Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls with crispy chickpeas, basmati rice, and Green Tahini Sauce. These vegan and gluten free bowls are perfect for meal prep lunch or easy weeknight dinner.
Vegan Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls
These fully-loaded Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls feature roasted cauliflower and crispy chickpeas in a homemade shawarma spice mix. Serve over basmati rice with a drizzle of Green Tahini Sauce for a hearty and healthy meal.
I love these bowls for meal prep lunches or better-than-takeout weeknight dinner. They're brimming with so much flavor and spice that even the most devout carnivores will enjoy them. Plus, they offer plenty of fiber, plant protein, and healthy fats to keep you satiated.
Prepare a double batch of the Green Tahini Sauce and use it on salads, roasted veggies, or grain bowls all week long. It's truly the gift that keeps on giving, and a personal favorite in my tahini sauce arsenal.
How to Make Cauliflower Shawarma
This meal comes together in under one hour, making it 100% weeknight-approved. Feel free to add your garnishes of choice: cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, or extra fresh herbs. As long as the spice mix and sauce are involved, you're in for a treat.
- Create the Shawarma spice blend. While some blends have up to 8 ingredients, this one is a simple mix of curry powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. The curry powder does the heavy lifting since it's a mix of turmeric, chili powder, coriander, etc.
- Roast the cauliflower and chickpeas. The beauty of this recipe is that both the cauliflower and chickpeas roast at the same temperature at the same time. The chickpeas only need 30 minutes, however the cauliflower needs closer to 40. Just be sure to give them both a toss halfway through to promote even roasting.
- Prepare the Green Tahini Sauce. This simple sauce comes together effortlessly in a blender or mini food processor. While blending, gradually stream in ⅓ cup of warm water to reach desired level of creaminess.
- Assemble the bowls! Start with a layer of basmati rice, followed by the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. Next, add your garnishes of choice and give the bowl a hefty drizzle of Green Tahini Sauce.
All of the components of these bowls can be made in advance. If meal-prepping for lunch, I suggest waiting to add the sauce until after the bowls are reheated. (The sauce may get a little funky after being microwaved.) Alternatively, you can forego the microwave and enjoy the fully-composed bowls closer to room temperature.
Shawarma Spice Blend
Classic shawarma seasoning contains staples like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and paprika. Warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice may also be in the mix. While you can purchase a pre-made mix, it's really easy to make at home!
Instead of including all of the spices separately, I took a more streamlined approach by only using THREE! Curry powder, paprika, and cumin, plus some salt and pepper. Since curry powder is a mix of many of the classic shawarma spices (turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc.), it keeps the ingredient list short without skimping on flavor.
Perfect Roasted Cauliflower for Shawarma
For cauliflower that’s buttery and tender on the inside with quintessential crisp, roasting is the way to go. Not only does roasting create perfectly caramelized florets, it also brings out cauliflower’s natural nutty flavor. However, they are a couple tricks to maximize the veggie’s goodness and versatility.
First, avoid overcrowding the pan, which will encourage steaming over browning. Second, crank the oven up to 425°F, which will tenderize the veggies while also creating those yummy charred bits. Roasting cauliflower should take about 35 to 40 minutes total. If you pull it out too early, you’ll be missing out on its full flavor potential, so patience is key!
How Do I Make Roasted Chickpeas?
One of the keys to crispy chickpeas is to dry them prior to roasting. It also helps to remove their skins, though this task can be rather tedious. To streamline the process, follow these simple steps:
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a colander, and transfer them to a dry kitchen towel.
- Fold the towel over the chickpeas and gently massage the chickpeas to help release their skins.
- Unfold the towel and remove any loose or detached skins, and transfer the dry chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and coat in spices. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through to promote even cooking.
At this point, the chickpeas should stay crunchy for a couple of days in an air-tight container. In addition to using them in these bowls, they're a nutritious and satisfying snack on their own.
What is Green Tahini Sauce?
This simple, yet wildly flavorful sauce is a mix of fresh herbs, tahini, garlic, lemon, and spices. It's bright and earthy with a nutty backbone and savory kick of spice. I love drizzling it over grain bowls, salads, and roasted veggies, or using it as a dip for carrots and pita.
In terms of tahini brands, Soom is my go-to for its smooth texture and rich flavor. In addition to their classic tahini, they also offer a chocolate variety that is heavenly drizzled over toast or stirred into oatmeal and lattes. To try any Soom products for 10% off, simply enter code ‘dishingouthealth’ at checkout!
Give this recipe a try for a nutritious, super satisfying make-ahead meal. And be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
More Vegan Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
- 2 cups cooked white basmati rice (sub grain of choice)
- Optional toppings: thinly sliced cucumber, sliced avocado, tomatoes
Green Tahini Sauce
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Combine curry powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread cauliflower and chickpeas out on two separate rimmed baking sheets. Toss cauliflower with 2 Tbsp. of the oil, and chickpeas with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of the spice mixture over chickpeas, and toss to coat. Sprinkle remaining spice mixture over cauliflower, and toss to coat. Place both baking sheets in the oven, and set timer for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, shake the pan of chickpeas, and give the cauliflower a good toss. Remove chickpeas from the oven when the timer goes off, and let the cauliflower go 5 minutes longer.
- Meanwhile, prepare Green Tahini Sauce by combining all ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. With motor running, gradually stream in ⅓ cup warm water and blend until smooth.
- Prepare bowls by placing ½ cup cooked rice in each of 4 bowls. Divide roasted cauliflower and chickpeas evenly over each bowl, and drizzle Green Tahini Sauce overtop. Add additional garnishes (cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, additional herbs, etc.), if desired.