Kebabas can be a truly delicious meal, but they come with multiple allergy concerns and obviously those need to come first. It’s not surprising that so many people want to try kebabs for the first time as they can be absolutely delicious and come in many different forms depending on where you are in the world. Most people in the West are going to be most familiar with skewer-based Shish Kebabs or Doner Kebabs.
So do these two conventional kebab types bad news for people with nut allergies?
Nuts make up no part of the ingredients of a conventional shish kebab or donner kebab, though some regional kebabs in the Middle East are known to have nuts. However, when ordering kebabs it’s important to be cautious with any place that also serves foods that involve peanuts, peanut sauce, or similar ingredients that could cross contaminate.
Allergies are a serious issue, and that’s the reason we already did an article answering the question “Do Kebabs Have Dairy?” (Quick Answer: They very likely do – click the link for more information) and it’s also why despite the fact that conventional kebab recipes whether shish kebabs or Doner Kebabs, it’s crucial to play it safe.
There have been multiple stories in Great Britain and other places of takeout kebabs somehow being cross-contaminated with peanuts, which can lead to scary cases like this. For those readers in Great Britain this report from the West Sussex Trading Standards isn’t going to be especially reassuring on the allergy front when it comes to local kebabs.
Always err on the side of caution.
Conventional Kebab Preparation
With conventional kebab preparation there shouldn’t be nuts. For a skewer it should be obvious just meat and vegetables on a skewer. Some salt or pepper should be all the seasoning that it receives. For Doner Kebabs there are no conventional ingredients related to peanuts, peanut sauce, or other nuts.
Here is the allergy sheet that is provided by German Doner Kebab for the expected potential allergy issues with their franchises. Assuming each franchise is following the strict food safety guidelines, this should be a good guide but it’s important to pay attention at each location and look for signs of good or poor upkeep to decide how much you want to trust that particular
Kebabs Types That Have Nuts
There are certain types of kebabs that have nuts in them or regionally have an option where some types of nuts are ingredients. These can be particularly prevalent around certain areas of Turkey and the Middle East. So what are the most common offenders?
The most common nuts that pop up in kebabs are:
- Pine Nuts
- Sesame Seeds
There are regional variants that use all of these, and so keeping an eye out is important. There is some good news, though, which is that the majority of the time if there are nuts in the kebab, it’s mentioned in the name if you’re in the local region where it’s commonly eaten and enjoyed.
More information on this specifically (and kebab allergies in general) can be found in this excellent blog post by Allergy Free Traveler. Don’t let the basic blogspot blog turn you off – the information is top notch and from a clearly reliable source.
Just keep in mind that you will need to know the local language to identify the right words. If sitting down at a restaurant it’s always a good idea to make sure the servers understand you have allergies just in case there’s a surprise. Why would someone add sesame seeds or pine seeds to a dish that usually doesn’t have it?
Think of it as cheese bread. Great surprise for those of us who don’t have dairy allergies but it’s not great for anyone with dairy issues. A local restaurant might include some extra sees in their dough, bread, or other ingredient in a way that is welcomed by most locals but is a problem when it comes to allergies.
Nut Allergies & Kebabs: The Verdict
While kebabs are delicious and can make for a very filling and tasty meal, anyone with allergies needs to be very careful about where they get their kebabs from and there’s a good argument to be made that people with serious allergies should consider only kebabs that they make on their own from materials they can confirm and source themselves.
This is the only way to be 100% sure that the kebabs you’re getting won’t have anything they shouldn’t. And if you live in an area that has had negative reports or problems with contamination of kebabs with nuts, it’s best to play it on the safe side and look for another snack or make sure you have full control over your kebabs as you make them at home.
Other Kebab Articles of Interest