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Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos

Cauliflower <em>Shawarma</em> Tacos Related:   Israel & Middle East, kid-friendly, Latin America, low-fat, pareve, Sukkot, Tu b'Shevat, vegan, vegetables & legumes, vegetarian

Prep time: 10–15 minutes

Cook time: 30–40 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

At least once a week, Eggboy tells me that he wishes he were Mexican. “Why’s that?” I ask, playing along like we haven’t had the same conversation 100 times before, “So that I could eat tacos every single day!” he exclaims, hinting that we should probably eat tacos real soon, and never minding the obvious fact that he doesn’t need to be Mexican in order to eat tacos every day. (His logic is that it would be less weird to eat tacos every day, three meals a day, if he was at least a little bit Mexican.)

Maybe he should be Tacoboy.

So while I’ve yet to take on making al pastor or carnitas at home, I have a tendency to drift east towards my comfort zone spices and make shawarma for my tacos. Janna Gur’s The Book of New Israeli Food holds my favorite recipe for at-home chicken shawarma. It uses a perfect blend of garam masala, curry powder and chicken broth base for a fairly easy way to make you feel like you’re hanging on the streets of Israel. I like using a similar approach with roasted cauliflower, and the result is delicious. It requires some help in the texture department, so it’s important to give the cauliflower enough time in the oven to get crispy, and the sprinkle of chopped raw onions at the end is key for crunch.


  • Tacos
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable or chicken broth base
  • 1½ pounds cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons flavorless oil
  • 8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
  • Tahini Sauce (below), to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Zhoug (optional; below), to taste
  • Tahini Sauce
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Zhoug
  • 5 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Tacos: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, garam masala, curry powder and broth base. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower out onto the baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Thinly slice three-quarters of the onion. Dice the remaining one-quarter and set aside for topping. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. To assemble, fill them with cauliflower, fried onion, tahini sauce, raw chopped onion, cilantro and zhoug (if using).
  • Tahini Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, water and lemon juice until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Zhoug: In a food processor, combine the jalapeños, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, a few turns of pepper and the olive oil and blend until it’s the consistency of pesto, adding more olive oil if desired. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or spoon into ice cube trays, freeze and thaw as needed.
  • Reprinted with permission from Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm by Molly Yeh (Rodale, 2016).

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