I am super excited about today’s post. Like so stoked. And that’s because I honestly didn’t expect much out of this cooking adventure, at least not out of the first attempt at it. I mean, I knew it had potential. The potential was just realized sooner than expected. Despite knowing nothing about Shawarma (other than it being a meat-eater’s paradise), my Portobello Shawarma Wraps ended up being absolutely fantastic. And also surprisingly easy…yet hearty and complex. Plus they’re nutritious and healthy. Yet completely satisfying. What’s not to love? Especially when meat-eater-Matt calls them, and I quote, “incredible.” Yep. Winner.
So what exactly is shawarma? And where did the idea for a portobello shawarma come from? Well, according to Wikipedia, traditional Middle Eastern Shawarma is seasoned meat, sliced thinly from the vertical spit on which the meat cooks, and served as a plated dish, a wrap or a sandwich. I don’t use a spit, and I most certainly don’t use meat, but I do use the traditional blend of spices; just on roasted portobello mushroom caps instead. The ‘shrooms have the beefy texture and long, thin shape that you would get from the meat, so it’s no wonder why large portobello mushroom caps, sliced thin after roasting, are a perfect veggie-head substitute in this dish.
Now, I can’t take credit for this idea. Portobello shawarma is the vegetarian option at one of Matt’s favorite NYC work-day lunch spots, GRK fresh. GRK is a fast-casual chain serving up quick and customizable Greek-style wraps, salads, plates and bowls. I finally made it there, after hearing Matt’s rave reviews, and found their Portobello Shawarma Wrap to be deliciously genius. So when Matt suggested making it ourselves, I was totally on board.
Roasting mushroom caps and whipping up a white sauce are easy enough. I used a white sauce recipe from Gimme Delicious as a guide. I didn’t add garlic, like I normally would in a Mediterranean yogurt sauce, mainly because I thought it tasted refreshing and light without the overpowering flavor of garlic. Next time I’ll add a finely minced clove to compare.
The real adventure here was finding the right blend of spices for seasoning the caps. I looked to quite a few recipes for chicken shawarma to get a sense of what spices I should use, and came up with a solid blend of 8 spices. The combination I used was delightfully deep and rich, a perfect balance to the tangy yogurt sauce. I also had all of the needed spices on hand already, making it super easy. I think you’ll find that you probably have most, if not all, of these too. To season the mushrooms, I made a quick paste by adding olive oil and vinegar to the seasoning blend, then rubbed the paste onto the caps before roasting. Once the caps were in the oven, I had a chance to easily prep the rest of the meal. Pretty simple, right? This is a must try recipe that I’ll be making again very soon.
Vegetarian Portobello Shawarma Wraps with Creamy White Sauce
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 30-40 minutes
For Mushroom Filling:
4 large Portobello Mushroom Caps
1/2 tablespoon Turmeric
1/2 tablespoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
375 degrees for 25 minutes
For White Sauce:
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I used 2%)
1 tablespoon Tahini
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried Dill
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Water
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium white or yellow Onion, thinly sliced
4 all-natural Pitas (I used Damascus Bakery Whole Wheat Tortillas from Whole Foods)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In a small bowl or cup, mix together seasonings, vinegar and oil until a paste forms.
Using a damp paper towel, gently rub mushroom caps to remove access dirt. Place caps on lined baking sheet, smooth side up. Evenly divide seasoning paste between caps and rub over surface until the smooth side of each cap is covered. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Mean while, combine all ingredients for white sauce. Then prep tomatoes and onions.
When mushroom are finished, allow to cool slightly, then thinly slice. To assemble wraps, spread 2 tablespoons of sauce on each pita. Divide mushroom slices between pitas. Top with remaining white sauce, onions and tomatoes.