Growing up in Iowa, I rarely had access to Greek food. However, once a year our town’s Greek Orthodox church would have a big greek festival with traditional music and food. Every year I would get sticky with some Baklava, get oily with some stuffed grape leaves and always get messy with some tzatziki filled gyros. Unfortunately, in those days I preferred the taste of our animals friends. I remember trying my first gyro. In someways it changed my life because I tended to only eat cold cut sandwiches from Subway and hadn’t tried real cultural food before. But I digress. Let’s not talk about the dark days and talk about the vegan gyros lit days.
While staying in Athens, Greece, my boyfriend and I discovered the wonderful world of packaged vegan gyros meat. Even though, this “meat” resembles the texture of dog food, don’t be fooled. This soy and seitan based meat is smothered with spices like rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
The great thing about living in Athens (besides the weather, view, cost of living, etc) is the abundance of vegan friendly bakeries. If you’ve got to get your carb on just walk down the street and I’ll put my bottom euro on it that you’ll stumble across a bakery. We snagged this pita bread at our favorite grocery store’s bakery. And if the picture doesn’t do it justice, those pitas were as soft and cushiony as your memory form mattress!
Our epic “Big Fat Greek Vegan Gyros” were composed of the freshest and most vibrant local veggies. Besides the vegan meat, pita, and soy yogurt (for the tzatziki), all of our ingredients were sourced by local farms around Athens. Twice a week, we had access to a local farmer’s market. To be honest, Athens’ markets puts Los Angeles farmer’s markets to shame.
I don’t want to play favorites but the real star of the show was our homemade vegan tzatziki. What makes ours so special? Easy, the taste. No, really I have no clue why anyone would desire the traditional dairy stuff. Our is entirely dairy-free and made with love! Besides, ours is filled with fresh ingredients like lemon, dill, and cucumber!
1 cup soy yogurt
1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
a pinch of salt
1 package of vegan gyros meat
4 pita bread
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
a few leaves of lettuce (optional)
1. For the tzatziki sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together.
2. Wash and slice tomato and onion and place to the side.
3. Heat gyro meat according to the directions on the package. For us, we used no oil and heated in a pan for 3-4 minutes.
4. Warm up the pita bread in the oven for about 2 minutes. This can make your pita bread softer and easier to bend. Besides, who doesn’t love warm bread?
5. Place gyro meat on pita bread, add tomatoes, onions, and top off with the tzatziki sauce!
6. Do I really have to tell you to enjoy it?
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