Enjoy Meat-Free Shawarma With A Tasty Tofu Swap

Tofu is the perfect plant-based tofu substitute for so many meaty dishes. With a texture that can range from silky and smooth to very firm, there's hardly a recipe that can't take advantage of tofu's ability to absorb flavors. A perfect example is Michelle Bottalico's shawarma-spiced tofu that can be served as a wrap or salad or even as part of your favorite grain bowl combination.

The meats usually roasted for shawarma are coated in warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and paprika along with a dash of bright lemon juice, and Bottalico adds all these flavors to a marinade for extra firm tofu to bathe in. After soaking up your favorite spices, fry the tofu in a cast iron pan, which adds a crispy outer texture and toasts everything to perfection. These shawarma-spiced tofu cubes are even easier than the traditional meat version because the tofu soaks in the marinade and cooks so quickly.

Adding spiced tofu to your menu

Another appealing aspect of this tofu shawarma swap is how tasty the tofu is whether warm or cold. If you make a double batch of the tofu, leftover cubes can be tossed up with salads and grain bowls to amp up the flavor and protein — and also add some chewy texture. Plan for some extra leftover tofu to snack on along with a few slices of cucumber or bell pepper and pita chips, too. Crumble it on top of hummus for a delicious dip.

Although Bottalico cubes the tofu for her recipe, feel free to cut thicker slabs of tofu that can stand in for burger patties on a bun. You could also shred the tofu on a box grater before adding the marinade to get a ground meat-type texture that would be perfect added to tacos or spooned into lettuce cups. The cooked, shredded shawarma-spiced tofu is also perfect for adding to a bowl of basmati rice with lentils for a flavorful pilaf. No matter how you serve it, this spiced tofu is a great substitute when you want a meat-free meal.