Apr 18, 2011



Having lived in Chicago fifteen years ago and having worked in almost a dozen Greek restaurants, I am very familiar with the Gyro. Interestingly, having been back here for over a year now, I've yet to rediscover those familiar Greek  joints - not that I could eat at them anymore, but still, where have they gone?

Gyro is basically a bunch of meat skewered onto a vertical spit and roasted as it turns. The meat is sliced off in pieces, put on a pita with tomatoes, onions and tzaziki sauce. And please do not pronounce it as the orientation-stabilizing device, for it is not. It is not a hero, either.
It is: year-o.   

For the meat I used the Firm Seitan, but I have had delicious luck with using Tender Seitan. The seitan is cooked as a roast, is then sliced thin and marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano and rosemary. Before you throw it into a pita, saute the pieces until some of it gets a little crisp.

The tzaziki sauce is soy yogurt with shredded and drained cucumbers (so your sauce isn't too thin), garlic, lemon juice, oregano and a little olive oil.

This is so worth making every time! My family loves it and if any of my old Greek bosses could taste it, they'd love it, too.

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $4
pita: $3
olive oil, lemon, herbs: $2
yogurt: $1
tomato, onion: $1.50
Total to make 7 servings:


  1. That picture is very yummy looking!
    So it sounds like it's a relative of the middle easter Shawama?

  2. Thanks, Tami!

    In2insight, it is from the same general area and I have read that, yes, they should be related. This actually gets more complicated:

    Gyro: can be forcemeat (where the different kinds of meat are minced together and then pressed)
    Shwarma: can be meat layered on a spit

    Gyro: can be the sandwich itself while...
    Shwarma: is the meat itself

    Gyro: marinade is with oregano and lots of garlic
    Shwarma: less garlic, more warming spices

    Gyro: toppings - yogurt sauce
    Shwarma: toppings - hummus or other acidic/garlic sauce

    Gyro: Greek
    Shwarma: more Fertile Crescent area

    So, lots of controversy and debate.

    In my mind, I go with the regional explanation which leads very nicely into the spices reasoning as well as the differences in the toppings.

    See 'Herbivore MOFO' link on the right for the Shwarma recipe that I love.

  3. How awesome! I used to love gyros. The thought of eating lamb however always poked at me so I couldn't fully enjoy them. Thanks for this yummy alternative!!!

  4. Chicago was the first place I ever saw gyros. Never had a chance to try them because I was already vegetarian. Love that your version gives me a chance.

  5. Eat in peace Gwen and Tender Branson!

  6. This was garlicky devine!
    Followed your recipe to the tee and it got the "thumbs up, make again" from the meat eater. (I LOVED it)
    Will be making your Shwarma again next.

  7. Super awesome, in2insight! I am so glad you loved it since we love it so much here!!

  8. I just had a vegan gyro at The Chicago Diner (my first gyro ever!) and it was so good, I have to try this now!

  9. I just had their Gyro as well. They do a wonderful seitan. I am hard at work replicating their secret :)


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