Do the Donair

I’ve noticed, of late, that tasty donair treats have been gaining a bit of popularity. Growing up, donair pizza in particular was something that only seemed to exist on the East-most side of Canada, but it’s beginning to spread as Easterners move West and sharing recipes online becomes a million-times-a-day occurrence. So following that suit, I thought I would share my donair pizza recipe, which I have pretty much perfected at this point. You know it.

Tell me that doesn't look DELICIOUS AS HELL.
Tell me that doesn’t look DELICIOUS AS HELL.


The first, and most important, ingredient is obviously the donair meat. I can remember when I was little no one seemed to know what the hell donair meat was, so I was incredibly surprised the first time I looked up a recipe and discovered that it’s actually just ground beef with a bunch of spices mixed in. There are a couple of tricks to making great donair meat though, so read carefully:

Donair Meat Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Donair Meat Instructions and Tips:

Tip #1: If you love saltiness and (preferable) don’t have any heart issues, you can replace the garlic and onion powder with garlic and onion salt. Doing so makes me feel a little bad about myself every time I do it, but it is also terribly delicious, so…yeah, there’s that.

Tip #2: If you’re a fan of spicy food, you can add a little more cayenne pepper. Donair meat is naturally a little spicy (I mean, come on, look at all those spices you just put in there), but a little extra cayenne gives it a nice kick.

Now, once you’ve got all your spices measured out and added to your ground beef, you’re going to want to mix it all up, much like you would when making meat balls. Get your fingers right in there and really mush everything together. Once everything is evenly combined, that’s where Tip #3 comes in: if you have a food processor, use it now. One of the big keys to good donair meat is making sure you get as much air out of the meat as possible before forming it. Pulsing it in a food processor for a minute or two helps achieve this with minimum effort. You want your meat to look like a sticky paste.

If you don’t have a food processor, the best method for getting the air out of the meat is – not even joking here – chucking it at the counter/table. You’re going to want to clear yourself some space so that you’re not splashing bits of meat on everything, and then you want to literally gather the meat up in a ball and throw it – hard – at your preparation surface. Gather the meat back up, form it back into a ball, and throw it down again. Do this twenty or thirty times. It seems ridiculous, but you are both tenderizing the meat and forcing the air bubbles the surface. Trust me, this is important.

Once you’ve either processed or bashed the living hell out of everything, you want to form it into a loaf shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more uniform you make it the easier it will be to slice later.

Place your loaf on a pan and stick in the oven for 75 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once it’s done cooking you’re going to want to stick it in the fridge for a while; donair meat is much easier to slice up when it’s cold. Once it’s nice and cool you can slice it up. Most recipes will tell you to slice it very thin, but I don’t worry about it so much. You don’t want it to bee too thick for use on pizza, but I usually slice mine to about the same thickness as I would pepperoni on a regular pizza.

P.S. When slicing up your donair meat you might notice a slight reddish tint. This is a result of the spices, not under-cooking. I’ve made this recipe dozens of times and it’s never been undercooked once.


Next up on the list is the dough, because pizza is nothing without good dough. I’ve tried several recipes myself, but the best one I’ve found yet is the one that was in the recipe book that came with my Cuisinart food processor. This recipe is, of course, meant to be made in said food processor, but I’m sure you could mix it by hand if you don’t have one.

Pizza Dough Ingredients:

1 pkg pizza dough yeast (or 2-1/4 tsp of quick-rise yeast)1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza Dough Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the lukewarm water. Don’t stir, just kinda poke the yeast down into the water; stirring will make the yeast stick to the spoon and get all goopy. Set this mixture aside for about five minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

While you’re waiting, combine the flour and salt. Nothing too complicated here.

If you have a food processor, get it moving and slowly pour the yeast mixture in. Process until most of the dough forms into a ball, and then continue processing for 30 seconds to a minute to allow for kneading time. If you don’t have a food processor, I suggest dousing your hands in flour before trying to hand-mix this dough, as it can be fairly sticky.

When you’ve got a nicely kneaded dough, roll it into a ball and pour on the oil. Rub the oil all over the surface of the dough ball, place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a tea-towel (does dough rise better in the dark? I honestly don’ t know…this is just something that everyone seems to do, so I’ve always done it myself). Leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes.


Finally, for a really good donair pizza you have to have a really good donair sauce. For ages I used this recipe that involves evaporated milk, and it was tasty but also very easy to screw up. There seemed to be no particular amount of vinegar that worked well every time, and if you stirred the mixture too much it could go really liquidy, which I’ll just tell you outright is not good. So eventually my husband came across this different recipe that is quite excellent and stays nice and thick no matter what you do to it. It’s also extremely simple.

Donair Sauce Ingredients:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder

Donair Sauce Instructions:

Mix. That’s all there is too it. If it doesn’t seem like the vinegar is properly mixing into the milk, just keep mixing. Stir it nice and fast. It’ll mix together eventually and it’ll be nice and thick and delicious. If you haven’t had donair sauce before, I know it looks weird and smells funny, and you probably don’t want to taste it just by itself because, come on, it’s just sweet milk and vinegar, but trust me…when paired with donair meat it is absolute joy.


Finally, it’s time to construct your pizza! And yes, there are tips to this part as well. First, when you go for your dough you’re going to want to punch it – yes, literally punch the dough right in the center before removing it from the bowl. It helps get the air bubbles out. Then spread it out on your pizza pan. I assume that most of you will be able to figure this one out on your own. If you’ve made my dough recipe it should spread out pretty easily. One thing I hate about pizza dough is when it’s all elastic and refuses to properly spread to the edges of the pan, and that’s why I love this particular recipe. It spreads beautifully.

