I want to preface this post by letting you know that my browser’s spellcheck wants to replace “tzatziki” with “Kazantzakis” as in the author of Zorba the Greek.

Since I have been experimenting with vegan(ism?) for awhile (okay fine, it was a dare), I have been really craving a few things; buffalo wings, and gyros. The worst thing is that people are always eating buffalo wings at the bars I go to, and people are always eating gyros at the Mediterranean places I eat. So I have the good fortune of being constantly exposed to what I really want to eat, but cannot.

 

Tzatziki Recipe

You’ll want to start the tzatziki first, because it needs to sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  This is adapted from a combination of a dozen or so tzatziki recipes that I found online.

  • 16 oz (2 cups)  soy yogurt (unflavored)
  • lemon juice (1 1/2 Tbsp) (or 1/2 lemon)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste (15 grinds salt, 6 grinds pepper)
  • Dill weed (1/4 cup fresh, or 4 tsp dried)
  • olive oil (2 tsp)

I’m not sure if the olive oil is strictly necessary, but I added it anyway. I have also heard a suggestion to replace salt with celery salt, which is much stronger, but would probably taste pretty good.

Mix these ingredients well, I used an immersion blender for this. After blending, add the cucumber and again mix well.

  • cucumber (~1 1/3 cup,  finely diced, deseeded)

Once again, I’m uncertain whether deseeding is really necessary, and I only deseeded half of  my cucumber. This came from one fairly long cucumber, but I assume two normal sized cucumbers would work just as well.

If you don’t know how to dice a cucumber, you cut it in half lengthwise (at this point you can de-seed with a spoon), then cut it into long thin strips, line all the strips up, and go to town without chopping off your fingertips.

Thats all! refrigerate at least one hour to let the flavors mix.

 

Gyro Meat

Now Gyro is typically a mixture of lamb, beef, and spices (you get three guesses to figure out how many of those are vegan!). So, I replaced the meat with yves Meatless ground ( veg/vegan/kosher:parve ground beef replacement containing wheat & soy), and combined some spice recipes for meat gyro. This stuff smells horrible when you open the package, but actually tastes pretty good.

  • 1 package Yves Meatless Ground (12oz approxeq 1lb “meat”)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper

Mix all that stuff together in a bowl, and prepare to get really frustrated. The yves has a weird consistency since it has soybeans in it, but gyro meat is mashed really finely. What you’ll want to do is put the mixture  on the counter, cover it with wax paper, and smash it for about ten minutes. I ended up taking a rolling pin and rolling the whole thing really flat, then banging on it with the pin to try to crush it.

After the consistency is better, but still nowhere near where it needs to be, mould the whole thing into a really thin, flat layer (or a few), and cook on the stove on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side.  I at first tried making it into a log, cooking, and slicing (as you would with regular gyro meat), but this does not stick together well enough, so cooking it in patties the size you want to eat works well and sticks it together.  (If anybody has an idea for something to ass that would stick it otherwise, please let me know. I would say 1 egg, but thats not vegan…)

 

Put one of the “meat” patties on a pita bread with diced tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, and scoop some tzatziki on it! I know I’ve already said this, but it was the best food I’ve had since the last time I ate buffalo wings.