Falafel-Spiced Crispy Mushroom Pitas with Garlicky Yogurt

published Nov 2, 2022
Falafel-Spiced Crispy Mushrooms Recipe

Crispy, golden-brown mushrooms coated in a medley of ground coriander, cumin, and cayenne; topped with quick-pickled cabbage, fresh veggies, and a minty yogurt sauce.

Serves2

Prep20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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falafel spiced mushroom on pita on table
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Part open-faced sandwich, part salad, and totally satisfying, these falafel-inspired spiced mushrooms served over pita is a weeknight dinner that comes together in a snap. It’s perfect for those “I don’t feel like cooking” evenings, when you’re still craving something nutritious, fresh, filling — and, most importantly, not boring.

The spice blend of ground coriander, cumin, and cayenne is reminiscent of the flavor and fragrance of classic chickpea falafel and results in tasty, aromatic mushrooms. (Swap the cayenne for smoked paprika if you want to skip the kick.) Plus the striking, zingy quick-pickled red cabbage adds a welcome crunch and liveliness. Bonus: There is no heat or canning involved in quick-pickling the cabbage — a mixture of vinegar and salt do the job just right.

Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Going to Make this Recipe, a Few Tips

  • Multitask. You’ll move through this recipe quickly because there is no inactive time. While the red cabbage softens and develops flavor as it sits in the vinegar mixture, the mushrooms are crisping in a hot skillet. While they cook, stir together a cooling yogurt sauce, simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and mint (to keep the meal vegan, use a plant-based yogurt). Slather the yogurt on warm pitas and mound the falafel-spiced mushrooms on top, followed by the zingy cabbage, plus fresh peppery radishes, mini cucumbers, and mint. 
  • Minimize your knife work. If you have a mandoline, this is the time to use it: It’s the perfect tool to quickly and evenly thinly slice the cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes. (Of course, a sharp knife is just fine, too.) Mushrooms like oyster or maitake can also be torn into pieces instead of sliced with a knife. This also gives the finished dish extra texture, thanks to those craggy torn edges. 
  • Make it an interactive dinner. Serve all the components in individual bowls and make it a build-your-own pita dinner. It’s a fun way for kids at the table to take part, too — so feel free to double or even triple the recipe for a bigger crowd. If you are increasing the servings, just be sure to cook the mushrooms in batches (about 3 1/2 cups per batch) so they can still crisp and pick up color.

Falafel-Spiced Crispy Mushrooms Recipe

Crispy, golden-brown mushrooms coated in a medley of ground coriander, cumin, and cayenne; topped with quick-pickled cabbage, fresh veggies, and a minty yogurt sauce.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/8

    small red cabbage (about 3 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons

    red wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1

    Persian or mini cucumber

  • 5

    medium radishes

  • 5 sprigs

    fresh mint

  • 1 pound

    mixed fresh mushrooms, such as oyster, maitake, cremini, or shiitake

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 pinch

    cayenne pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 small clove

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    plain dairy or vegan Greek yogurt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    (6 to 8-inch wide) pitas, warmed

Instructions

  1. Very thinly slice 1/8 small red cabbage until you have 1 packed cup. Place in a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and toss to combine.

  2. Prepare the following, placing each in a pile on the same plate as you complete it: Thinly slice 1 mini cucumber crosswise. Thinly slice 5 medium radishes. Pick the leaves from 5 fresh mint sprigs until you have about 1/4 cup and finely chop, reserving 1 tablespoon.

  3. Trim the stems from 1 pound mixed mushrooms such as oyster, maitake, cremini, or shiitake. Thinly slice thicker mushrooms or tear thinner mushrooms into bite-sized pieces (about 7 cups).

  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the mushrooms, toss to coat in the oil, and spread into an even layer. Cook undisturbed until golden-brown in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Toss and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned all over, 1 to 2 minutes more. Meanwhile, place the 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 pinch cayenne pepper or 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika in a small bowl.

  6. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and raw mushrooms to the pan and repeat cooking the mushrooms. Meanwhile, transfer reserved 1 tablespoon of the chopped mint to a small bowl. Finely grate 1 small garlic clove into the bowl. Add 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, several grinds of black pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir until well combined.

  7. Return the cooked mushrooms on the plate to the pan with the second batch. Add the spice mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms are golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  8. Spread 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture onto each of 2 warmed pitas. Top with the falafel-spiced mushrooms, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, and remaining mint. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining yogurt mixture.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The cooked mushrooms and toppings can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 2 days.