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.