Vegan Shawarma with Roasted Jackfruit

Oh, my goodness I could eat this vegan shawarma with roasted jackfruit for days. Seriously.  Grab a napkin because this Middle Eastern sandwich is wonderfully messy, completely addictive and 100% carnivore-approved.

Close-up 45 degree angle image of freshly cooked vegan shawarma with roasted jackfruit and chickpeas on a roasting tray with a wooden spoon in the background


WHAT IS SHAWARMA?

Shawarma is my new favourite word, that’s what it is! Sha-War-Ma. Such a great word. But if you want the real lowdown…

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish made from meat that is marinated in aromatic spices, lemon and garlic. Stacked in to a 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.

Who’s up for a little history? Like its Mediterranean cousin the “gyros,” the shawarma can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, to the 18th or 19th century. The Turkish “doner kebab” meaning “rotating grilled meat” or “rotisserie”  was introduced to Greece where locals named it “gyros,” the Greek word for “turn.” Likewise, when the dish appeared in the Middle East, it was called “shawarma,” an Arabic word for “turning.”

While traditionally made from meat – lamb, beef and more recently chicken – a mouthwatering vegan shawarma is easy using a bunch of aromatic spices. The smell when cooking this dish is INCREDIBLE! 

Close-up overhead image of freshly cooked vegan shawarma with roasted jackfruit and chickpeas on a roasting tray with a wooden spoon in the background

WHAT IS IN SHAWARMA?

Traditionally shawarma is served as a sandwich or wrap in a flatbread but you can also serve it with rice.

To compliment all those intoxicating spices – think cumin, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, garlic and a tonne of lemon – shawarma is served with fresh ingredients like:

  • diced tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • onions
  • pickled vegetables
  • tahini sauce, hummus or amba mango sauce.  I’ve also seen it served with pickled mango – that’s on my must try list.

HOW TO MAKE A VEGAN SHAWARMA SANDWICH

Like my vegan Sabich Sandwich and my mushroom Reuben Sandwich creating a vegan 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 and you’ve probably got all the ingredients in your pantry. Win.

First, we take sliced jackfruit and cooked chickpeas for protein and pop them in a bowl. We then add a handful of spices, lemon, garlic, parsley and red onion. After letting the “meat” sit for a few hours to mingle and get up close we spread it all out on a tray and roast it in the oven. 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. I’ve left a gorgeous lemon tahini sauce recipe down below but in a pinch I’ve been known to smear a warm pita with a goodly amount of hummus and dive in. Sometimes, that intoxicating aroma gets to me and I just can’t wait. Trust me, this one’s a little irresistible. Enjoy.

Resources: Morsel By Plated | Wikipedia |

Vegan Shawarma with Roasted Jackfruit

Grab a napkin because this Vegan Shawarma with Roasted Jackfruit is wonderfully messy, completely addictive and 100% carnivore-approved.

Shawarma "Meat"

  • 550 grams young jackfruit ("meat" from 2 (20 oz) cans of jackfruit)
  • 400 grams cooked chickpeas
  • 1 juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (good quality)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large red onion (peeled and finely sliced)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin or sumac

To serve

  • 6 pita breads
  • 1 and 1/2 cups lettuce (thinly sliced)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • pickles
  1. Strain the brine from two cans of young jackfruit. Thinly slice each triangle lengthways and pop it in a large bowl.

  2. Add the chickpeas and the remaining shawarma "meat" ingredients and stir to combine. Cover with a clean cloth or clingwrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).

  4. While the oven is heating, remove the marinated jackfruit from the fridge and spread it out over a roasting pan or tray.

  5. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes or until some of the jackfruit edges are slightly charred.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 your adding them – and drizzle with a little lemon tahini sauce.

  8. Fold the bottom of the pita up and then roll from the side to make a wrap. Grab and napkin and dig in!

The nutritional breakdown is for the jackfruit and chickpea shawarma mix only as flatbreads vary so much in size and calories. You can also choose your fillings as you like or simply serve with rice. 

Assuming 6 servings.

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