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Shawarma Cauliflower with Green Tahini

Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
25 mins

Chef notes

There are a number of factors that ensure shawarma success: high-heat cooking, a well-spiced marinade and a healthy amount of fat, usually chicken or lamb fat, but in this case, plenty of good-quality olive oil to keep it wonderfully vegan. Make the ultimate shawarma here by wrapping it all up in store-bought or homemade pitas, with some oven fries, if you like.


Green Tahini
  • cups parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • tablespoons water
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/3 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large cauliflower (2 pounds 2 ounces), leaves and core removed, cut into bite sized florets (1 pound 9 ounces)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 red cabbage (12¼ ounces), cored and then thinly sliced on a mandolin or by hand (3 cups)
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Fresno chiles, left whole (3/4 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the green tahini:

Put all the ingredients plus 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. It'll thicken as it sits, so add a splash more water if you want it a bit thinner. Store refrigerated for up to 2 days, thinning it out with a splash of water as it tends to thicken as it sits.

For the cauliflower:


First, marinate the cauliflower. Combine 4 tablespoons of the oil, all the spices, the vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and the onion and mix until well coated. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight if you're getting ahead.


Preheat the oven to 500 F, or as high as your oven will go.


Prepare the cabbage by putting the cabbage, red onion, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together. Set aside to soften and wilt while you cook the cauliflower.


Put the cauliflower mixture into a large ovenproof cast-iron pan. Roast for 12 minutes, then give everything a stir, add the chiles and return to the oven for 15 minutes more, or until the cauliflower is well charred and cooked through.


Transfer the cauliflower to a large serving platter and return the pan to medium-high heat (careful of the hot handle). Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, tomato paste and an extra 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, and cook for 90 seconds, stirring all the while, until fragrant. Stir in the remaining 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice, then pour this all over the cauliflower.


Stir the mint into the cabbage and serve this and the green tahini alongside.

Reprinted from "Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things" Copyright © 2022 by Yotam Ottolenghi LLP. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Elena Heatherwick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.