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Vegan Shawarma Recipe For A Satisfying Meal At Home

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Get ready to spice up your dinner with our Vegan Shawarma Recipe! This Middle Eastern-inspired dish features marinated and grilled seitan or tofu, packed with flavorful herbs and spices like cumin, paprika, and garlic.

Serve it up in warm pita bread with crisp veggies and a dollop of creamy tahini sauce for a mouthwatering meal that’s bursting with Mediterranean flair!

WHY IT WORKS?

  • Incorporates a homemade spice blend, offering an authentic taste without the meat.
  • Features fresh vegetables for a crisp, nutritious addition.
  • Served in a whole wheat pita, providing a healthier alternative.
  • Accompanied by a vegan garlic sauce, enhancing flavor while keeping it dairy-free.

Craving the rich flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine but need help finding plant-based options that satisfy? I was in this predicament, missing traditional shawarma’s sizzle and spice. That’s when I discovered the breakthrough of Vegan Shawarma Recipe. 

This recipe doesn’t just mimic the classic taste—it reinvents it, proving you don’t have to compromise on flavor to stick to a vegan diet.

I discovered a comforting and exciting dish by turning to a clever mix of spices and alternative proteins. Perfect for anyone looking to indulge their taste buds without straying from their plant-based journey, this vegan shawarma is a testament to the power of culinary creativity.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

What Is A Vegan Shawarma?

Vegan shawarma is a plant-based version of the traditional Middle Eastern dish typically made with sliced meat. Instead of meat, it uses alternatives like seasoned tofu, tempeh, or seitan, marinated in aromatic spices such as cumin, paprika, and turmeric.

These ingredients are then grilled or roasted to achieve a texture similar to the original meat version.

Wrapped in a soft pita with fresh vegetables, pickles, and various sauces, vegan shawarma offers a delicious, cruelty-free option that captures the essence of its meaty counterpart, making it a favorite among vegans and vegetarians.

Quick Fact-Vegan shawarma often features jackfruit or mushrooms as meat substitutes, leveraging their texture to mimic the traditional dish while being entirely plant-based and environmentally friendly.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Prepare Fixings: If serving with tahini sauce and salad, prepare these before cooking the mushrooms to ensure a seamless assembly process.
  • Prepare Mushrooms & Onion: Clean the portobello mushroom caps and slice them into ½-inch slices. Slice the red onion and add both to a large mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt, then drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to ensure even coating.
  • Season: In a small bowl, combine the spices for the shawarma seasoning. Set aside.
  • Cook Mushrooms & Onion: Heat olive oil in a cast-iron griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and onion, allowing them to sizzle undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then, start tossing them around.
  • Season Again: Apply the shawarma spice blend to the mushrooms and onions. Start with half of the blend, adding more to taste after the initial application. Add more olive oil to ensure the mushrooms are fully cooked if necessary. Aim for well-charged mushrooms and onions, which should take 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Assemble & Serve: Warm the pita pockets or wraps for easier handling. Fill each pita with the mushroom and onion mixture, adding tahini sauce and fresh veggies or salad as desired. For a finishing touch, add another drizzle of tahini sauce.
  • Enjoy: Serve the vegan shawarma immediately, offering an explosion of flavors and textures with every bite.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Variations

  • Protein Base: Besides portobello mushrooms, consider seitan, jackfruit, chickpeas, or tempeh for different textures and flavors.
  • Spices: Adjust the shawarma spice blend to suit your taste. Add more cumin for warmth, paprika for smokiness, or cayenne for heat.
  • Wrap Options: Swap out traditional pita bread for gluten-free wraps and lettuce wraps, or serve over a bed of grains like quinoa or rice for a bowl variation.

Add-Ons

  • Sauces: Apart from tahini sauce, you might enjoy garlic sauce, vegan tzatziki, or a spicy harissa paste for extra zing.
  • Pickles: Pickled cucumbers, turnips, or beets add a tangy crunch that balances the savory flavors.
  • Hummus: A spread of hummus inside the pita before adding the fillings can add creaminess and depth.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Toppings

  • Fresh Vegetables: Sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and lettuce offer a refreshing crunch. Avocado slices can add creaminess.
  • Greens: Incorporate a handful of fresh parsley, mint, or arugula for a burst of freshness.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Sprinkle toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds on top for a nutty flavor and extra texture.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Vegetable Substitutions 

  • Mushrooms – Their meaty texture makes them a great substitute for beef or chicken.
  • Cauliflower – Versatile and hearty, perfect for replacing chicken or making steak-like dishes.
  • Jackfruit – Its texture mimics pulled pork or chicken, ideal for tacos or sandwiches.
  • Eggplant – Its dense texture makes it excellent for making bacon or meaty layers in lasagna.
  • Zucchini – Thinly sliced, it’s a fantastic noodle substitute for lighter, crispier bacon.
  • Butternut Squash – Cubed and roasted, it can replace meat in curries and stews.
  • Chickpeas – A protein-packed option for adding bulk to salads, soups, or as a tuna substitute.
  • Lentils – Great for mimicking ground meat in sauces, tacos, or meatloaves.
  • Beets – Their earthy flavor and texture are perfect for burgers or as a tuna replacement in sushi.

