Traditional gyro is cooked on a vertical spit, and thin slices are shaved off and served on pita bread with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki. Growing up in Greece, I had my fair share of gyro and souvlaki as a child. Going vegan does not mean I never get to eat gyro again. This, even better, and definitely healthier vegan gyro, is made with seitan, and is incredibly similar in taste and texture to the traditional recipe.
Seitan is made with Vital Wheat Gluten flour, spices and seasonings, that are kneaded and cooked, very similar to how bread is made. In general, when making a plant based dish taste like its meat based counterpart, the secret is all in the spices and flavorings. Seitan already has a chewy, “meaty” texture, thanks to the gluten in the flour, and adding all the traditional gyro spices makes this vegan gyro almost indistinguishable from the traditional.
The most important step in making seitan is to knead the dough long enough to activate the gluten in the flour. If not enough gluten is developed, the final product will be gummy (similar to the texture of gummy bears) rather than chewy and “meaty”. (Click the button above to learn more about vital wheat gluten flour and seitan)
Seitan can expand quite a bit during cooking. If allowed to expand too much, the texture can become spongy. To avoid this from happening, it’s usually a good idea to wrap the raw dough before cooking it. Seitan can be tightly wrapped in cheesecloth, parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Making seitan in an Instant pot keeps it from drying out, and cuts the cooking time almost in half. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can place the wrapped seitan in a steamer basket and steam it for 1 and 1/2 hours instead.
Making the Gyro
Traditional gyro spices include oregano, thyme, rosemary, onions, garlic, salt & pepper. All these spices are added to the seitan dough. Once it’s cooked, the seitan meat can be sliced thinly, just like gyro, and lightly crisped in a bit of olive oil.
* A Za’atar spice mix is a quick and easy solution to buying all the individual spices.
The “gyro” is served on fluffy pita, with fresh tomato and onion slices, greens, and topped with garlicky tzatziki. Many gyro recipes include fries in the wrap. That’s not traditional, so I serve fries on the side, but if you like them in the pita, go for it!
- 2¾ cups Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
- 6 oz tofu
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms also called Baby Bella
- 1½ cups vegetable stock or vegan chicken stock
- 1 tbs tahini paste
- 3 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper optional
For the wrap
- 4 pitas
- 1 piece seitan gyro sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tomato sliced
- ½ onion thinly sliced
- 2 cups lettuce I used a baby greens mix
- lemon wedges for squeezing over the gyro
- fresh dill for garnishing the wraps
For the Seitan Gyro
- Place the vital wheat gluten flour in the bowl of your stand mixer. Set aside.
- Place all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour and knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes. The dough should form a smooth and relatively stiff ball.
- Divide the ball of dough into two equal pieces and wrap each piece tightly with some parchment paper, foil or cheesecloth.
- Place the steaming basket or trivet in your Instant Pot, and add enough water to come just up to the trivet. Place the wrapped seitan in the Instant Pot and cook on high for 1 hour.If you don't have an Instant Pot, simply place some water in a stock pot, place a steamer basket on the bottom, cover, and steam the wrapped seitan for 1½ hours.
- Allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes, then open the vent to release remaining pressure.
- Carefully remove the seitan and let it cool. The more the seitan cools the firmer it will get.
For the wrap:
- You will only need one of the seitan pieces for these wraps. You can freeze the remaining piece, either whole or sliced.
- Thinly slice the seitan gyro.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and cook the sliced gyro for about 1 minute per side. It does not need to cook for very long or it will get too crunchy.Sprinkle with some thyme and oregano, and salt & pepper to taste.Drizzle with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Place some greens, tomato slices, onion, and gyro slices in each of the pitas. Top with some tzatziki sauce and serve.