Once your dough is prepared the first thing you want to do is NOT spread the sauce. DON’T DO IT. I know, everything you know about pizza tells you that the sauce goes on the dough first, but I’m telling you right now that your first layer should be the mozzarella cheese. This helps the pizza to hold together better. You know how the toppings on homemade pizza always seem to want to slide right off? This fixes that problem. Put a layer of cheese on the dough first – not all of the cheese…maybe about half as much as you’d normally enjoy on your pizza, and save the other half for later. On top of the cheese you want to drizzle some of your donair sauce. Don’t worry about trying to spread it easily or anything like that. Just kinda blob it around until you’ve got about a third of the sauce physically on the pizza. Don’t worry, as the pizza cooks the sauce will melt and spread around.

Once you’ve got your cheese and sauce, toss down some of that sliced donair meat. You don’t want to overdo it, but spread out a nice even layer of meat, and once you’ve got the pizza covered, toss on the rest of your cheese.

The only other donair pizza ingredients are optional, although most people will tell you that they’re necessary. Those are simply onion and tomato. Chopped, sliced, minced…however you like them. Cut up some onion and tomato and toss that on top of your pizza.

With your pizza constructed, pop it in the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until the pizza crust is nice and golden brown.

Congratulations! You’ve just made yourself the best damn donair pizza that ever there was! Slice up and serve with the remainder of the donair sauce, either by dipping or spreading the sauce on the slice before eating it.

No need to thank me. All in a days work. ❤

Young Me’s, Meet Older Me’s!

Occasionally I find it interesting to look back at my life, to mentally stack up the “Me”‘s from throughout history and to compare them. I find it interesting to look back and see how things have changed, how attitudes and interests have shifted…or how they’ve stayed the same, because some things never change.

An example of something that didn't change: I STILL get my hair in a ponytail this way.
For example, I STILL use this method to get my ponytail straight, even though it makes me look like a nut. 

When I was a kid I loved the winter. Now that I’m an adult with many daily concerns, I loathe it. I still love December because that’s Christmas and I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving Christmas no matter how old and crotchety I get. But as soon as the New Year rolls over I am officially DONE with winter, and then it’s just suffering for the next few months. When I was a kid playing in the snow was the best thing ever. Now it’s fun watching my daughter play in the snow, but only until my nose gets cold and then I’m bribing her with everything under the sun to convince her to come back in the house. I hate the wind, I hate the slushy crap that winds up everywhere once a bit of snow melts, and I hate the fact that it seems to last forever in Eastern Canada. There’s nothing worse than the first day of Spring when there’s still snow on the ground.

When I was younger I was an enormous scaredy-cat. I loved watching the “creepy” shows that YTV used to play on Friday night – Are You Afraid of the Dark? was my absolute favorite – and I read tons of scary books like the Goosebumps series, but underneath I was a total wuss. I’d hide my eyes during parts of the shows, and I’d have a hundred lights on around me while reading my books. I gave myself nightmares on a regular basis. And as I got older and was dragged kicking and screaming into more “adult” scary stuff, it got more pathetic. I couldn’t watch a horror movie without nearly having a heart attack. These days I couldn’t resemble that scaredy-cat girl any less. I partly attribute this to my husband who, while we were dating, subjecting me with a metric ton of horror movies, both good and bad, both genuinely frightening and only frightening in how ridiculous they were. At this point I’ve become so desensitized, it’s almost disappointing. I enjoy being scared now, but it happens very rarely. And these days my nightmares do not involve monsters, ghosts, or evil creatures; my nightmares these days involve my daughter having an accident, my husband leaving me, or my house burning down. Dammit, I’ve become such an adult.

In a twist, I was significantly more into video games as an adult than I was as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved video games when I was little. I had an Atari when I wasn’t even in school yet, I treasured my very first Nintendo Entertainment System, and I only know one or two people who logged as many hours as me into Chrono Trigger. But video games were not my life when I was a kid. I played them, and I loved them, but I also spent a lot of time outside, riding my bike or my roller-blades. I spent a lot of time writing and drawing, and “building” things (have I told you about the entire closet that I devoted to creating a dollhouse?). Truth be told, I did not spend nearly as much time playing video games during the first 18 years of my life as I did in the five years following those. Maybe that was because I got lazier and wanted to spend more time just loafing around. I don’t really know. But in my early twenties I definitely spent a lot more time on video games than I had at any other point in my youth. These days things have slowed down simply because I have a lot more responsibilities on my plate, but my Playstation Vita has been reigniting a spark in me, and don’t think for a second that I wouldn’t spend every waking second playing games if I weren’t able to convince myself that I have more important things to do.

I’ve always hated to cook. I really don’t think that’s ever going to change. There have always been a few things that I didn’t mind making. When I was a kid I’d whip myself up some English Muffin pizzas, and when I was a little older I’d fry up some hot Italian sausages and hash browns (a totally under-recognized meal, in my opinion), but for the overwhelming part the task of creating edible, enjoyable meals has always been one that gives me a twitch right above my eye. I enjoy eating. I hate cooking. I don’t mind baking so much because it’s usually very formulaic – add ingredients, stir, pour into pan, bake – but there’s only so much sugar you can serve to your family. I don’t think I will ever enjoy cooking. It’s just not my thing, and I screw up often enough that even the eating part isn’t always enjoyable.


Some things change, some things don’t. Some changes (or lack thereof) are quite surprising. Who else wants to share? Look back at yourself… What differences pop up in your mind and give you a little chuckle?