A lot of people seem to be under the impression that being a vegetarian is totally restrictive and boring and all about the things you can’t eat. Untrue! Eating meatless opens up so many possibilities that I never think about the things I don’t eat. For example: gyros. If you’re having standard gyros, your possibilities are meat and meat. You are bound by tradition. I am bound by nothing. There are no bounds! So I made gyros with grilled vegetables.
“But Wikipedia says that a gyro is a Greek dish of meat roasted on a vertical spit.”
I don’t care! Wikipedia isn’t the boss of me!
I mean, I guess I could have roasted some tofu on a vertical spit. That would be weird, but I could do it. But as long as I’m getting rid of the meat in the recipe, I might as well get rid of the cooking method too. Let’s throw out the baby and the bathwater. But maybe instead of throwing the baby, we could gently move the baby and then pour out the bathwater. That’s probably better.
Before grilling the veggies, I marinated them in a tangy lemon-olive oil sauce. The veggies will soak up the sauce pretty quickly, so you can heat up your grill while they’re marinating. I use an indoor grill that has ridges on it instead of grates so I don’t have to worry about the veggies falling through, but if you’re using an outdoor grill, you’ll want to use a vegetable basket. They’ll only take a few minutes to cook, although the exact time will vary depending on the type of grill you use.
I like to throw the pita bread on the grill after the veggies are done to warm it up a little bit so it’s easily bendable. Pile the veggies on the bread, then top it with chopped tomatoes and romaine lettuce, and a drizzle of tzatziki or Creamy Cucumber Dill Sauce. Don’t forget to wrap the bottom half of your Grilled Veggie Gyros with foil for that authentic restaurant style experience—and also because these gyros are a little bit messy. At least they have that in common with the original!
This post was originally published on April 23, 2014.
A vegetarian version of gyros made with grilled mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and onions.
- 1/4 cup light olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 portabella mushrooms, stemmed and sliced into thick strips
- 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 large zucchini, cut into half crosswise and sliced into thick strips
- 1 red onion, cut into thick half moons
- 4 pocketless pitas or flatbread, warmed
- Chopped tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and Creamy Cucumber Dill Sauce for serving
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a large baking dish. Place the vegetables in the dish and toss them with the marinade to coat. Let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Heat an indoor grill to high or sear. Put the veggies on the grill in a single layer (you might have to do them in 2 batches, depending on the size of your grill). Cook them for 5-7 minutes, until just beginning to char, then flip them over and cook them on the other side until they're lightly charred and tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Divide the veggies onto the pita bread and top them with tomatoes, lettuce, and Creamy Cucumber Dill Sauce. Fold the bread over and wrap the bottom half tightly with foil.
If you don't have an indoor grill, you can use a grill pan or an outdoor grill for the veggies. If you're using an outdoor grill, use a basket so the veggies don't fall through the grates!
- 1 cup diced peeled cucumber
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2-4 hours
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- Salt to taste
- Combine the cucumber, cashews, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time—the sauce should have the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. Stir the dill into the sauce and season with salt to taste.