Close your eyes and picture a warm, fluffy pita, crisp and charred in a few choice spots, slathered with creamy, dreamy hummus. Imagine sinking your teeth into meaty, juicy Middle Eastern spiced oyster mushrooms. The aromas alone are enough to make your mouth water. This vegan shawarma recipe is then loaded with fresh, crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, tangy pickled veggies, and you know it would be downright stupid if we didn’t drizzle it with harissa and tahini, right?
You'll need both hands to hold this big, bold, juicy vegan mushroom shawarma sandwich bursting with flavor. And let's not forget the sauce - oh, the sauce! Drizzled with two unbelievably luscious sauces that will make your taste buds do the happy dance for real. You want to top it all off with shawarma's best friend? Then chase this bad boy down with a slice or two of my Persian baklava with pistachios and rosewater syrup.
If you're a vegan or vegetarian, you might think you have to miss out on the beloved Turkish/Lebanese/Greek sandwich, but not anymore. This plant-based shawarma is made with delicious, spiced oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced roasted tofu, Israeli salad, or my easy and fast taboule, hummus, pickled vegetables, olives, and tahini. Serve this bad boy next to a steaming bowl of harira or bulgar pilavi. Trust me, one bite and you'll be hooked!
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- 🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- 🤔What is vegan shawarma?
- If you want to make your own tahini sauce, it's so freaking easy!
- 📖Step-by-step instructions
- 🥙 To make vegan shawarma sandwiches
- 🍽️Serving Ideas
- ❗️Top tips
- ✌️You might really wanna make these too.
- ❤️More freaking veggies you are going to love.
- Next level vegan shawarma with baharat roasted oyster mushrooms
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
👉By not trying to mimic the traditional vertical spit preparation method, this vegetarian shawarma can be prepared in manageable small batches, which are less costly and less wasteful to prepare.
👉This is one of the recipes on my blog (along with my blue corn pancakes with pine nut butter) that I used to offer on my food truck. Maybe you tried it there and fel in love?
👉The mixture of roasted oyster mushrooms and tofu creates an unbelievable meaty mouthfeel.
👉Making this shawarma without seitan, means that it is completely gluten-free, as long as it is served over rice or on a gluten-free wrap instead of the traditional pita!
👉This is an easy option for quick weeknight meals and for easy meal prep! You can effortlessly have dinner on the table without making a mess of your kitchen in under 40 minutes. You only need one pan to roast the filling and one pan to finish on the stovetop. While the filling is in the oven, you can assemble everything else and be ready to rock.
🥴This right here is some premium-quality vegan hangover food!
🤔What is vegan shawarma?
Vegan shawarma is a plant-based version of the traditional Middle Eastern shawarma dish, which typically consists of marinated meat that is cooked on a spit and shaved off in thin slices. Instead of meat, this vegan shawarma uses oyster mushrooms and tofu roasted in Lebanese 7-spice and then sautéed with olive oil, lemon juice, and an aromatic blend of shawarma spices. It is often served in a pita, homemade whole wheat kuboos, or as a salad with pickled and fresh vegetables, creamy tahini, hummus, and sometimes with harissa. Vegan shawarma is a delicious and healthy option for those who want to decrease their cholesterol intake and abstain from committing violence against animals.
- Baharat: Baharat (a.k.a. Lebanese 7 spice blend) is a Middle Eastern blend of spices that typically includes cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, and black pepper. In some regions, it also includes ginger, fenugreek, or nutmeg. It has a warm, slightly sweet, and slightly smoky flavor and will be your new best friend in lentil soup.
- Oyster mushrooms: These mushrooms have a meaty texture and are great at soaking up flavor. This makes them a great substitute for meat in this popular Middle Eastern dish. Oyster mushrooms are a good source of vitamins B and D and minerals such as copper, potassium, and zinc.
- Extra firm tofu: In this dish, the tofu is cut super thin (with a mandolin if you have one) and roasted with the oyster mushrooms and spices to create a nice diversity of meaty textures in the final dish. The tofu doesn’t look as meaty as the mushrooms do, but the chewy roasted tofu texture helps to replicate the texture of the well-done bits in traditional shawarma.
- Tahini: What I am calling for in this recipe is tahini SAUCE (not just the sesame paste). Check out this easy guide on making fast homemade Lebanese tahini sauce. It's optional (read: strongly advised) as a sauce to be added. But if you don’t want to whip some up, another popular alternative is this killer vegan tzatziki sauce.
- Harissa: This optional spicy topping is the freaking bizzzzz (especially when you ALSO have tahini sauce drizzled on the shawarma and you want to brighten up the flavor. Harissa is a spicy paste that is commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. It is made from chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and various spices, such as cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds. Some harissa also has preserved lemon in it which takes it seriously to the next-level. The ingredients are traditionally ground together using a mortar and pestle or a food processor to create a thick, fiery paste with a vibrant red color.
