Equal parts spectacle and street food, gyros are impossible to ignore. Spinning on a spit like a wind-up ballerina, glistening from the heat of an open flame, you may smell it before you see it, but the sight is positively mesmerizing.
The name itself comes from the Greek word meaning “turn” or “circle,” referring to this unique cooking method of continuous motion. Around and around it goes, edges caramelizing and crisping with each revolution. Periodically, as orders flow in, the pit master skillfully shaves paper-thin slices from the kebab, exposing the more tender meat within, beginning the process anew.
Make It Meatless
Before my fellow vegan and vegetarian friends recoil in horror, fear not: You can enjoy those same rich, highly seasoned prime cuts at home, without the meat, rotating spit, or perilous open flame.
Mushrooms Over Meat
Traditionally made from lamb, beef, chicken, or even pork, it’s a clear case where the actual protein in question is far less important than the herbs and spices involved. Especially when you layer in fresh vegetables and creamy tzaziki for serving, the entree could be made of pretty much anything. Enter: Sugimoto koshin shiitake mushrooms.
Renowned for their intense umami flavor, these mushrooms add a depth of taste to the gyro that’s hard to beat. Drying the shiitake mushrooms concentrates their flavor, resulting in a rich, savory, and remarkably meaty taste and texture. Koshin in particular are ideal for this application since they’re broad and flat, just like the delicate shavings of fresh gyro meat.
Serving Suggestions: Be Your Own Gyro
The beauty of the gyro lies in its versatility. Keep it simple or go all out; you won’t be disappointed even if you just go to town as is, no garnishes or accompaniments required.
- Classic Greek Style: Layer the seasoned, air fried shiitake mushrooms in warm pita bread, accompanied by crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, sliced onions, and a generous drizzle of tangy tzatziki sauce. It’s a classic for a reason!
- Gyro Bowl: Create a wholesome gyro bowl by arranging a bed of fluffy quinoa, rice, or couscous, topped with the shiitake mushrooms, cucumber ribbons, pickled red onions, and a dollop of hummus. A squeeze of lemon adds the perfect finishing touch.
- Mediterranean Wrap: Swap the pita for a whole wheat tortilla or lavash and fill it with your favorite gyro ingredients, along with some roasted red peppers and olives for contrast.
- Gryo Hummus: Layer tender shiitake gyro on top of creamy hummus and serve with pita chips or cut veggie crudites for an instant party starter.
With its roots firmly planted in the Middle East, the protein in question has historically been halal, but that’s not always the case anymore. For the concerned eater, swapping the mystery meat for shiitake mushrooms is a foolproof approach to ensure you’re avoiding a meal that’s accidentally haram.
What’s more, Sugimoto shiitake in particular are certified kosher AND organic on top of that. When serving a diverse range of discerning eaters, it’s the ace up your sleeve for an incredible meal that everyone can enjoy.
Indulge your senses with plant-based gyros, made effortless in an air fryer for your busiest weeknights or more elaborate celebrations. They are, quite frankly, a vegan masterpiece, celebrating the rich history of the Greek gyros while showcasing the incredible flavor of shiitake mushrooms.
Shiitake Gyro Meat:
- 1.5 Ounces Dried Koshin Shiitake Mushrooms, Soaked Overnight
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Spicy Ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 - 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Marjoram
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Cucumbers
- 1/2 Cup Plain, Unsweetened Vegan Yogurt
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Dried or 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Pita Bread or 4 Cups Cooked Whole Grains
- 1 Cup Shredded Lettuce
- 1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Sliced Cucumbers
- 1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Red Onions
- Once rehydrated, drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze out any excess water. Remove the stems and slice the caps into thin strips.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the marinade, tossing to coated. Allow them to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to infuse.
- Transfer the marinated mushrooms to an air fryer sheet lined with foil, spreading them out in an even layer. Air fry at 370 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes, until crispy around the edges.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tzatziki by simply mixing together all the ingredients in a small bowl, adding more or less lemon juice to taste. Keep chilled until ready to use.
- To assemble the meal, warm the pita bread, if using, for a few seconds in the microwave, until they're pliable. Lay out each pita bread, or divide your cooked grains of choice between four bowls, and place a generous amount of shredded lettuce, cucumbers, diced tomatoes, and red onions in the center. Top the vegetables with a generous helping of the hot mushroom gyros.
- Drizzle generously with tzatziki and enjoy right away.
Alternately, you can bake the shiitake gyros in a conventonal oven preheated to 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, or by pan-frying over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 770Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 2370mgCarbohydrates: 141gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 26g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.