When I was attending college in New York City and surviving on a student budget, I rarely ate out and subsisted on white rice or pasta with sautéed garlic and oil. My big splurges were the Korean market salad bar featuring marinated tofu and various fresh veggies, but also the best falafel in the world at a small place on McDougall street called Yataga. Their falafel sandwich was wrapped in a fresh-baked pita and stuffed to overflowing with fried falafel balls, tahini and yogurt sauce, chopped lettuce, onion, pickles, and tomatoes. It was delicious and cheap. But one of the things I had to ignore while ordering my delectable pita sandwich was the rotating shawarma vertical rotisserie where they carved the meat for the carnivorous versions. It was a powerful sad sight for me of something I did not want to eat nor think about.

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recipe from Lisa Rice's Kitchen Plantastic


1 package of whole wheat pita bread
3 large portobello mushroom OR 1 bag Butler soy curls (cover with boiling water and add a cube of vegan chicken-less bouillon – Or both! (I prefer cooking both and mixing them together)
2 red onions
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
Veggie broth or olive oil (in a spray bottle is helpful)

1/2 head red cabbage
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
Handful fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups unsweetened cashew yogurt (I prefer Forager brand as it has no added oil)
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp salt

1 carrot
1 serrano or jalapeño
1 red onion
1-2 cups radishes or daikon
1-2 cups thickly cut cabbage (red or white)
1 thinly sliced apple or pear or asian pear (optional)
1 T coriander seeds
1 T fennel seeds
1 T pepper corns
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sweetener (sugar, agave, date syrup)
1 T kosher salt
Boiling water

Other optional pickling spices: star anise, anise seeds, black mustard seeds, mustard seeds, whole cloves, red or green peppercorns, dried chilies, fresh herbs, garlic cloves, fresh ginger slices

Garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or mint.


Preheat oven to 425

Step 1
Make your pickles: mix ingredients except boiling water to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Toss veggies into mix to coat and pour everything in a large jar or class or ceramic container with a lid to marinate, add enough boiling water to cover the veggies and place in refrigerator.

Step 2
Heat oven to 425 or outdoor an outdoor grill (that has a lid and can close). Spread the mushrooms, onions and soy curls on a grill pan (oil the pan or use parchment paper) and spray with a little olive or avocado oil or you can use a thin spray of vegetable stock or water if oil-free.

Cook for about 20-30 minutes, tossing once or twice until the onions get some caramelization.

Step 3
While veggies/curls are cooking, toss slaw ingredients and mix sauce ingredients.

To assemble
Throw your pita onto the rack in your hot oven and warm it up for 1-2 minutes. Place pita on a plate and spread a layer of sauce. Next spread on some of your roasted ingredients, some slaw and some pickles. Drizzle on some more sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro, mint or fresh parsley.


Lisa Rice

Sr. Health Mentor & Director of Content and Promotion