Golden crispy brown strips on the outside, soft meaty goodness on the inside, what's not to like about vegetarian shawarma strips?
If you've ever had traditional shawarma, or the Levantine version of meat-on-a-stick you may have wondered how to capture the flavors and textures without the heavy meat component. Eating Levantine street food may lead you to believe it's impossible to make at home, but that's where you're wrong. And you don't need a ton of ingredients or special equipment to do it.
This recipe is adapted from the original featured on the blog Jeena's Kitchen.
This particular dish we often eat as a full meal with steamed basmati rice, Afghan Veggie Kabobs and Israeli Salad with Orzo - but you can also wrap these babies in a pita with diced tomatoes and cucumbers and a drizzle of Wayfare sour cream.
Just like with the veggie kabobs, we caution using metal skewers (although you'll see we did use them in our photo recipe) since they are difficult to pick up and eat off of because they are so hot. That being said, this shawarma falls off the skewers once cooked so eating off of them isn't really much of an issue. If using wooden skewers, soak them for about 30 minutes in warm water before using, to avoid wood splinters in food.
If you can't find garam masala you can substitute for a 1/4 tsp allspice, cloves or nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cumin, coriander, and cardamom. You can also change up the flavor profile by using the same amount of curry powder instead of the garam masala.
Recipe: Afghan Mung Bean Shawarma
Course: Side Dish
Skill Level: Intermediate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Soak Time: 4 hours or see below for alternative
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes active time
Serves: 4 (2 skewers each)
1 cup whole mung beans (rinsed and soaked 4 hours prior)
1 large carrot (about 1 cup grated)
1 large yellow or sweet onion (about 1 1/2 cup diced)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 Tbsp minced ginger
3 Tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander (optional)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
Rinse and soak mung beans for about four hours prior to cooking. If you don't have the time or you forget, you can cook the beans for longer on the stove. We do not suggest soaking overnight because the beans will begin to sprout.
Cover beans with 4 cups of water and cook on medium-high on the back burner of your stove for 25-30 minutes, until beans start to soften. It will take approximately 10 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Preheat oven to 400F.
While beans are cooking peel, dice and saute an onion in 1 Tbsp of avocado oil until softened and translucent, roughly 7 minutes.
Add diced garlic and minced ginger, sauteing for 1-2 minutes.
Add all dried spices and toast for 1 minute. Turn off heat.
Drain beans and mash with a potato masher in a large bowl.
Grate carrot and add to mashed mung beans.
Using a spatula thoroughly mix onion and spice mixture with grated carrot and mashed mung beans until fully incorporated. Add remaining 2 Tbsp of avocado oil until well incorporated. Mixture will be very wet and sticky.
Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and oil or parchment paper.
Using wet hands divide mung bean mixture into eighths and mold into sausage shape on skewers as they lie on the prepared baking sheets. This will be impossible to do while holding the skewers as the mung bean mixture will be too wet to stay in place against gravity. Space skewers about an inch apart from each other so the shawarma strips don't get stuck together while cooking.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until outer strips are soft. Don't bake too long because then they will become dry inside.
Remove from oven, gently slide strips from skewers and serve immediately while still warm.
Leftover skewers can be frozen to be reheated in the oven or on the stove in a month or used within a week if refrigerated.