Prep Cook Serves Ready In
15 minutes 40 miutes 4 servings 55 minutes

Cauliflower Rice Shwarma Bowl Recipe Two Ways

You can make this healthy dinner with chicken or tofu.

Traditional shwarma can be made with turkey, lamb, or chicken, and is usually cooked slowly, stacked on a spit so that the meat and fat drips down onto itself, creating a moist, flavorful, and slightly crispy texture. The delicious meat is then stuffed into a fluffy pita and topped with a variety of veggies or sauces depending on your taste. Amba, a sauce made from dried, salted mango and spices, is one of the most favored toppings in Israel.

These cauliflower rice bowls are the health-ified version of the classic Israeli sandwich. If cauliflower rice isn’t your thing, swap it out for regular rice or quinoa. I have made it all of these ways and it’s so satisfying. If you are feeling like you want to be REALLY healthy, you could even turn this into a — gasp — salad.

Many supermarkets these days carry cauliflower rice either in the produce department near all the other skinny bitch food like spiralized zucchini noodles and such. Trader Joe’s carries cauliflower rice in the freezer section, which is what I have used with very successful results. But if you cannot find packaged cauliflower rice, you can make your own just using a nice head of cauliflower and a food processor.

You can cook the chicken or tofu in a pan, but I bake them for EASE and also, it is healthier. But don’t be mistaken — this shwarma is so well spiced and perfectly cooked you won’t feel like you’re eating health food. Blegh.

I will take absolutely zero credit for the amazing spice mixture in this recipe — it comes straight from Danielle Oron‘s cookbook Modern Israel Cooking, which I love and use regularly.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (excess fat trimmed)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp hot paprika (or pinch red pepper flakes)
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch ground clove

For the tofu:

  • 1 19 oz package of extra firm tofu, dried carefully and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp hot paprika (or pinch red pepper flakes)
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch ground clove

For the cauliflower rice:

  • 1 bag frozen cauliflower rice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Toppings:

  • chopped cherry tomatoes
  • chopped cucumber
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh mint
  • chickpeas
  • zhoug (spicy Yemenite condiment)
  • amba (salted mango sauce)
  • tahini
  • Israeli-style pickles

Directions

  1. Combine spice mixture in large bowl plus water and olive oil.
  2. Slather spice mixture all over chicken or tofu. Allow chicken to marinate overnight or for at least one hour. Tofu can marinate for 20 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay chicken or tofu on a lightly greased baking pan in a single layer.
  4. Cook 20 minutes, then turn over. (Tofu may need 2-3 times in total, adjust accordingly.)
  5. Cook another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Allow chicken to cool 5 minutes, then shred using two forks or a fork and sharp knife.
  7. While chicken or tofu is cooking, make the cauliflower rice: heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add cauliflower rice and stir until cooked. Add salt, pepper, and fresh parsley if desired.
  8. Divide cauliflower rice between 4 bowls. Top with chicken or tofu, chickpeas, veggies, fresh herbs, and tahini (or other toppings and condiments of choice). 

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