How to Make Shawarma Out of Cauliflower

We love this meatless spin on the Middle Eastern favorite

Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
Matt Taylor-Gross

Shawarma doesn't have to be relegated to late-night eats or grab-and-go lunches; sometimes, it shows up to the party dressed up a little bit. Fancy enough for a dinner party, but low-key and simple enough for a solo night in, this dish is the little black dress of do-it-yourself take-out. Shawarma, meet cauliflower, your new best friend.

This Middle-Eastern-inspired dish, which comes from Josh Katz of Berber & Q, uses tender charred cauliflower in place of meat, but the smokiness and complex spices rubbed into the florets will make you (almost) forget the more traditional rotisserie version. Cauliflower, the chameleon of vegetables, is endlessly versatile, and when treated this way—blanched until just softened, then charred—it takes on a meaty texture that we think is one of its best performances. The spiced cauliflower takes on a caramelized quality before getting dressed up with jewel-like pomegranates and studded with a simple tahini dressing. If we could bathe in this dressing, we would. It tones down the smokiness of the dish while adding a creamy-but-not-oily richness like the sauces from the best shawarma joints.

If you feel like being extra fancy, you can top it off with some rose petals before serving, but really, we feel the whole thing stands well on its own without. Serve alongside a roast chicken if you still miss meat, or pair with this falafel and tahini dish if you want to keep it in the veggie family.