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Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients!!! Most of them are duplicated and already exist in your cupboard as you read this!!!
One of my favorite recipes…ever!
Ok, I’ve got to be honest: I try to be impartial, but these pitas are one of my favorites. If I had a “recipe rotation” these would be in it… twice. You may expect combining so many spices would create a hot mess. Nope. They all work together to compliment the main star, Sumac, which brings it together and floats in on the perfect vessel, Cauliflower. What you end up with is the harmonious taste of yum. Don’t forget to drizzle on the cool tahini sauce over pickled spinach and creamy garbanzos!
An Inexpensive Alternative to Meat
When I started down my #Veganish path, I quickly understood vegan foods are pricey. (Its part of the reason I could never be 100% meat & dairy free. And I demand burgers in my life.) Depending in which city/state you live, veggies can be costly. To cook without eggs and butter often requires replacments that come in at steep price points. For example, buying vegan “cheese” at $7 a bag is wallet busting. Yet, making your own “cheese” from cashews is cheaper and completly doable. (Try my Vegan Chipotle Cashew “Queso” (Cheese); Not just for vegans!) So, using an inexpensive vegetable like Cauliflower as the Shawarma “meat” is right in my desired price range.
The truth is, my #Veganish take on food originated from my need to save money. Meat is expensive. Good meat is VERY expensive. Given that, I’ve turned my focus increasingly on creating recipes that don’t attempt to impersonate meat. Instead I’d rather showcase a specific veggie, giving it a stage to shine on its own right.
With my Fibro, I can never predict how I will feel tomorrow. If you look around my site you’ll notice many of my recipes are Make Ahead. I appreciate being able to prep or even fully cook wonderful, delicious, healthy meals when I’m up to it. That way, if I wake the next morning to a flare that has me glued to my bed, I have a nutritious meal ready to eat. This recipe is great because each element can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat and serve in warmed pitas! If you’re a mom on the go, a busy professional, or a fellow #Spoonie, making meals ahead of time can make life much easier.
Each element can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat and serve in warmed pitas!
You Say Chickpea, I say Garbanzo
Whatever you call them, they are tasty! These little balls of fiber and protein are a great way to sneak in some extra nutrition for not a lot of extra dollars. I call for low sodium Chickpeas, but don’t worry, they won’t be bland. They made tangy with red wine vinegar, and given a bit of heat with black pepper. After mashing them up a bit, they are layered in the very bottom of the pita creating the perfect bed for the Cauliflower Shawarma.
Ok, that may not sound appetizing to some people. But, let me make my case for it. Its more like a quick vinegared spinach. Cooking down this protein power house in a bit of red wine vinegar eliminates any earthy taste spinach can have. Using it to top the pita gives you a wonderful tangy bite balanced by the cool tahini sauce. You can skip this part of the recipe, but why would you?
Go easy on yourself
I cook the sliced cauliflower to an al dente texture for my personal preference. But, if you like yours cooked all the way, go for it. Don’t stress, just eat!
Cauliflower Shawarma Pitas with Tahini Sauce and Quick Pickled Spinach
Makes 4-6 stuffed pita
- 4-6 pita
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/8tsp
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Quick Pickled Spinach Topping:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 cups (packed) baby spinach
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/8 tsp -Sea salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 can (low sodium preferably) chickpeas, drained but not rinsed
- 2 tbsp -red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 medium head (5 cups) Cauliflower, sliced (*See method notes below)
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp for frying
- In a medium bowl whisk together the Tahini Sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Heat a (preferably non-stick) sauté pan to medium low heat.
- Add in the spinach, stirring to cook. As the spinach starts to wilt, add in the red wine vinegar and salt.
- Sautee until completely wilted and cooked down, about 3-4 mins. Move to a plate.
- In the same pan as spinach, heat 1 tsp olive oil, increasing heat to medium. Pour in the chickpeas and stir them to heat up.
- Once warmed, add in the vinegar and pepper. Cook for 2-3 mins, until most of the moisture is gone.
- Using your spatula, slightly mash about 1/2 the beans. You want a mash with some whole beans still. Move to a small bowl.
*Suggestion on how to prep cauliflower*
Using a paring knife cut out the stem. Then cut into florets. Wash and drain these florets. Slice along the stem into thin slices and put in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl combine the spice mix ingredients, lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and gently fold until the cauliflower is coated in the mixture.
- In that same pan from the chickpeas, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the cauliflower and spread out to as close to one layer as possible. Cook 6-8 mins stirring occasionally until soft but not mushy. They’re great if they have an “al dente” texture, but its fine if you cook them all the way through.
- Cut each pita in half and open it up.
- Divide the chickpea mash among the pocket putting it in the very bottom.
- Stuff with cauliflower and top with “quick pickled” spinach.
- Drizzle with tahini or serve on the side in a small dish.