Quick Tip -For deeper flavors in vegan cooking, roast your vegetables before adding them to dishes. This step caramelizes their natural sugars, enhancing their taste and richness.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Best Side Dishes 

  • Tabbouleh A refreshing parsley and bulgur wheat salad bursting with lemon and mint.
  • Hummus Creamy and rich, perfect for dipping or spreading on the shawarma.
  • Fattoush A Lebanese salad with mixed greens, fresh vegetables, and crispy pita pieces dressed in a zesty vinaigrette.
  • Baba Ganoush Smoky eggplant dip, ideal for a creamy contrast to the spiced shawarma.
  • Cucumber Yogurt Salad A cool, vegan tzatziki alternative made with plant-based yogurt, cucumber, and dill.
  • Roasted Vegetables Seasonal vegetables roasted with olive oil and herbs, offering a sweet and savory side.
  • Pickled Vegetables Quick-pickled cucumbers, carrots, or turnips add a tangy crunch.
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas) Filled with rice, herbs, and sometimes pine nuts or raisins, these are a savory, tangy treat.
  • Pita Bread Warm and soft for scooping up dips or wrapping extra shawarma.
  • Rice Pilaf Fragrant rice cooked with spices, nuts, and raisins, serving as a hearty base.

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

How To Serve?

  • Warm Pitas – Start warming your pitas or wraps to make them pliable and toasty. This enhances their flavor and makes them easier to fill.
  • Spread Sauces – Apply a generous layer of tahini sauce, hummus, or vegan garlic sauce on the inside of the pitas. This adds moisture and richness.
  • Add the Shawarma Filling – Stuff the warmed pitas with your vegan shawarma mixture, ensuring a good balance of spiced proteins and veggies.
  • Include Fresh Vegetables – Add cucumber, tomato, and red onion slices for a crisp, refreshing contrast to the savory shawarma.
  • Incorporate Pickles – Insert some pickled vegetables like cucumbers, turnips, or even sauerkraut for an extra tangy crunch.
  • Drizzle Extra Sauce – Add another drizzle of your chosen sauce before closing the pita for extra flavor and creaminess.
  • Serve with Sides – Place the shawarma on a plate alongside your chosen sides, such as hummus, baba ganoush, or a fresh salad.
  • Garnish – Sprinkle fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro over the top for a burst of color and freshness.
  • Offer Extra Sauces – Provide additional sauces on the side for guests to customize their shawarma to their liking.
  • Enjoy Immediately – Vegan shawarma is best enjoyed fresh, so encourage diners to dive in as soon as it’s served to savor the full spectrum of flavors and textures.

Quick Tip-To maintain the freshness and texture of your vegan shawarma, assemble it just before serving. This ensures the pita stays soft and the vegetables crisp.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Make Ahead: Mix the shawarma spice and marinate your vegan protein overnight for deeper flavors.
  • Refrigerate: Keep the marinated mixture in an airtight container for 3 days.
  • Sauces: Prepare tahini or garlic sauce ahead and store in the fridge. They usually stay fresh for about a week.
  • Vegetables: Chop veggies and store them in separate containers in the fridge to keep them crisp.
  • Pitas: Pitas can be stored in a tightly sealed bag at room temperature for a few days or frozen for longer storage.
  • Assembly: Assemble the shawarma before serving for the best texture and taste. Prepping ingredients saves time and enhances flavors, making mealtime seamless and delicious.

Fact-The spice blend used in vegan shawarma, including cumin and coriander, dates back centuries in Middle Eastern cuisine, adding depth and a link to culinary history in every bite.

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Prep Spices in Bulk: Mix your shawarma spice blend in large quantities ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for quick seasoning.
  2. Use Pre-Cut Vegetables: Buy pre-sliced or diced vegetables if possible. This saves time on chopping and ensures fresh veggies are ready to go.
  3. Marinate Overnight: Marinate your vegan protein the night before. This saves time on the day off and infuses the dish with more flavor.
  4. Batch Cook: Make larger quantities of the vegan shawarma filling and freeze in portions. Reheat for a quick meal without starting from scratch.
  5. Quick-Pickle Veggies: Prepare quick-pickled vegetables in advance. They can last in the fridge for weeks and are great to add a tangy crunch.
  6. Utilize Multipurpose Appliances: Use a food processor for quick chopping or blending sauces and dressings, saving manual chopping time.
  7. Pre-Warm Pitas: Warm pitas in the oven while finishing the shawarma filling. This multitasking step means everything is ready to serve at once.
  8. Simplify Sauces: Opt for store-bought vegan sauces or dressings in a pinch. Look for high-quality options that complement your dish without adding prep time.