- Pita bread: Pita bread is a traditional choice for serving shawarma due to its soft texture and ability to hold a variety of ingredients. I like to heat mine directly over an open flame on the stove top for a few seconds on each side. This method heats them up fast, and also creates a couple of char marks. An alternative to pita bread that you can use for this shawarma is my super flaky golden parotta.
- Olives and pickled veggies: I am all about bringing some sour to the shawarma party! Pick any of your favorite pitted olives (I like either kalamata or cured Greek style olives). You can either use a pickled vegetable mix like giardiniera, or even use a few slices of your fave pickled cucumbers.
- Shawarma spice blend: I use paprika, oregano, onion powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric. But remember, that's getting layered onto the baharat that the filling will already have been roasted in. Trust me, this is an unbelievably fragrant and delightful mélange of spices!
You see that picture above? Well, then you KNOW there are a bunch of other ingredients used in this delightful sandwich! Just check out the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post for the complete ingredient list with all quantities.
If you want to make your own tahini sauce, it's so freaking easy!
Just pour ¼ cup of tahini paste into a bowl along with 3 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Mix it until smooth using a small whisk or the tines of a fork. Some people like a little minced raw garlic, lemon juice, or even a pinch of cured sumac in their tahini. Make it how you love it most!
- Instead of pita - While pita bread is a traditional choice for serving shawarma, there are several alternative options for those looking to switch things up or avoid gluten. Here are some alternatives to pita bread for shawarma:
- Vegan shawarma wrap: You can use a wrap such as a tortilla, lavash bread, or a lettuce leaf to wrap your shawarma ingredients.
- Naan/roti bread: Naan bread is a type of Indian flatbread similar to pita bread but thicker and softer. It can be used to make a delicious shawarma wrap. If you are vegan, just double-check the ingredients because many naan recipes contain dairy.
- Rice: For a gluten-free option, you can serve your veggie shawarma over a bed of rice or cauliflower rice.
- Soy Free - Don’t want to use tofu? You can replace the tofu by doubling the number of mushrooms you use.
- Hate mushrooms? Please don’t eat them then! The last thing I want this recipe to do is send you into a rage. Instead, you can substitute 1 ½ cups of my killer vegan chicken, torn up into shawarma like bits by hand.
Cut the tofu into very thin strips by hand or using a mandolin.
Spread the contents of the bowl onto a parchment paper lined baking pan, and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over a high flame. Stir in the shawarma spices with a whisk.
After 60 seconds, when the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and then the lemon juice, tomato paste, and water.
Stir in the roasted mushrooms and tofu, and sauté just until the shawarma filling is heated throughout.
🥙 To make vegan shawarma sandwiches
Grill pitas one at a time over an open flame for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
Spread hummus down the center of each pita.
Add diced cucumbers, onions, and tomato.
Add a generous portion of shawarma filling.
Add pickled veggies, olives, even a couple dolmas (rice stuffed grape leaves) if you like!
Top according to your taste with harissa and tahini sauce or vegan tzatziki.
Serve this with some my juicy easy-as-heck taboule, homemade French fries, cig cofte, and a tall glass of mint lemonade why don’t ya? Make your own fresh pita bread for this dish, ok? Make use of the pita bread and other accouterments while you have 'em out and make this outrageous seitan kofta too! or just serve it without the pita on top of a delightful pile of Turkish bulgar pilaf.
Making it gluten-free? You know what might just be the darned ticket? Having this over a steaming hot bowl of vegetable biryani or with a side of fattoush. Want a little crunch? Try throwing some lightly spiced roasted chickpeas to the sammich for extra protein, ya big goof!
You know what you are gonna want to do after you finish this heavenly vegan shawarma right? Smash a crispy piece or two of persian baklava with pistachios and rosewater!
Yipeee! Another recipe where you don’t need anything too fancy.
Just a baking pan, some parchment paper, tongs, and a large frying pan.
If you want to get your tofu super perfectly thin, you can use a mandolin. Just please promise me you will be super careful with it, ok? Because they are crazy dangerous if you aren’t playing it safe and paying full attention.
Once the shawarma filling is made, you can store it in a container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can easily multiply the recipe and use it for meal prep. Don’t make the actual sandwiches (if you are serving it that way) until you are ready to smash them into your face with great glee and vigor.
Oh, and don’t freeze the shawarma filling. Everyone you know will cry out in the night "why, oh why did you freeze that?!?"
👉I like it better this way: Rather than cutting the grilled pita open and filling it like a fluffy pocket, you can place the filling ingredients on top of the grilled pita (or naan) and serve it more “gyro” style. Grab extra napkins.
👉Once the mushrooms and tofu have been added to the pan with the cooking spice blend, don't overcook it! You want that shawarma filling to be juicy and meaty right? Not dried out and grainy. Just cook it long enough for the spices to absorb into the mushrooms. They should already have a perfect texture from having been roasted.
Shawarma is pronounced “shuh-wahr-muh." But often people pronounce it “Shwar-muh”. Both are acceptable.
Shawarma and gyro are popular street foods that are made from roasted meat, typically served in a pita or flatbread with vegetables, sauces, and other toppings. However, there are some key differences between the two:
Meat: Shawarma is typically made with marinated beef, lamb, or chicken, while gyro is made with ground meat (usually beef and lamb, sometimes pork) that is formed into a loaf.
