food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts. By the looks of these images you can probably tell I have been sitting on this awhile. No sparse concrete background to set off the dish, just a narrow floor tile and a crumpled piece of paper. But regardless of the dubious aesthetic I really wanted to share this recipe.

I was motivated to make this colourful, one-pot dish by my unending desire for Middle Eastern food. This is despite getting a really rather awful case of food poisoning in the mid-80s from a late-night (early morning) visit to an anonymous Edinburgh takeaway. I’ll explain.

It was one of those places with a column of pallid, pre-formed “lamb” turning slowly on a vertical spit in an open window, and a bleary eyed guy on standby to satiate the drunken students with cheap, meaty wraps and bottles of Irn Bru. With only the slightest contempt for his braying customers he would slather flatbreads with yogurt sauce, stud them with salad (quite revolutionary in 80s Edinburgh), and then shave some of this mystery meat on top to make a döner kebab or a shawarma – the name depending on what nationality was making your sly meal. A squirt of spicy red sauce pulled it all together.

Well, at 2 am with a belly full of beer and not much else, this always seems a good idea. At least when you are 19. There was always a queue at this place, so that was a good sign, right? But my happiness at having a warm, unexpected meal on a sharply cold February night was short-loved. I spent the next few days doing what one does when afflicted with proper food poisoning. I really thought I was going to die. It took a full week to recover, and many years before I ate anything vaguely Turkish or Middle Eastern again.

Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts. Now of course Middle Eastern and Turkish food in the UK is much elevated. You can still get a dubious shawarma, but more likely you will see restaurants with menus full of authentic homestyle and street food dishes. The chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have done much to rehabilitate the reputation of Middle Eastern cooking in the UK, and their influence has spread to the US and beyond.

Middle Eastern ingredients are also pretty easy to get now, so that if one has even the slightest hankering for an authentic couscous dish then the supermarket rather than online is usually the place to go for the proper ingredients. I am writing as someone living in a city, and a rather food-centric one at that, so I apologise if you aren’t easily able to get a jar of preserved lemons or harissa, let alone sumac or Aleppo pepper. I can help you out with the preserved lemons and the harissa, but so far growing sumac and these special Syrian, fruity-tart peppers eludes me. 🙂fragrant rose petal harissa by food to glow

Which leads me back to today’s recipe. This is a comforting one-pot meal that is easy enough to make during the week, and will be even better as leftovers. I like to use rather humble and commonplace base ingredients in many homey recipes, but have tried to elevate them in this instance by simmering in a mildly-spiced, shawarma-ish sauce. Obviously it is not a shawarma as this denotes spiced meat, but for my aromatic vegan recipe I slathered veg in a sauce combining commonly used shawarma lamb spices with a hint of the unique tomato sauce that accompanies the spiced lamb in stuffed flatbreads. We really liked this rather delicious sauce, and it is absolutely perfect for firm, seasonal vegetables.  Think tangy, exotic, tomatoey goodness. I used sweet potato and cauliflower, but you could easily use kohlrabi, carrots, a winter squash, parsnips, swede, salsify – anything of this rooty, autumnal sort.

I wish I could go and properly research shawarma for myself. But for now my food will have to be my journey.

The list of countries where I have a serious case of food love is ever-growing. So much so that I may need to get another job to fulfil my ambition of eating it all authentically. What country’s or regions’s food do you love that you have never experienced in the country itself? What would be your ‘dream dish’ to eat if you went?

Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts.

One-Pot Shawarma-Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower and Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts. xx

The Shawarma Sauce

350g cherry tomatoes OR 1 tin of best quality tomatoes (I like Cirio whole plum tomatoes and Napolina cherry tomatoes) plus a double handful of fresh cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp harissa paste (here is my rose harissa recipe)

1 tbsp sundried tomato paste or regular tomato paste

1 tsp each of fennel and caraway seeds, pan-toasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar

Drizzle of honey, date syrup or maple syrup (for balance) – I use date syrup

2 tsp sumac – optional if you can’t get it but it does add a gorgeous, gorgeous tart, earthy flavour

1/8 tsp ground cardamom OR seeds from 3 green pods, lightly crushed

¼ tsp ground cumin,

The Rest

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 large red onion, sliced

1 large sweet potato (about 400g), scrubbed and cubed

1 small-medium cauliflower (about 300g), broken into florets and including chopped stem and some leaves

400g tin or carton of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp cumin seeds pan-toasted, then crushed in pestle and mortar

200ml water – or as needed to keep the sauce loose and cook the vegetables*

Feta cheese – optional as a garnish

Parsley or coriander – optional as garnish

Note: I get some of my less common spices from Steenbergs (including the anise seeds from last week’s fig and walnut polenta cake recipe). And if you don’t make your own harissa, Al’Fez and Belazu make good ones.

