Tahini Tofu Cabbage Rolls

Wrap 4

I can’t quite do the incredible flavours and textures of these Tahini Tofu Cabbage Rolls justice with the name alone, so I hope you’re ready for some mouth-watering description. Think lemons, chilli, pickles, olives, tahini and all the heavenly things.

Let’s begin with two words: Healthy. Shawarma. (Or, let’s be honest, kebab.)

Healthy? Yes. Taste sensation? Absolutely.

Wrap 2If you love falafel wraps and Middle Eastern flavours, this is a must for your ‘to make’ list. Here are some of the delights rolled up in this bundle of brightness:

  • crisp, tahini-marinated, amazing baked tofu;
  • harissa and lemon-roasted chickpeas (which are so, SO good you have to stop yourself from eating them straight from the oven);
  • sour pickles – the perfect partner to silky, garlicky tahini; and
  • salty, tangy green olives.

Wrap 1

But, you may be asking, why is it wrapped in cabbage? Well, I wanted to create something that was both wrap and a riff on the Lebanese baked cabbage rolls – something that was:

  1. packed full of Middle Eastern flavours;
  2. self-contained; and
  3. a little lighter than the traditional flatbread.

So we have something that is part baked cabbage roll and part wrap/shawarma, only without the meat.

And it turned out so well! The ingredients that are stuffed into the roll balance really well with the lightness of the cabbage-as-taste-sensation-vehicle. Not to mention the dream team of flavour-infused tahini, tofu and chickpeas.

Harissa 2

And those harissa-baked chickpeas really are just wonderful

Even if you’re not a cabbage fan, I think this will sway you. Not only is it lightly steamed, but it is also lightly-flavoured, so it really is more of a ‘platter’ than a flavour. It is most certainly not reminiscent of the boiled-for-hours unpleasantness of the 1950s (not that I was there, but 1. I have parents who were and 2. I went to school in a convent where the nuns had pans of cabbage on permanent boil, probably dating back to the 1950s).

Wrap 3

Finally, I’d like to take a minute to revel in the glory of the discovery that tahini can be used as a marinade. Now, you will be familiar with my penchant for tahini-ing everything (check out the links at the bottom), but this really is a revelation for two reasons:

  1. it imparts that wonderful nutty, creamy flavour; and
  2. it acts as a coating – it is like breading tofu!

Which means when you bake it in the oven, you have fabulous chewy pieces of tofu encased in crisp garlicky wonderfulness! As I sad before – amazing.

So if you’re looking for something that’s crunchy, creamy, spicy, salty and sour, then this is the recipe for you. A Friday night dinner you can thoroughly enjoy with none of the guilt.

To make your own Harissa, click here for the recipe.

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Tahini Tofu Cabbage Rolls
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
These cabbage rolls encase all of the mouth-watering flavours and textures of the Middle East. Crisp, chewy tahini-marinated tofu, crunchy pickles and harissa-baked chickpeas. Delicious!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: 60 minutes or less, Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 2
  • For the tofu:
  • 250-300g firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp water (if needed to loosen the tahini)
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaped tsp each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, dried oregano or marjoram
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • For the chickpeas:
  • 1 tin chickpeas (400g / drained weight 240g), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1 heaped tbsp harissa
  • Other:
  • 4 large cabbage leaves (sweetheart cabbage works well)
  • 6 small pickled cucumbers
  • 10 green olives
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  1. At least 30 minutes before you start cooking, prepare the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a bowl - it will be quite thick, so loosen it a little with water if necessary.
  2. Cut the drained and pressed tofu into bite-sized pieces, place in a container and cover with the marinade. Cover and set aside.
  3. Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
  4. Place the tofu pieces on a non-stick baking tray, carefully shaking off any excess marinade. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, turning once half-way through.
  5. Note: retain the leftover marinade to use for the sauce.
  6. At the same time, combine the chickpeas with the olive oil, lemon juice and oregano/marjoram in a roasting tin and cook on the top shelf for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes to ensure an even crispness, adding the harissa for the final 10 minutes.
  7. While these are cooking, prepare the salad ingredients. Slice the pickles and olives, chop the tomatoes into small pieces, and chop the spring onions.
  8. minutes prior to serving, steam the cabbage leaves and pat dry.
  9. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the leftover tofu marinade to create the sauce for the finished rolls.
  10. To assemble, spoon a little of each component into the centre of a cabbage leaf, drizzle over some of the sauce and wrap like a parcel - you'll be amazed at how well they stick together!
This recipe makes 4 cabbage rolls, which serves 2 for a main meal.

For more tahini-filled recipes, check out this Quinoa Cherry Bakewell, these Salted Maple Cookies and these Chewy Chocolate Tahini Cookies.

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    • Thank you Anca! It’s definitely one of my favourite flavour combinations 🙂 Lx