), and more sauce. Wrap each donair in aluminum foil or parchment paper before serving as it gets a bit messy.


*If using ground turkey, bake in a 7 1/2 x 7 1/2” baking dish for approximately one hour and 15 minutes or until fully cooked.

Because turkey is not as greasy as beef, you can slice it in the casserole dish. There is no reason to cool it

4 Replies to “Gluten Free Donair Recipe – Meatloaf”

  1. YEAH! Also, the Haligonians, and most Eastern Canadians are the most kind and passionate humans you will ever meet – As evidenced by the previous comments.
    We may not agree with each other all the time but come at us and we will rise up to defend God’s country.

  2. What’s wrong with correcting the author by saying that Halifax is a city and giving information about it? I live in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), and even the city itself (I live just outside of Halifax) is pretty big (and HRM even bigger). I myself was a bit annoyed when I read the word “town.”

    And this recipe is not correct. You don’t use bread crumbs. For each pound of meat, you use 1 tsp of flour. So since I started making gluten free donair, I just use 1 tsp of rice flour or whatever I have on hand. It doesn’t need to be an “all-purpose” gluten free mix or anything; it’s just a filler, nothing fancy.

    You also don’t use onions; just onion powder. There is no paprika. And you need Italian seasonings.

    Check out “Dash’s Donair” (do a search) and you’ll see a genuine Halifax recipe.

  3. FYI Halifax is not a “town” in Nova Scotia. The City of Halifax was established in 1842. Nova Scotians fought in the Crimean War. The Welsford-Parker Monument in Halifax is the oldest war monument in Canada (1860) and the only Crimean War monument in North America. It currently has a population of around 400,000.

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