Easy Vegan Döner Kebab/Shawarma with Pickled Cabbage

The first thing I ever ate when I moved to Germany was not sauerkraut, not any of the variety of brats the country has to offer, and not even the famous, delicious, pretzels. Nope, my flight from Chicago got in pretty late and we stopped at one of the many Döner Kebab shops that can be found on just about any/every street.

It was the first time I’d ever eaten it and my first thought was, “Oh it’s like a gyro.”

It is not just like a gyro, but it is similiar.

Anyway, I fell in love with this dish because I loved the combination of flavorful meat, cabbage slaw and all the different choices for spicy add-ons they give you. It. Was. My. Jam.

And then I went vegan and even though Berlin is the place to be for vegan foodies, I lived in Stuttgart. There were hardly any vegan restaurants, never mind vegan Döner shops, much to my dismay.

And then I learned how to make my own vegan gyro meat from seitan and the rest, as they say, is history.

So whenever I get a craving for vegan Döner or Shawarma, I make it myself.

There are three components to this dish: the vegan meat, the veggiegurt sauce and the pickled veggies.

The veggiegurt is simple: vegan yogurt, diced cucumber, dill, lemon juice & zest, and cumin. Put in a bowl and stir, refrigerate until you’re ready to start plating.

Quick & Easy Vegan Mujaddara

When friends and family tell me how “easy” it’s been for me to go vegan because I love to cook, sometimes I just have to roll my eyes at the naivete of that statement. Yes, I do enjoy cooking and learning about new types of cuisines. Mostly it’s because I’m curious but it’s also because restaurant food is suspect and I’m not wealthy enough to go to the places where the food is always good all the time, and when you factor being vegan into the whole thing, well just finding a place to eat can turn into an ordeal in itself.

So I cook and experiment. And vegan-ize as much as I can or as much as I want.

But the reason I love cooking is because I find plenty of ways to make meals that are delicious and healthy and quick. Every single day can’t be a two hours in the kitchen kind of day, but it can taste like it and that’s where this vegan mujaddara comes in very handy.

Before we go further, I do know that Mujaddara is vegan and that to say so is redundant but many westerners have added meat and/or dairy to this dish so people looking for those recipes, probably won’t click on me.

Now, let’s move on!

This dish is pretty simple as it only contains a few main ingredients: brown lentils, brown rice, caramelized onions & spices.

The only thing I added was a few chopped crimini mushrooms and I used baharat, ras el hanout, cardamom, black pepper and cumin to season everything.

When it comes to a dish like this, you want to flavor the waters as much as you can. The people who know about these things recommend you don’t salt or season water for cooking lentils, but I added salt and baharat during the last 10 minutes and it made a difference. Do the same for your rice water, add some seasoning so that everything has flavor before you blend it all.

Since this dish was so healthy and easy, I used a plant butter-oil hybrid to get the onions crispy and caramel-y and delicious. It was worth the time and effort because the onions are where you can really add depth to mujaddara.

This dish was light and healthy and satisfying that we ate the rest the next day for lunch…with a beer!

This is an easy vegan meal with lots of flavor that you can cook in 30 minutes.