Vegan Greek souvlaki with tzatziki! That's right, vegan souvlaki! We'll say it again, it's VEGAN!
The origin of "gyros" is in Asia Minor where was called "Doner Kebab" (döner kebab). After the Asia Minor disaster in 1922, people from Asia Minor settled in various areas of Greece where some of them started out doner kebab shops.
Over time, variations were made on the way it was prepared, on the ingredients that accompanied it, but also the way it was served. That's how the now-famous wrapped pita with gyros and tzatziki (the Greek souvlaki we all know) was created. During this process the doner kebab was renamed to "gyros", which in Greek means "around", taking its name from the skewer it was placed on, which was spinning round and round in order to be cooked.
Τhe gyros restaurants ("souvlatzidika") are now widespread and popular all over the world and especially in the US, Australia, Canada, and Germany.
With this Greek souvlaki recipe, we hope to show you how delicious and nutritious plant-based gyros can be. But mostly, we hope to encourage you to prefer it to the one made from meat, saving so some innocent animals.
In this recipe, we use pure ingredients and the result is awesome! Not just our words. All of our friends who tasted it say so! Vegans and non-vegans!
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Greek traditional souvlaki with mushrooms gyros and vegan tzatziki
For the mushrooms gyros
- 500 g / 17.6 oz oyster mushrooms shredded in strips
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp red vinegar
- 1 tsp thyme dried
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp curry
- ½ tsp ground white pepper (or black)
- 1 tsp ginger powder (optional for a more spicy effect)
- ½ tsp ground dried cayenne pepper (optional for a more spicy effect)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste (optional, for a fuller flavor)
- 7 pita bread for souvlaki or sandwich buns
- 1 portion vegan tzatziki (tahini-based recipe here) (1½ Tbsp per pita bread or bun)
- 2 potatoes cut into wedges and then strips, and fry them to use for garnishing
- 2 medium tomatoes sliced and then cut in half
- 1 onion sliced and then cut in half
- 5 bay of lettuce cut into thin strips
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- salt (optional)
- Put all the ingredients for the gyros in a bowl and mix well. Using your hands you can mix them perfectly, but using two spoons will also do the trick.
- Optionally allow them to marinate for 20 minutes. That's how all the aromas of the spices mingle together, but they're also absorbed by the mushrooms. If you're in a hurry, you may skip the marinade step as it is not necessary. The result will still be amazing!
- Heat a pan over high heat. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté half the mushrooms (not all of them at once because they will boil), stirring constantly. Once dried and turned dark brown remove them from the pan. Be careful not to overcook them and burn them. Repeat the same process with the rest of the mushrooms.
- Once we take out the last dose of mushrooms, pour, while still hot, into the bowl the oregano and thyme and mix. So the herbs will give off all their aroma.
1. In a pita bread
- Heat the souvlaki pita in a pan over medium heat.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper or tin foil about twice the size of the pita. Place the pita on the parchment paper leaving almost ⅓ of the pita sticking out of it from the top.
Put the following ingredients in the pita in the following order:
- Mushrooms gyros
- Onion with parsley
- Sweet paprika
- Wrap the pita with the parchment paper tightly. To do that, tighten the pita as a funnel (thin down and wider on top). Wrap tight enough, trying not to "break" the pita. Wrap all the parchment paper around the pita. Finally, tightly twist the bottom of the parchment paper that is sticking out and gently push it into the bottom of the pita to secure it.
2. As a main course
- Use the same ingredients mentioned for the wrapped pita but place them on a large shallow plate.
- Place the pita in the middle of the plate, cut into quarters, and then add the gyros. Garnish with french fries, tzatziki, tomato and onion with parsley. Finally, sprinkle with some sweet paprika.
- Alternatively, spread the tzatziki on top of the pita and then add gyros on top.
3. In a sandwich
- You will need the same ingredients mentioned for the wrapped pita, but instead of pita use sandwich buns.
- Cut the bun in half, horizontally, (you may warm it up a bit if you like) and spread some tzatziki on both pieces.
- At the bottom half bun, consecutively, and with the sequence mentioned above for the wrapped pita, place all the ingredients. Finally, place the other half bun on top.
- Serve it wrapped in parchment paper or tin foil. Alternatively you can serve it "open" on a plate.
- Make sure the pie is cooked slowly so that it remains soft so that it does not break during wrapping.
- The extra salt is not necessary as the round has soy sauce, but also several spices and herbs. If you want, however, you can add a little to the potatoes and vegetables before serving.
- You can also serve the wrapped pies with french fries as an accompaniment.
- They go well with vegan village salad or vegan Cretan dakos salad.