Grab a napkin because this vegan shawarma is easy to make, deliciously succulent and 100% carnivore-approved. Made with easy-to-find ingredients, this Middle Eastern wrap will have you drooling.
This recipe was first published on September 2, 2019 and updated with ingredient profiles, process images and frequently asked questions on October 8, 2021.
"Wow! This is seriously delicious. Used to make a lamb shawarma and chickpea pilaf and this is the best since turning plant-based" (Melissa). ★★★★★
This is one of my favourite recipes - it even appeared in the Kindness Community Vegan Cookbook with my favourite charity Edgar's Mission.
Like my Vegan Sabich Sandwich and my Vegan Mushroom Reuben Sandwich creating a meat-free shawarma is simple, all you need is a little imagination... and a few cans of young jackfruit. I am telling you, this recipe couldn't be simpler.
Why We Love This Vegan Shawarma
Don't you love it when something is so tasty it makes your toes curl. This shawarma is a toe-curler.
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish made from meat that is marinated in aromatic spices, lemon and garlic.
How is Shawarma Traditionally Made?
Traditionally, raw meat is stacked on a rotating cone shape and cooked on a vertical skewer. The meat is then cut in to thin slices and served on a warm pita with fresh tomatoes, pickles and tahini or hummus.
What Do You Serve With Shawarma?
Shawarma often is served with fries or a salad like tabouleh or Israeli salad, falafel, or just on its own.
What's in a Vegan Shawarma?
We are going to make this really simple. This vegan shawarma combines some juicy young jackfruit with chickpeas marinated in aromatic spices, lots of garlic, olive and lemon.
The smell when cooking this dish is incredible!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Traditionally shawarma is served as a sandwich or wrap in a flatbread but you can also serve it with rice. For the "shawarma" part, you'll just need some pantry ingredients.
Aromatics. Cumin, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, garlic.
Young jackfruit. Make sure to buy canned young jackfruit in brine. You can find it in most supermarkets these days.
Cooked chickpeas. Cooked from scratch or simply canned chickpeas work here.
Pickled vegetables. I love plain pickled cucumber but you can add any pickled vegetable you like.
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1. Slice or shred the jackfruit and add it to a large bowl with the chickpeas. Add a handful of spices, lemon, garlic, parsley and red onion.
Step 2. After letting the mixture sit for a few hours to mingle and marinate, spread it all out on a tray and roast it in the oven.
Step 3. (Optional) To make the lemon tahini sauce, just throw all the ingredients (provided in the recipe card below) in a blender with some water. Simples!
That's it! Once it comes out of the oven you can go ahead and serve it on a warm pita with fresh tomatoes, pickles and lettuce or with rice.
Recipe Shortcuts & Tips
- While you'll get more flavour if you marinate the shawarma for a few hours before roasting, you can roast it straight after mixing it.
- For lighter work, nix the the lemon tahini sauce and add a good dollop of hummus to your plate or pita.
- Mix the shawarma mixture in the morning so you can pop it in the oven after work.
Yup! You can mix the shawarma the day before and leave it in the fridge to marinate before roasting the next day.
Kept in a sealed container, vegan shawarma will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
It does! After roasting, allow the sharwarma to cool completely before storing it in a freezer-proof container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating on the stove top to serve.
More Sandwich and Burger Inspiration
Want more plant-based goodness?
- roasting pan
- 550 grams young jackfruit "meat" from 2 (20 oz) cans of jackfruit
- 400 grams / 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil good quality
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric optional
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large red onion peeled and finely sliced
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
Lemon Tahini Sauce
- 1 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3-4 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin or sumac
- 6 pita breads
- 1 and ½ cups thinly sliced lettuce
- 2 fresh tomatoes sliced
- ⅓ cup hummus
- Strain the brine from two cans of young jackfruit. Thinly slice each triangle lengthways and pop them in a large bowl.
- Add the chickpeas and the remaining shawarma "meat" ingredients and stir to combine. Cover with a clean cloth or cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).
- While the oven is heating, remove the marinated jackfruit from the fridge and spread it out over a roasting pan or tray.
- Place the tray in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes or until some of the jackfruit edges are slightly charred. Remove from the oven when roasted.
- While the jackfruit is roasting, add the lemon tahini sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to thin out. Transfer to a jar.
- To serve the vegan shawarma, warm a pita gently on a dry pan over medium heat for a minute or two, turning halfway through. Remove from the heat and lay the pita on a plate or board and smear with a good dollop of hummus. Add the sliced lettuce and tomato followed by a good handful of the roast jackfruit and chickpea mixture. Add pickles - if you're adding them - and drizzle with a little lemon tahini sauce.
- Fold the bottom of the pita up and then roll from the side to make a wrap. Grab and napkin and dig in!