Recipe: Aubergine shawarma tray bake

Make supper simple with this meatless spin on a Middle Eastern favourite


Photo: Eva Kolenko

  • place PRE 15 minutes
  • place COOK 25 - 30 minutes
  • place SERVES 4
  • printicon

If you love big, bold flavours, you have to try this veggie riff on Middle Eastern shawarma, with thinly sliced aubergine and sweet potatoes stepping in for the traditional meat. Pile everything onto a platter (or one of the baking sheets) and let everyone assemble their own.


  • Preheat oven to 220°C and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.

  • Make the shawarma spice: Whisk together the cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. Set aside.

  • Place the eggplant on one of the baking sheets and the sweet potatoes on the other. Generously drizzle the aubergine with olive oil, and lightly drizzle the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the shawarma spice over the aubergine and the remaining 1 teaspoon over the sweet potatoes. Store the remaining spice for another use.

  • Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, spread evenly on the baking sheets, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are golden brown and the eggplant is tender, rotating the pans halfway through.

  • To make the tahini yoghurt: stir together all the ingredients. If the yoghurt is too thick, thin with water, a tablespoon at a time (up to 4) to reach your desired consistency — which should be thick and creamy.

  • Fill the pita with the tahini yoghurt, roasted vegetables, cucumbers, mint, pickled onions, and sprinkles of Aleppo pepper, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

    Recipe adapted from ‘Love and Lemons: Simple Feel Good Food’ (Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)

First published in the JC May 25, 2023


Shawarma spice:
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp ground cardamom
1½ tsp ground turmeric

For the vegetables:
1 medium aubergine, sliced into ½ cm-thick half- moons
1 sweet potato, sliced into ½ cm-thick half-moons
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 tbsp shawarma spice (as above)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tahini yoghurt:
240ml full fat Greek yoghurt
60ml tahini
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cardamom

To serve:
4 pitas, warmed
Aleppo pepper (optional)
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
Fresh mint, parsley, or coriander sprigs
Lemon wedges

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