The Best Vegan Chickpea Shawarma
Recipe Difficulty: Easy, there are three recipes to make this dish happen, but all very simple. It's 100% worth it.
My Chickpea Shawarma Recipe Notes
I think if you aren't someone that has a lot of experience with plant based cooking, you might be utterly shocked at how many incredible flavours are possible with really simple ingredients. This recipe utilizes a lot of things I always have on hand in my pantry or fridge, and the result is incredibly delicious. Pita Bread, cans of chickpeas, olive oil, a jar of tahini, garlic, onion, a blend of spices, lemon juice, and finally a handful of fresh vegetables and herbs to bring it all together. My guess is anyone who appreciates food with middle eastern flair will enjoy this meal. It happens to be vegan, yes, but that is really besides the point. It's just epic food, period.
My chickpea shawarma recipe has evolved over a few years. I have reworked it, and I have to say, the final dish I have landed on is addictively good. Chickpeas and red onions are drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with tons of warm spices, then covered and baked in the oven until softened and aromatic. Then onto warm pita bread or naan, a layer of hummus, followed by fresh tomato, cucumber, greens of choice, the chickpea and onion mixture, a drizzle of the best garlicky lemon tahini dressing and fresh mint & cilantro. The spices mix together with the tahini dressing, and it is SO GOOD. This entire shawarma situation can be a bit messy if, like me, you like lots of the tahini dressing, but I am 100% OK with that. Napkins along side, I am in in my happy place with this meal. It's healthy, flavourful and satisfying.
Shawarma Spiced Chickpeas
This spice mixture for the baked chickpeas is flavourful, but not at all spicy. If you prefer to kick it up a notch, you can add more cayenne pepper.
The spiced chickpea recipe is enough to make about 6 smaller pita wraps, 4 larger ones. The hummus and tahini sauce you might have leftovers of, which is always fine by me. I am putting approximate amount of veg you'd need, but it will just depend how full you like your pitas, and the size of the veggies.
Tahini Lemon Dressing Note
The dressing will thicken up in the fridge. Just stir in a tiny amount of water to thin it out until drizzly again.
You will notice white miso paste in my tahini dressing. It adds a salty, umami, and even brightness to the dressing. I really like adding it. If miso isn't something you have, or are not able to consume, you can leave it out. Just season the dressing with some sea salt, and maybe a splash more lemon juice. Just give it a taste. I wouldn't use dark miso paste in this dressing, the white paste has a different flavour profile.
This is the dressing I also use for my Falafel. Honestly anywhere I want a tahini dressing, maybe middle eastern stuffed peppers or tomatoes, similarly spiced rice pilafs, vegetables roasted with warm spices....this is the sauce I'm probably going to reach for. Keep it in your repertoire, it's yummy and good on so many things.
I am a bit of a purist and always prefer to use fresh lemons for juicing into the hummus and tahini dressing, but I have used the bottled stuff when I am trying to save a bit of time, or am out of lemons. It will still be delicious, so go ahead and use whatever you prefer!
Choosing Pita Bread or Naan
I use pita bread for this recipe, I think it is the healthier option, and it's really good. I don't try to stuff the mixture inside a split pita. I always find that to be a terrible idea, the shell inevitably breaks, and while I'm not shy of a messy food situation, it just seems pointless. I have made this using really large pita breads, but I find that the smaller ones are easier to eat. I have been day dreaming about serving these in really small pitas or shells as tacos, I think that would be a fun idea.
Naan bread I haven't tried, but I think it would be really good. Typically naan tastes a bit more rich, so this whole meal might be even more swoon worthy with naan. I also can imagine the chewier texture of naan being really nice here. If you try it this way, let me know what you think! I will probably try it the next time I make this shawarma.
Other Ideas for Serving
I think you could make a really tasty shawarma bowl using all of the ingredients. Pile in the veggies, top with the chickpea shawarma mixture, drizzle with the tahini sauce, a spoon of hummus, fresh herbs, flatbread wedges tucked along side. Maybe some roasted sweet potato in there too. I can imagine adding mushrooms to my chickpea & onion mixture too. Delish.
Hey! I'm Trisha