Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vegan East-Coast Style Donairs

Donairs are now all the rage among trendy foodies here in Toronto.  Upscale restaurants have transformed this nutritional monstrosity, typically eaten in Halifax at 2am by drunk university students after the bars close, into a high-brow delicacy.  But still an unhealthy one.

In case you are not familiar with it, a donair is basically a schwarma made with ground beef and/or lamb and drowned in a sickly sweet, garlicky sauce consisting of sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, sugar and garlic. 

Being as twisted as I am, I thought it would be fun to make a vegan version.  And you know what? It's fabulous! Even my schwarma-loving husband approves.


2 cups sprouted bean mix, cooked and drained (or 2 cups dried red kidney beans, cooked)
15g dried mushrooms
1 zucchini
2 shallots
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup quinoa flakes (or oats)
2 tbls sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
2 tbls vegan worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Donair Sauce

1/2 cup tahini (or cashew butter)
2 tbls xylitol (or other granular sweetener)
1/4 cup (or more) cider vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste


1 sweet onion (Vidalia), diced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

Whole grain pitas

For the donair 'meat', grind up dried mushrooms in food processor, add all the other ingredients except for beans and process for 10-15 seconds.  Add beans and pulse until the consistency of ground meat.  Spread evenly in a 9x12 pan that is lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray or brushed with oil.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Let cool and then use foil to lift meat out of pan.  Slice with a sharp knife in 2 inch wide pieces.

For the sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Keep adding vinegar until desired consistency is reached (remember if the sauce is too thin, it will make very drippy, messy donairs!

To assemble the donairs, slice off desired amount of 'meat' and place in the centre of a pita.  sprinkle with onion and tomato, and drizzle with sauce.  Fold pita, grab with both hands and gobble down.  Don't fret if sauce drips down your arm as you eat, that just makes it more authentic!

'Meat' recipe makes about 8 donairs.  Leftover meat can be frozen for future use.

This recipe has been entered into Diet, Dessert & Dogs' Wellness Weekend.


  1. I only just learned what these are a couple of days ago--and I can't believe you made this!! Fantastic!! I am dying to try this--like, NOW. ;-) Thanks for linking to WW this week! :D

  2. Thank you! If you try it, please let me know what you think. I think you could replace the mushrooms with pretty much any dehydrated veggie.