Make your own vegan tofu shawarma

XMarket in the HBC Rideau Centre teamed up with a local chef for this shawarma creation

As the demand for plant-based groceries and meals increases, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see more vendors providing these diet and lifestyle choices in their stores.

HBC in the Rideau Centre recently partnered with Canadian company PlantX to host a new plant-based grocery store and cafe called XMarket inside their department store.

The store showcases a variety of plant-based grocery items, cosmetics, and indoor plants, as well as a cafe providing consumers with carefully selected plant-based food and beverages, according to company founder Sean Dollinger who discussed the venture with Alan Neal on CBC Radio’s All In A Day on Wednesday.

“It’s a pretty cool new modern take on your traditional neighborhood vegan/health food store carrying a variety of cutting-edge plant-based protein brands you normally only see on the west coast,” Dollinger said.

This is XMarket inside the HBC store in the Rideau Centre mall. (XMarket/Submitted)

“We have had so many requests to create a shawarma recipe since opening our Rideau store,” so they went to a local expert, he said.

John Paul Haddad, whose family has been in the shawarma business for more than 25 years in Ottawa, is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef. He created this recipe for a vegan shawarma in partnership with PlantX.

Vegan tofu shawarma

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 (14-oz) block firm or extra-firm tofu, pre-frozen for meat-like texture and drained
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 cup plain, dairy-free yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 4 pita, warmed
  • 2 Persian or mini cucumbers, thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • Mint leaves (for serving)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss onion and vinegar in a small bowl to coat; set aside.
  2. Squeeze tofu over a medium bowl to remove water. When tofu is dry, tear it into small, bite-sized pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Toss with oil, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Roast tofu, turning once or twice, until crispy around the edges and well browned, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Stir non-dairy yogurt and garlic in a small bowl, and add salt to taste. Spread yogurt sauce on pita, and then add tofu, cucumbers, pickled onion, and mint.