Vegan-Shawarma-Recipe01

Vegan Shawarma Recipe

Vegan shawarma transforms the traditional Middle Eastern favorite into a plant-based delight. Using marinated and spiced tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms as a substitute for meat, it's wrapped in a warm pita with fresh vegetables and a creamy tahini sauce. This dish offers a savory, satisfying experience, making it a perfect choice for vegans and meat-eaters.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Rest Time 0 mins
Servings 4
Calories 350 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Cast-Iron Griddle or Large Skillet
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • WhiskPita Warmer or Oven

Ingredients
  

  • teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper more to your liking
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional)
  • 4-5 caps Portabella Mushroom Caps  just over a pound
  • Kosher Salt To taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil As needed
  • 1 large Large Red Onion  halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ large lemon Juice of ½ Large Lemon
  • 2 to 3 Pitas Bread cut in half to make 4 to 6 pockets
  • 3-Ingredient Mediterranean Salad As desired
  • Tahini Sauce As desired

Instructions
 

  • Prepare Fixings: If you plan to include the tahini sauce and salad with your shawarma, start by preparing them. This ensures everything is ready for assembly after the mushrooms are cooked.
  • Prepare Mushrooms & Onion: Thoroughly clean your portobello mushroom caps, then slice them into ½-inch thick pieces. Thinly slice the red onion as well. Place both in a large mixing bowl. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt, then drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and half a large lemon juice. Toss everything together to ensure the mushrooms and onions are evenly coated.
  • Season: In a separate small bowl, mix the shawarma seasoning spices: cumin, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ground cloves (if using). Keep this spice blend handy for the next step.
  • Cook Mushrooms & Onion: Heat a splash of extra virgin olive oil in a cast-iron griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the seasoned mushrooms and onion to the pan. Allow them to sizzle undisturbed for 2 minutes to get a good sear. After that, start tossing them around gently to ensure even cooking.
  • Season Again: Now, generously season the mushrooms and onions with the shawarma spice blend you prepared earlier. Begin with half of the seasoning mix, then taste and add more according to your preference. If the mixture seems dry, don't hesitate to drizzle a bit more olive oil. Continue cooking until the mushrooms and onions are well-charred and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Assemble & Serve: Warm your pita pockets or wraps while the mushrooms are finishing to make them more pliable. Fill each pita with a generous amount of the mushroom and onion mixture. Then, add a spoonful of tahini sauce, and if you like, some fresh vegetables or a bit of the salad you prepared earlier. Finish with an additional drizzle of tahini sauce for extra flavor.
  • Enjoy: Serve your vegan shawarma immediately to enjoy the full flavors and textures. The combination of spiced, tender mushrooms and onions, creamy tahini sauce, and fresh veggies wrapped in a soft pita will surely satisfy.

Notes

  • Spice Blend Adjustments: Tailor the shawarma spice blend to your taste by adjusting the amount of cayenne for heat or adding more garlic powder for depth.
  • Marination Time: For deeper flavors, consider marinating the sliced mushrooms and onions in the spice and oil mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Sauce Variety: For varied flavor profiles, such as vegan garlic aioli or spicy harissa, experiment with different sauces.
  • Wrap Alternatives: Gluten-free wraps or lettuce leaves can be great alternatives for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Serving Temperature: Serve the pita bread warm for the best texture and to make assembling easier.
  • Leftovers: Store any leftover mushroom and onion mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

vegan shawarama recipe card

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

vegan shawarma recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Shawarma Gluten-Free?

You can make vegan shawarma gluten-free by using gluten-free pitas or wraps. Ensure that all your ingredients, particularly store-bought sauces or spice mixes, are certified gluten-free.

Lettuce wraps are a fresh, low-carb alternative for those avoiding bread that still delivers all the shawarma flavors.

What Are The Best Protein Options For Vegan Shawarma?

The best protein options for vegan shawarma include marinated and spiced slices of tofu, tempeh, seitan, or even jackfruit, which have a texture similar to pulled meat.

Portobello mushrooms are also popular due to their meaty texture and ability to absorb flavors well. The choice depends on personal preference and dietary restrictions.

How Can I Meal Prep Vegan Shawarma For The Week?

To meal-prep vegan shawarma, you can marinate your chosen protein and prepare the shawarma spice blend in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Slice vegetables and store them in airtight containers. Prepare sauces like tahini or garlic sauce in bulk and refrigerate. When ready to eat, cook the protein, warm the pita, and assemble your shawarma, adding fresh veggies and sauce.

Are There Any Nut-Free Sauce Options For Vegan Shawarma?

Yes, there are several nut-free sauce options for vegan shawarma. Traditional tahini sauce, made from sesame seeds, is naturally nut-free.

You can also opt for a vegan yogurt-based garlic sauce or a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. Make a red pepper sauce with roasted red peppers, garlic, and spices blended until smooth for a spicy kick.

How Do I Keep My Vegan Shawarma Moist And Flavorful?

To keep your vegan shawarma moist and flavorful, ensure your protein is well-marinated before cooking. Use a generous amount of olive oil and lemon juice in the marinade to add moisture and tang.

Ensure you cook your protein properly to prevent it from drying out. Finally, adding a drizzle of sauce, like tahini or garlic sauce, when assembling your shawarma can also help maintain moisture and add an extra layer of flavor.

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VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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