*the amount of water you use depends on how saucy you want this and the water content of your tomatoes – use your best judgment as you can’t really go wrong. Start with 200ml and go from there as the stew cooks.

1. First of all, make the sauce. I think a blender is best for this but use a food processor, or even a hand blender if that’s what you have. A good blender like my trusty Froothie Optimum 9400 gives you an ultra smooth sauce and grinds down the seeds. Set aside for now.

making shawarma sauce in my blender

making shawarma sauce in my blender

2. Heat the oil over low-medium in a sauté/frying pan. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, including the sauce and water, turn up the heat and bring to a fast simmer. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook, with occasional stirring, for 40 minutes. Remove the lid as the sweet potato is nearing tenderness and let some of the moisture evaporate if needed. You can have this soupy – in which case, add a little more water – or drier as I have made it here. Also, I don’t think this needs salt but do add maybe 1/2 teaspoon or so during cooking if you think it needs it. I like to think all of the flavours going on here makes you forget all about salt.Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts.

Serve warm rather than boiling hot, with your chosen yummy starch – couscous, rice, potatoes, quinoa, flatbread. Enjoy!

Soft food diet: blend the vegetables to your suitability then layer over the sauce. Or, perhaps blend each vegetable individually and layer up to serve. For a cuttable almost moussaka type dish, combine the blended vegetables with two beaten eggs, pour into an oiled baking dish and top with the sauce and sprinkle over feta cheese or other cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts. DSC_0196

Food To Glow uses the Froothie Optimum 9400 blender and the Froothie Optimum 600 slow juicer to make juices, nut milks, sauces, desserts, soups and smoothies (and more!). These are affiliate links, meaning if you buy a blender or juicer through them I will earn a small commission but you will pay no additional money. This is not a paid post and all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. 

47 thoughts on “One-Pot Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Chickpeas Shawarma Recipe {vegan}

  1. Sue Parke says:

    This looks and sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing! Pinning for later!

  2. Sandhya says:

    This looks awesome! Love the vibrant colors and flavors of the dish!

  3. Wow! This looks so colourful and comforting, I’m definitely going to try it out.

  4. onmyteam says:

    Looks so delicious! Cannot wait to try 🙂

  5. Beautiful photography!

  6. Of course, it looks so good!!!! Great flavours 🙂
    I think I’m going slightly nuts though…what size/weight sweet potato is required? I can’t see it…x

    1. Thanks for that, Elaine. I was trying to do too mnay things at once and missed out a crucial ingredient! I’ve fixed it – 1 large sp at about 400g or thereabouts. :-))

      1. I didn’t want to seem rude…?!

      2. No not at all! I am always grateful for anyone letting me know if something is missing from a recipe. 😊😊

  7. Barb says:

    Sweet potato quantity?

    1. Hi there. I apologise for the glaring omission. I was doing a few things at once when I should have been concentrating on writing the recipe. I’ve fixed it, but fyi it is one large sweet potato – about 400g or so

  8. sevanvart says:

    I Love the colors!! I think I’ll try it tonight and Im sure my husband and I are going to love it!

  9. Very nourishing and delicious – and all my kind of flavours (especially the Rose Harissa!!)

  10. That looks lovely. I like all sorts of foods from places I have never been but the most obvious would be Indian food – I’d love to go to India for lots of reasons even though everyone says you can’t go there without getting food poisoning at some point!

  11. i’m not a huge harrisa fan but I love the way you’ve cooked with it here, so beautiful x

  12. This looks awesome, I was hazy what flavours went into a shawarma but really like the sound of it now.

  13. Love everything about this, and I can just taste the feta as a garnish, lovely! However, her hum, I do have a bone on contention with your view of 1980’s Scottish food! As you know we were living as students in Aberdeen then but having fantastic food in places such as Owlies, Under The Hammer, Silver Darling, Udny Arms, Lairhillock, all honest and veg based or locally gathered food haunts. Of course there were the usual dodgy outlets too as there still are. When we came to Edinburgh we would go to Hendersons, Le Sept, Pierre Victoire etc and for ingreds Valvona & Corolla was selling fantastic food and had been for years (and it wasnt super trendy/expensive then – my folks used to go there with empty olive oil cans to get filled up). As students our flat of 6 shared cooking duties and we lived off herring, mackerel and prawns! We would go to the harbour with a black bin bag and hold it at the end of a shoot from the trawlers and prawns would literally fly into our bag and we sat and gorged on super cheap yummy food. When we camped (as we did with student chums) we would live off crabs and langoustines (they were ultra cheap and not elite food then). I hope I don’t sound ranty (!) – just enthusiastic I hope – its just I dont want your readers thinking we were eating rubbish in the 80’s here 🙂 However, your off kebab sounds sound grim, I agree there totally 💚

