Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls

5 from 54 votes
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Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls with crispy chickpeas, basmati rice, and Green Tahini Sauce. These vegan and gluten free bowls are perfect for weekday meals.

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Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls topped with green tahini sauce in a grey serving bowl.

Why You’ll Love this Cauliflower Shawarma

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, just like my Roasted Veggie Glow Bowls.

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, Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, or grain bowls all week long.

And if you love loaded cauliflower bowls, try my Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Bowls next!

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls with labels.
  • Cauliflower: You need one medium-large head of cauliflower, which should amount to 8 cups of florets. 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.
  • Spices: A mix of curry powder, paprika, and cumin create the bold spice mixture. Feel free to also add a pinch of cayenne if you want to make it spicy.
  • Herbs: You need fresh parsley and cilantro for the sauce. If you’re not a cilantro fan, you can use fresh dill instead.
  • Tahini: This creamy sesame seed paste adds rich, creamy character to the sauce.
  • Lemon: For a touch of brightness and acidity.
  • Garlic: Since the garlic goes into the sauce raw, it definitely packs a punch. Feel free to use 1/2 tsp. garlic powder instead, if you prefer.
  • Chickpeas: For a one-two punch of plant protein and fiber. The chickpeas get super crispy when tossed with olive oil and roasted.
  • Rice: I like using a long-grain white rice, such as Basmati or Jasmine, for serving.

For a full list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.

Step-by-Step Instructions

This meal comes together in under one hour, making it 100% weeknight friendly. Feel free to add your garnishes of choice: cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, or extra fresh herbs.

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: 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.

Cauliflower and chickpeas being seasoned and roasted on a large baking sheet.

Step 3: Prepare the Green Tahini Sauce. This simple sauce comes together effortlessly in a blender or mini food processor. While blending, gradually stream in 1/3 cup of warm water to reach desired level of creaminess.

Green tahini sauce being blended in a blender and poured into a small yellow bowl.

Step 4: 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.

Recipe Variations:

  • Add Chicken: For extra protein, roast boneless, skinless chicken thighs alongside the chickpeas. Just prepare extra of the spice mixture to season the chicken with.
  • Serve in a wrap: This mixture is also delicious served in warm naan bread or pita! Just add some shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes to the mix.
  • Add Sweet Potatoes: Peel and dice one medium sweet potato and add it to the baking sheet with cauliflower.
  • Make Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne to the shawarma spice mixture, or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the green tahini sauce.
A fork digging into a bowl of cauliflower shawarma and chickpeas

Recipe FAQs

What is Shawarma Mix Made of?

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.

How Long Does it Take to Roast Cauliflower?

Roasting cauliflower should take about 35 to 40 minutes at 425ºF. If you pull it out too early, you’ll be missing out on its full flavor potential, so patience is key!

Another tip is to avoid overcrowding the pan, which will encourage steaming over browning.

What is in 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.

Tips for Making Crispy 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:

  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a colander, and transfer them to a dry kitchen towel.
  2. Fold the towel over the chickpeas and gently massage the chickpeas to help release their skins.
  3. Unfold the towel and remove any loose or detached skins, and transfer the dry chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Toss with 1 Tbsp 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. 

Crispy spiced chickpeas on a baking sheet.

More Vegan Cauliflower Recipes:

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!

5 from 54 votes

Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls

Cauliflower Shawarma Bowls with crispy chickpeas and Green Tahini Sauce. These vegan and gluten free bowls are perfect for meal prep lunch or easy weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Roasting pans

Ingredients  

  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 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 English or Persian cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes

Green Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
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Instructions 

  • 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 (or one large baking sheet if you can fit it all).
    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 to 10 minutes longer, until the tips of the florets are lightly charred.
  • Meanwhile, prepare Green Tahini Sauce by combining all ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. With motor running, gradually stream in 1/3 cup warm water and blend until smooth.
  • Prepare bowls by placing 1/2 cup cooked rice in 4 bowls. Divide roasted cauliflower and chickpeas evenly over each bowl, along with cucumber slices and/or cherry tomatoes, if using. Drizzle Green Tahini Sauce over everything.

Notes

All components can be made ahead and stored in an air-tight container refrigerated for up to 3 days.
If microwaving, wait to add the Green Tahini Sauce and garnishes until after the other components are heated through. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 880mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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Recipe Rating




53 Comments

  1. Audra says:

    5 stars
    So delicious! This recipe has tons of flavor, which is a must for me. The textures are great. The cauliflower gives it a bit of a meaty texture. It made my carnivore children love it! And the sauce, my family could not get enough! I would suggest making a double batch. It’s that good! Thanks for the recipe. It’s my second time making it and has become a requested dish for my family!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, my friend! Thank you for leaving a review!

  2. Kat says:

    5 stars
    First new recipe ive tried in a week that I genuinely loved. Had three other misses so far, so thanks!
    Is the calorie estimate with rice or without?

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So happy you enjoyed it! The nutrition info includes rice.

  3. Chrissy says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious, I made two days in a row!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Kristin says:

    5 stars
    This was great! Everyone loved it . Will be making again.

  5. Chris says:

    5 stars
    Really delicious! Didn’t have enough cauliflower, so added some eggplants and peppers. The sauce is just so so good! We also added some kalamata olives as toppings. Will definitely make this again!

  6. Sheila says:

    5 stars
    Quite tasty! I separated the cauli & garbanzo’s due to different roasting times, then threw them together at the end. Made a bit extra tahini sauce which is divine on just about anything. Made a side of ribboned collard greens with evoo & garlic.

  7. Alex says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I roasted a chopped bell pepper along with the cauliflower and added air fried salmon. Reduced the overall oil in the recipe. We loved it!

  8. Kristin says:

    5 stars
    This was very delicious. The whole family enjoy it!

  9. E says:

    5 stars
    This was PERFECTION. So so delicious. The herbs in the sauce and tahini add brightness to the spiced veggies. My husband added chicken to his. The whole family loved it!

  10. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    So good! The dressing is one I’ll add to my arsenal to use for other things as well. And I can imagine shaking things up with whatever veggies I have on hand. Thank you for sharing your recipe!