There is something incredibly delicious about a shawarma sandwich. The spiced, hot juicy meat with the crunch of the accompanying vegetables is delicious. I’ll admit, back in the day when I ate meat I loved them. Falafel sandwiches, while fantastic, don’t seem to hit quite the same spot. They don’t really replace a delicious shawarma, rather they are a completely different sandwich.
These seitan shawarma pitas get you about as close as you can get to a vegetarian shawarma. Take your spiced seitan, and shave it thinly on a mandoline. Once it is cooked in olive oil with the proper seasoning it comes remarkably close to shawarma meat. One secret here is to cook it in a decent bit of olive oil and salt. Something that gives shawarma meat it’s signature taste is the high fat content and the saltiness. The seitan itself, and the rest of the sandwich are fairly low in fat, so we add in some fat with the olive oil when we are sautéing the seitan.
This recipe is not very precise. Everyone’s sandwich will come out differently, as they should. I will give you general guidelines as to the elements to incorporate, but the ratio of these elements within the sandwich is up to you. This recipe makes a perfect work from home lunch meal prep. Get all the ingredients ready, and then everyday at lunch you can have a delicious warm pita in about 10 minutes.
Some quick notes before we get into the recipe. The seitan in this recipe is shaved. To shave your seitan run it over a mandoline and get it as thin as you can. If you don’t have a mandoline simply slice as thin as you can. This allows the seitan to cook quickly and get a crisp, chewy texture like shawarma meat. On top of this, only cook the seitan which will be immediately consumed, keep the rest uncooked and only cook when the sandwich will be eaten. For the pitas in this recipe, look for ones that are a bit thicker and smaller in diameter. We will want to cut a slit in them and fill them up with the sandwich contents, rather than making a wrap. I hope this vege shawarma hits the spot for you as it does for me!
Active time: 30 minute
Cook time: 10 minutes
Tomato & cucumber salad
- 2 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 perisan cucumbers
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup greek yogurt, or thick non-dairy alternative
- 1 cup grated cucumber, skin included (1-2 persian cucumbers)
- 2 tbsp chopped dill
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Shaved spiced seitan
- Favourite hummus
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, for cooking
- Thinly chopped romaine lettuce
- Make the tomato & cucumber salad. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and put them in a medium bowl. Then, slice the cucumbers very thinly on a mandoline if you have one. If not, use a knife to slice the cucumbers thinly; add them to the bowl as well. Toss them with the sugar and salt and set aside, covered. We will let it sit for a bit to drain some of the liquid from the tomatoes and cucumber.
- Make the tzatziki. First, we want to remove some of the liquid from the cucumber. Put the grated cucumber in a couple paper towels and gently squeeze out some liquid. After, combine the cucumber and the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the levels of lemon juice, salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.
- Now let’s get ready to make the sandwiches. Heat a pan on medium heat and set your oven to low broil. Cut slivers into your pitas so the pita can open up like a clam. Toss your pitas into the oven directly on the rack, we just want to warm them up. Let them be toasted for about 2 minutes per side, until warm.
- Add olive oil (about a half tablespoon per sandwich you are preparing) to the pan and add in your shaved seitan (I recommend about a half cup per sandwich, but use more or less as you wish). To season your seitan, add salt, cumin and smoked paprika all to your taste. I would say be generous with your salt. The seitan itself should taste salty. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes, until it is starting to brown and get a bit of texture.
- Now let’s assemble. Take out your hot pitas and open them like a clam. On one side, add a generous smear of hummus, and do the same on the other side with tzatziki. Add a scoop of the tomato & cucumber salad, followed by hot seitan. To finish, fill the remaining space in the pita with romain and drizzle a dash of olive oil on the romaine. Best enjoyed hot!
All individual elements to the sandwiches can be stored in the fridge for about 4 days.