Absorb yourself in a bit of Greek culture when you serve these Vegan Gyros. Opa! This recipe consists of fluffy pita bread, filled with spiced, meaty mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Finish it off with a desirable, garlicky, homemade Tzatziki sauce, and you’ll have a tough time sharing.
I’m just here to tell you that it’s ok if you fall madly in love with food. Especially when it’s healthier, fresh, and cruelty free. It’s important you know this before diving into the best vegan gyros you’ve ever had.
What is Gyros?
Technically, it should be, “What are gyros?” A taco-like meal that’s made using seasoned meat, wrapped in a piece of pita bread, and topped with tzatziki sauce. You’ll often find that the meat is slow roasted on a vertical rotisserie. This is shown on TV and in the movies quite often. For smaller portions, it’s simply roasted in a pan, like this recipe.
Traditionally gyro recipes involve meats such as lamb, chicken, cow, or pigs, who to be quite frank, died screaming. However there’s no need for that type of violence friends, so we’re using good for you oyster mushrooms as a cruelty-free meat substitute. Much like my Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon, or Vegan Scallops.
Vegan Gyros Seasoning Mix Ingredients
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Cloves
- Chili Powder
In my opinion, it’s always best to make it yourself. It’s a classic recipe of spices you probably have in your pantry, which you can adjust to taste. To me the cumin can be very overpowering in a store-bought mix, so I am very conservative with it here.
It’s important that you taste a little bit of all the other milder spices. It’s what makes the dish magical, instead of tasting just like a big bite of cumin. The thing is, you can always add more if desired, but you can’t take it out. The last thing you want is for your gyros to taste like tacos because these aren’t tacos. This is a nice mix to always have handy in a spice jar in the drawer.
The Vegan Gyro Meat
Ok, guys, this vegan meat is just oyster mushrooms. You can use shredded King Oysters here or the more common oyster mushroom mix. You’ll shred them into thin strips and go to town with the seasoning mix.
The Caramelized Onions
Definitely don’t skip the onions. They make for a magical combination when mixed together with the oyster mushroom strips. I’ll argue that they’re a large part of why these are the best damn vegan gyros ever. Also if you make a skillet full you’ll have a nice topping to go on your next pizza dough or as a base for a fancy heirloom tomato tart.
The Tzatziki Sauce
You wouldn’t have a gyro without tzatziki. It’s a Greek yogurt based sauce, spiced up with lots of garlic and cucumber. Make a full batch and use it to dip veggies in for the rest of the week or just make more gyros. You can use my Vegan Tzatziki Sauce!
How to Make Vegan Gyros from Scratch?
- Saute – Caramelize the onions with a little bit of sugar. Set aside. Shred the mushrooms and add those to the pan, along with the wine and thyme.
- Season – Mix the seasoning and add it to the gyro meat.
- Assemble – Roll your pita bread and fill with the spiced mushroom meat and all the additions you choose. Enjoy!
- Swap out the mushrooms – Instead of oyster mushrooms, you could use young, unripe jackfruit, tempeh, or seitan. Actually, our Vegan Ribs, minus the BBQ sauce, would work amazing as gyro meat.
- Make it spicy – You can add a bit of crushed red pepper either to the mushroom mixture or the tzatziki sauce to give it a kick.
- No pita, no problem – whip up a quick batch of our potato flatbread instead, it’s divine.
- 4 Flatbreads (Pita Bread)
- Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 Cucumber, sliced
- 1 Large Tomato
- Red Onion or Scallions
- Fresh Dill or Microgreens
- French Fries
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Baba Ganoush
- Hummus, anyone?
- Is there a substitute for the white wine? – You bet! I often swap out a splash of lemon juice in place of the white wine. It works wonders, but will definitely add a touch of lemon flavor.
- What can I substitute for the sugar? – I often swap out the sugar for agave, date syrup, or maple syrup. All of them do a delicious job of adding that hint of sweetness and mostly speeding up the caramelization process. You could just omit it entirely and cook the onions longer, they will release all their natural sugars and caramelize beautifully, albeit taking a little longer.
- Can I broil “gyro meat”? – Yes, you definitely can, and I strongly recommend it. Simply place the gyro meat onto a pan (after sauteeing), spray with olive oil, and broil for a few minutes or until crispy to your liking.
- What part of the thyme do I use? – When it comes to thyme, you can usually use the entire thing. However, for this recipe, it’s best to stick with just the leaves so you don’t need to fish out the sprigs.
Vegan Dinner Recipes
- Vegan Ramen Bowl
- Vegan Fried Chicken
- Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Mushroom Farro Risotto
- Potato Pizza
- 1 onion sliced
- 1/2 tbsp sugar maple syrup, agave or date syrup (Optional)
- 8 oz oyster mushrooms the gyro meat
- 1 splash white wine or a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
Gyros Seasoning Mix
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
- 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 4 Flatbreads (Pita Bread), Vegan Tzatziki Sauce, Sliced Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion or Scallions, Fresh Dill, Fries, Hummus etc...
Make the Spice Mix:
- In a small bowl whisk together all the gyros spices until combined. Store in a spice jar until needed.
Caramelize the Onion:
- Heat up a medium heavy bottom pan and cook the onion in a light drizzle of olive oil with a pinch of salt until translucent. Stir in the sugar and cover with a lid. Cook on medium low heat until nicely caramelized, checking and stirring often taking care not to burn it. Once caramelized transfer to a bowl and reserve. (You can omit the sugar of course but it helps speed up the caramelization process).
Prepare the Gyro Filling:
- Meanwhile shred the oyster mushrooms into thin strips and add them to the skillet you cooked the onions in. Turn the heat up and add a splash of white wine or a squeeze of lemon. Stir in the fresh thyme and cook together until the mushrooms are wilted.
- Stir in 3 teaspoons of the Gyro seasoning mix and continue cooking until all the moisture has evaporated stirring often so the spices don’t burn. Taste and season with sea salt and more of the spice mix to your taste.
- Optional but suggested: transfer the mushroom filling to a broiler proof dish, give it a quick spray of olive oil and broil for a few minutes until the edges crisp up. Remove from heat and mix in the caramelized onions.
- Preheat your pita breads in the microwave, under the broiler or in a dry skillet.
- Use your hand to fold the pita into a cone and wrap some butcher paper around its bottom. Secure with kitchen twine.
- Fill your pita cone with the vegan “ Gyros meat”, a few slices of cucumber, tomato and a generous drizzle of vegan Tzatziki sauce. Garnish with fresh dill and red onions if desired.
- The Tzatziki Sauce: You wouldn’t have a gyro without tzatziki. It’s a Greek yogurt based sauce, spiced up with lots of garlic and cucumber. Make a full batch and use it to dip veggies in for the rest of the week or just make more gyros. You can use my Vegan Tzatziki Sauce!
- Gyros Variations:
- Swap out the mushrooms - Instead of oyster mushrooms, you could use young, unripe jackfruit, tempeh, or seitan. Actually, our Vegan Ribs, minus the BBQ sauce, would work amazing as gyro meat.
- Use my Potato Flatbread instead of Pita - Don't have pita bread on hand? No problemo, just whip up a quick batch of these vegan potato flatbreads instead.