It’s the spices that matter. The Arabic name shawarma refers to the turning action of a vertical spit that was developed in Turkey several hundred years ago to roast meat. But when most of us think of shawarma, we think about the explosion of complex flavor from spices. Turkey was once the bridge between East and West, and so the spice trade flowed through it. It’s no wonder that this melting pot country produced this incredible multicultural spice bomb.


  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch for the dressing
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (or other gluten-free short grain)
  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ⅓ cup tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the cauliflower, sweet potato, salt, black pepper, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon (if using), ginger, oregano, turmeric, and cayenne (if using). Add a drizzle of water to loosen the mixture, then toss together to combine.
  • Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets and roast for 25 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
  • While the veggies are cooking, make the quinoa. Rinse and place the quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat along with 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let cook for 12 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit another 2 to 3 minutes to set. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool.
  • Divide the prepared quinoa, lettuce, cucumber, and red onion among four bowls.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini and vinegar along with a pinch of salt. Keep whisking, drizzling in water, a tablespoon at a time, until a creamy dressing forms. It’s normal for the tahini to become hard before it thins out.
  • Add the shawarma veggies to the prepared bowls and drizzle with tahini dressing. Alternatively, arrange all components on a large baking tray and let guests assemble their bowls.

Comments (19)

(5 from 12 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Why can I only pin a picture of your face?


This is so good it’s unreal. My mom and I have made it 3 times in the past week and a half! I enjoyed mine with a Korean bbq inspired sauce, and kale. I love how versatile this recipe is!


This was delicious, thank you for a great recipe.


I made this tonight, worried about what the dressing would taste like since I’ve never had tahini. THIS WAS AMAZING!!! So flavorful and super easy to make!!!


Any sub for tahini dressing? I can’t have that much fat.

Jill Workman

Maybe try a low fat hummus instead of tahini.


The recipe makes 8 Cups. With 1/3 cup of tahini. From a Kitchen Conversions chart, 1/3 cup equals 5 tblsps+1 tsp, 1 tblsp = 3 tsps, so total 16 tsps. If that's 8 one-cup servings, you have 2 tsps per serving. If that's 4 two-cup servings, you have 1 tblsp+1 tsp or 4 tsps tahini per serving. A peanut butter serving is usually given as 2 tblsps in comparison. If you eat this dish only once in a day and no or little other processed fat food, that's not very much, not over much I would think. But I don't know you or your diet, just trying to clarify. (And I understand some people put a quarter of an avocado, maybe more, in a green smoothie! Can't quite think how that would meld with a fruit smoothie....)


Great recipes!


This was excellent! I followed the recipe with a few exceptions- I left out the turmeric and ginger. I also ended up roasting the veggies about 7 minutes longer than noted- 32 minutes total. I also used hummus and a splash of ACV for the dressing. I will definitely make this again!

Another Dr Greger discipline

Great feedback about the recipe, though it's a pity you missed the opportunity to benefit from the amazing multiple benefits of both turmeric and ginger. If its a taste issue, try fresh turmeric. Much less acute taste and even more nutritional benefits.


This is my new favorite meal. Fantastic flavors!


I'm confused. When making into bowls, I do not see anywhere in the directions where the quinoa gets put into the bowls. I see this type of incomplete directions repeatedly with recipes. I wish the recipe writers would have someone else proofread the instructions for errors, omisions, and confusing directions.


Hi Penny, I agree it is a little confusing. I think what is confusing is step 5 "Divide the prepared quinoa, lettuce, cucumber, and red onion among four bowls." It sounds like you are supposed to put them all in separate bowls, but I think what is meant is to divide all of them together among 4 bowls, so each bowl will contain a bit of each of those ingredients listed. Then you top it with the roasted veggies and dressing(step 7). Or as suggested, you can separate each ingredient on a baking sheet for people to make/prepare their own bowls. Hope this helps!


The spices on the roasted veggies were amazing!!! The whole bowl came together really well, and is a easy fix for lunches for the week!! I also subbed out the tahini and used hummus instead. So good! I added some pepitas and ate this with some walnuts on the side to make sure to help those fat soluble veggies absorb.


Yum. Carnivore hubby thought this was absolutely delicious. I used red cabbage in place of lettuce and made a hummus dressing in place of the tahini dressing to lower the fat. The spices on the roasted vegetables were perfectly balanced Very easy to prepare. Definitely will be making this again.


Great flavors. I used broccoli instead of cauliflower. Added about a cup of cooked chickpeas and a sliced onion to the broccoli/sweet potato mix, seasoned and roasted them all. Great tahini dressing.


Please explain what a hummus dressing is? Thank you.


Hi. Are you able to post the nutrient values for carb counting ? That would be a great help for insulin dosing. Thank you.

Sophia Edwards

You can add everything to MyFitnessPal or a like app, and get that information.

About the Author

Photo of Alex Caspero, RD

About the Author

Alexandra Caspero, RD, MA

Alexandra Caspero, RD, MA, RYT, is a registered dietitian, plant-based chef, owner of Delish Knowledge and author of Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation. Her award-winning blog, Delish Knowledge, focuses on making whole-food, vegetarian eating deliciously simple. She is part-owner and Nutrition Director of rootberry, a plant-based food company in St. Louis. Caspero is the co-founder of Plant-Based Juniors, an evidence-based platform that helps parents navigate the world of plant-based prenatal and pediatric nutrition. She is the co-author of the bestselling book, The Plant-Based Baby + Toddler. Additionally, she is the co-author of Joyful Eating, Nourished Life, a 6-week program which helps others discover a happier, healthier relationship with food and their body. She developed recipes for The Fiber Fueled Cookbook. Follow her on Instagram.
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