So, when I worked as a teen it was in a very busy city and although I was working, it wasn't for much money so I had to be very careful where I spent it. The local strip mall had a place that sold gyro's relatively cheap and although I'd never had them before, I gave it a try and I've never looked back.
Now, of course, it was made with lamb, chicken or pork but it had a distinct taste that I haven't found anywhere else. The tzatziki sauce on top of the meat, together with the lettuce, tomatoes and pita bread, just made it all come together.
My version however, is obviously meat-free but I truly did not feel like I was missing out on anything. Back when I was a meat eater, my teenage son and I used to frequent the food trucks after each orthodontic appointment to get the lamb gyros. FYI- He likes the vegan gyro version as well. I was happy to share it with him because all the vegan tzatziki sauce recipes I found were made with some sort of tree nut which he can't have. The tzatziki sauce I made has no nuts and is just as tasty as the original version that is made with dairy yogurt. You can check out the nut free tzatziki sauce here.
To give you a sense of the texture needed to make the patties. See the photo below.
The meat for this vegan gyro is made of chickpeas ( a basic falafel) and doesn't take that long despite the fact that the original recipe required dry chickpeas (I used canned chickpeas). The trick is to dry everything before mixing them together. For instance, I drained the chickpeas in a colander and used paper towels to dry them as much as I could. I also dried the onions or rather squeezed them through some paper towels (don't judge) to remove excess water. I was really trying to cut down on time. Of course, you can always throw a little flour (1tbps or 2) in the mix to dry things up but my version had just the right consistency after just using the paper towels.
I hope you enjoy this vegan gyro and of course, let me know if you try it.
Recipe adapted from Tori Avey
Feeds: 2-3 small humans
- 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 tbsp garlic, minced
- ½ large white onion chopped small
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp each salt or to taste
- Optional: 3-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3-4 Tbsp (45 - 60 ml) grape seed oil for cooking
- vegan bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
- Tzatziki sauce for serving
- Drain chickpeas in a colander and pat dry with paper towels as much as you can without crushing peas. You also want to chop your onions and squeeze through some paper towels. The other option would be to use flour later on if you don’t want to do this part.
- Add chickpeas, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt, and coriander (if using) to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to combine. Mixture should be crumbly. Test consistency by scooping out with your hands a small amount to form a ball. If it sticks together to form a ball then you’re ready. If not, add a tbsp of flour and pulse again. Add tbsp or 2 more if needed.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to stiffen it up enough for frying in pan. My first attempt, I waited 30 minutes.
- Once they’re out of the fridge, you can form them into small palm sized patties or make narrow versions like mine.
- Once patties are formed, press them into a little of the bread crumbs on both sides to get that golden outer crust.
- Add grapeseed oil in a large skillet, enough to coat the pan or chickpeas will stick to it.
- Once the oil is hot, add about 4 patties to pan. You don’t want to crowd the pan to much.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, flipping when each side is golden brown.
- Serve immediately with nut free tzatziki sauce inside a warmed pita with lettuce, tomatoes (I used fresh store bought salsa).