Seasonings: Shawarma meat is often marinated in a blend of spices and herbs, including cumin, coriander, and paprika, while gyro meat is seasoned with oregano, garlic, and other Greek herbs.
Cooking Method: Shawarma is traditionally cooked on a rotating spit, where the meat is stacked and slowly roasted over a flame, while gyro is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and sliced off as it cooks.
Toppings: Shawarma is often served with pickles, onions, tomatoes, and tahini sauce, while gyro is typically topped with sliced onions, tomatoes, and a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce.
Overall, while both shawarma and gyro have similarities, they have distinct differences in terms of meat, seasoning, cooking method, and toppings.
✌️You might really wanna make these too.
These are some of my favey dishes to serve with Shawarma:
❤️More freaking veggies you are going to love.
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Next level vegan shawarma with baharat roasted oyster mushrooms
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 shawarma sandwiches 1x
- Diet: Vegan
Vegan Shawarma: A delicious, fast-to-make, and healthy plant-based version of the beloved Middle Eastern classic. Packed with savory, aromatic spices, juicy roasted mushrooms, and protein-rich tofu, this vegan shawarma is sure to satisfy your cravings.
7 oz. (½ of a block) extra firm tofu, cut thin by hand or with a mandolin
200 grams sliced oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon baharat
¼ cup minced red onion or shallots
To finish the shawarma filling:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
4 pitas or flatbreads of your choice
½ cup hummus
⅓ cup tahini sauce
Thinly sliced red onions
chopped pickled cucumbers, pickled vegetables, and olives to taste
- Cut the tofu into very thin strips either by hand or using a mandolin. Cut the oyster mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and mix them in a bowl with the tofu strips, olive oil, baharat, and minced onion or shallots.
- Spread the contents of the bowl onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over high heat.
- In a small bowl, mix the shawarma spice blend: paprika, oregano, onion powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric.
- After 60 seconds when the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and then the spice mixture. Allow it to cook for 60 seconds until fragrant and bubbling.
- Add the water, lemon juice and tomato paste
- Stir in the roasted mushrooms and tofu. Lower the flame so that they are sauteing in the skillet over medium heat. After a minute or two when the shawarma sauce is fully distributed amongst the mushrooms and tofu, turn off the flame under the pan.
- To make the sandwiches: Heat a pita for 30-45 seconds on each side directly over an open flame on the stovetop using tongs. You want to heat it and get a few char marks on both sides.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons of hummus in the center of the pita, add ¼ cup of mixed diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and thinly sliced onion, and add chopped pickled vegetables, pickles, and/or olives to taste.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, add a generous handful of shawarma to the pita.
- Top according to your taste with harissa and tahini sauce or vegan tzatziki. You can make the shawarma inside the pita by slicing it open or place the filling ingredients on top of the grilled pita to make it more like a taco than a pocket.
Don't overcook the shawarma filling! You want it as juicy and succulent as can be.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: Entree
- Method: roasting
- Cuisine: Lebanese
Keywords: vegan shawarma
Adam, this recipe does not disappoint. I was pleasantly surprise with the complex flavor profile. This savory dish was delicious and I will be making it again real soon. The Tahini recipe was awesome as well. I modified the recipe by excluding the flatbread to lower my carb intake. You keep knocking the ball out the park with these awesome plant based recipes. You take plant-based cuisine to the next level by making it delicious and healthy at the same time.
Thank you for your creativity in creating these plant-based recipes!
So glad you found it! Miss seeing you in the classes. I've got a donation based one coming up next weekend if you are free. love ya dear T-dogger, and I am wishing you a peaceful week ahead ❤️
Amazing! We doubled the recipe and it turned out perfect! If you like this, you HAVE to take the falafel class. So many amazing flavors and great tips.
Giving this recipe 5 stars for the excellent tasty sandwich. I made the baharat from the spices and everything turned out great. Please don't skip the tahini sauce it really makes a huge difference to the whole sandwich. Thank you Adam
This turned out fantastic, the texture of the tofu and mushrooms was amazing. Worth the effort to roast and then sautee. I followed the serving suggestions and made a chopped salad of cucumber and tomato, added olives, spread hummus on the pita, and topped with plenty of tahini sauce (i could put that sauce on anything!). I happen to live near a very big indian grocer that sells tons of spices, so I bought the baharat spice blend - but if you cook a lot, you probably already have the spices on hand to make it yourself.
Incredible flavor! Served with a side of Taboule and it was a delicious evening meal.
This was super yummy and reminded me of the flavorful sandwiches you could get at the food truck, now from the comfort of home! I haven’t ever thought to grill pitas on the stove like this — game changer. We found a recipe to make our own baharat seasoning, which was a nice use of a bunch of spices we had around from other recipes. I would make this again and again!
So glad you loved it Lyndsey! Yeah, juicy, messy sandwiches like this are what life is all about. I am so happy that you made the recipe.