    1. I think because I was new to Edinburgh and living on the south side, student land was grim. I did go to Henderson’s and thought it was grand, but in 1983/84 there really was not much choice (you are quite a bit younger than me so things will have changed in later 80s). Truly. I didn’t have the nous to know about let alone seek out such treasures as you were able to access in Aberdeen – which sounds quite enlightened. Your food adventures and camping sound deliciously frugal! Your commenting wasn’t a rant. I’m happy to hear your experience of course. But it has changed for the better in the intervening 25 years, hasn’t it? Well except for lack of fishermen to buy seafood from quayside. That would be blooming amazing if that could be revived. 🙂

  14. Ooh Kellie, you’ve done it again! This looks amazing, proper comfort food. I’ve only used harissa a couple of times but it’s definitely something I want to use again.

  15. Camilla says:

    Oh my Kellie, I’d love a big plate of this right now, sounds absolutely delicious with that home made harissa to boot;-)

  16. Cauliflower and sweet potato is such a comforting cool-weather combo. This sauce is right up my alley. Lovely weeknight meal, or anytime meal, for that matter!

    1. Thanks so very much, Katie. I have used the sauce with other ideas too. It’s also a good dip!

  17. Eb Gargano says:

    This looks so lovely! I love this kind of food – perfect for a chilly autumn evening. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That’s very kind of you to say, Eb. 🙂

  18. This looks gorgeous! So comforting and full of flavour.

    1. Thanks so much, Jemma. I hope you try a version of this soon. 🙂

  19. stateeats says:

    I am with you, would love to have Middle Eastern food in the Middle East. Doubt I will ever get there, though! Will just to be content with dishes like yours. -Kat

    1. I know. I fear at least my generation has missed the chance of getting to travel safely in these extremely intriguing and otherwise very hospitable countries. I hope the situation changes in the not-too-distant future, but fear it may not. We shall travel through food!

  20. Kellie I really love that first photo despite your comments…very appealing colours and textures. I also love the sound of the food, and I just happen to have a cauliflower lurking in the back fridge looking for a purpose in life! I am also in love with middle eastern flavours and have been lucky enough to eat them in Tunisia, Egypt, Istanbul and UAE….in fact one of my nice lasting memories of UAE was an incredible breakfast of delicately spice minced lamb eaten with flatbreads…we were given in a tiny local coffee shack behind the courthouse we were about to have to enter…looking just for coffee we were pressed with this amazing feast and I try to recreate the flavours back here in Edinburgh…it’s not quite the same, but a firm family favourite none the less😊

    1. You are one lucky lady in respect of your awesome travels and food experiences. Those photographs to prove it all too 🙂

  21. Such a lovely and comforting looking dish, Kellie. And just the kind of warm vegetable dish that floats my boat these days – still am not in much of a salad mood, but the colours and heat here are calling my name!

    1. Oh, this isn’t a salad so you are on safe territory here, Katie. 🙂 Warm and one-pot is the only game in town right now, especially as I am not allowing myself central heating until 5 pm each day!

  22. This looks amazing & so yummy! Love your photos 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, and for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  23. Mr Simple says:

    This is delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Next time I make this I’m going to try to bring it to the plate for under $1 and it will be perfect!

    1. It could definitely be done!

      1. Mr Simple says:

        Dare to dream… 🙂

  24. Oh this looks so good! My mother just had her first radiation treatment tonight for breast cancer and now that I will be taking over the cooking during this time I am looking for new healthy recipes as we are doing a huge diet change. Now filling your blog.

    *follow back*

    1. Best wishes to your Mum in her treatment and beyond. I don’t know if you noticed but I have a Nutrition and Cancer Section (tab at top of page) that may be useful to her. Encourage your mum to listen to how her body reacts to the changes in her diet. Sometimes too quick of a change can cause digestive upset as they don’t have the build up of the particular enzymes to break down the newly introduced foods. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much. I will lookinto that section of your blog !

  25. balticbliss says:

    This looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing -can’t wIt to try it!

  26. Monica Shaw says:

    Cauliflower and sweet potato are two of my favourite vegetables, but it’s the shawarma sauce that really catches my eye. Fennel, sumac, cardamom – sounds a dreamy combination and of course it looks incredible (as do all your recipes). Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I am making it for a class tomorrow. It is a new favourite with the staff so I am making it more and more these days. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave me this super comment. Me, inspiring you! Woo hoo!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: