Cauliflower Shawarma With Spicy Tahini
In this vegetarian take on shawarma, the usual spiced lamb, chicken or turkey is replaced with cauliflower florets and onion wedges that have been tossed with a classic combination of cumin, paprika and coriander, then roasted until browned, fragrant and very tender. A hot sauce-spiked tahini served alongside lends creaminess and heat. To serve it, you can tuck everything into a pita or flatbread, or keep the bread on the side and let everyone assemble their own sandwiches at the table. Chopped cucumber, tomatoes and olives are optional, but they add a juicy brightness to contrast with the aromatic, roasted flavors.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 ¼teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ¼teaspoons sweet paprika
- ¾teaspoon fine sea or table salt, plus more as needed
- 1teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground cayenne
- 1large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
- 1large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
- Pita or flatbread, for serving
- ¼cup coarsely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
- 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1to 2 teaspoons harissa paste or other hot sauce, or a large pinch of Urfa or Aleppo pepper, plus more to taste
- 1fat garlic clove, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
- ¼teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- ⅓cup tahini
- ⅓cup ice water, plus more as needed
- Diced tomato, cucumber and olives, for serving
Step 1Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion, and toss until well coated. Spread mixture in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Step 3Roast vegetables on the top oven rack until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Step 4As they cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, 1 teaspoon harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic. Whisk in tahini. Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
Step 5Warm the pitas or flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan if that’s easier for you.)
Step 6Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm pitas, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives.