Tofu “Chicken” Shawarma

I have fond memories of having dinner dates with my mom (before the kids came along) when we would order Chicken Shawarma from a little gem of a place we discovered in the food court at Square One (central Mississauga, ON for those who know it). It was topped with an incredible garlic sauce and pickled cabbage. This memory was my inspiration for this vegan-friendly Tofu Chick’n Shawarma and I think my mom would agree it comes pretty close 😉.

Since tofu absorbs flavour so well I decided to try marinating extra-firm tofu strips in a delicious marinade that could double-up as a sauce. I prepped the marinade in advance and let the tofu soak up the flavour overnight and while I was at work (which rarely ever happens I might add) — I wanted a robust flavour 😀. Be sure to reserve some of the marinade when you bake the tofu – this way you can use it as a “sauce” and toss the marinated tofu in the sauce to pick up extra flavour. The kids loved the marinated tofu enough to eat it on it’s own – the strips didn’t even make it to the tortilla, lol.

The garlic sauce is unbelievably easy to make and is definitely a hero element of this vegan chicken shawarma.  I tested a few different options since I don’t cook with tahini very often  – some with more lemon, some with vegan mayo rather than water – and this recipe definitely takes top nod. The fresh and colourful tomato-cucumber topping goes a long way to complement the garlic-cumin-paprika marinated “chick’n” strips. The suggested recipe for the flour tortillas (also featured in our  Curried Chickpea, Potato & Rice Burrito) is incredibly easy to make and isn’t too heavy….the kids loved them so much I used them to make their lunches today (stuffed with vegan salami and cheese!)

The recipe serves four, but next time I would double up on all the elements for more leftovers. Please share your thoughts if you give this a try.

Enjoy~

Preparation

  • 1/Prepare marinade and let tofu strips sit in marinade for a few hours (ideally overnight for best flavour). If possible, flip tofu strips to allow both sides to soak up the marinade.
  • 2/Preheat oven to 425F

Marinade
Ingredients: Marinade

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled (15g)
  • 1/3 cup oil, ideally canola (Note: Be sure to use a lighter oil, such as canola, avocado or grapeseed. Don’t use olive oil for best results).
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Instructions: Marinade

  • 1/Rinse each block of tofu in cold water. Using a dry tea towel wrap each block of tofu and squeeze to release as much water as possible. If you have time, let it sit for about 15 minutes to release any excess water.
  • 2/Once pressed, cut each tofu block into 1/4″ strips (or preferred thickness)
  • 3/Place garlic in your Thermomix bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
    Important: If using a Thermomix to prepare this recipe, insert the butterfly whisk attachment on the mixing blade before step 4.
  • 4/Add the oil and spices (cumin through pepper). Using the butterfly whisk, blend 30 sec/Speed 4.

Garlic Sauce
Ingredients: Garlic Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (5g)
  • Parsley, fresh (5g)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini (ground organic sesame seed)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4  tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions: Garlic Sauce

  • 1/Add garlic, parsely and salt to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • 2/Add tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt to the TM bowl. Set your Thermomix to speed 3 and slowly drizzle the water into the mixing bowl (let it blend for about 30 seconds)

Ingredients: Tomato-Cucumber Topping

  • 1 large cucumber, coarsely chopped (220g)
  • 3 large tomatoes (I used on-the-vine tomatoes)
  • Parsley, fresh (5g)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil

Instructions: Tomato-Cucumber Topping


Put cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, salt and oil in your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 10 sec/Speed 4.

Assembly Ingredients: Tofu Chick’n Shawarma

  • Flour tortillas (I highly recommend this delicious, four ingredient tortilla recipe from Grow a Good Life). Makes 8 tortillas
  • 2 pkgs extra firm tofu strips, marinated  (recipe above) 
  • 1 batch of garlic sauce (recipe above)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1 batch of tomato-cucumber topping (recipe above)

Assembly Instructions: Tofu Chick’n Shawarma

  • 1/Place marinated tofu strips on parchment-paper lined baking tray. Reserve at least 1 or 2 Tbsp marinade (for later). Bake for 15 mins. Flip. Repeat two more times for at least 45 mins cooking time (Note: If you prefer crispier strips bake for an additional 15 minutes).
  • 2/To prepare each tortilla: Spread garlic sauce on one side of tortilla. Top the sauce with romaine lettuce, a few marinated tofu “chick’n” strips and a generous spoon of tomato-cucumber topping. Fold tortilla and serve immediately.

Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance, however it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. mutli-function processor, immersion blender etc) or using a more traditional stovetop method.

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