Mystery Meat: Mushroom Gyros
When I was working up this recipe, Bruce told me a story that happened many years ago while patronizing the grease trucks at Rutgers University. One of the trucks was selling Gyros, a Greek sandwich made with some type of ground meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and Tzatziki sauce wrapped in a pita. He asked what kind of meat they used on the gyros and, to the chef’s dismay, another student waiting on line replied, “It’s a mystery, nobody knows.” If you’ve ever had a gyro before you’re probably familiar with the greasy slab of animal by-products revolving ever so slowly on a rotisserie. Even though I threw back a few Gyros in my younger days, that meat is still a mystery to me. I wanted to use up some more of that box of portabellas from last week and thought I could make a mushroom mystery meat substitute to use for my Gyros. I started the “mystery” part of the recipe the day before by making a mushroom-chickpea loaf seasoned with marjoram and rosemary. If you can’t find marjoram in the store, you can purchase it at Penzeys. It’s definitely a nice addition to your spice rack and this recipe. You can substitute oregano or thyme if you don’t have it. The next step was to make the Tzatziki sauce, which is a blend of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and red wine vinegar. I found a soy yogurt recipe in The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook that’s made with cashews, soy milk and vegan yogurt starter, but feel free to use whatever yogurt you can get your hands on. When you’re ready to assemble the Gyros, warm up a few pocket-less pitas, layer on lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sliced mushroom loaf and pour on the Tzatziki. It’s no mystery to me: these Mushroom Gyros are filled with all that is good. Make yourself a Mushroom Gyro and make it a Vegi-curious day!
Makes 6 to 8 wraps
- Olive oil (optional)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped (portabellas or cremini recommended)
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoons dried ground rosemary
- 1 can chick peas, drained
- 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon No Chicken or No Beef Base
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worstershire or Soy sauce
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)
- Pocket-less pita bread
- Sliced tomatoes and onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch loaf pan with oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
Lightly coat non-stick skillet with olive oil. Saute onion until lightly browned. (You can saute onion in water by adding 2 tablespoons of water at a time to prevent sticking.) Add mushrooms and continue to cook until brown and most of the liquid has cooked out of them. Add marjoram, rosemary, soup base, Worstershire or soy sauce, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and place in food processor along with chick peas. Process until a chunky paste is formed. Press into prepared loaf pan and bake until firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool overnight before slicing.
In small bowl, stir together:
- 16 ounces plain, non-dairy yogurt
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
- Salt to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
To assemble Gyros:
Place pita bread on piece of aluminum foil. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushroom gyro slices and Tzatziki sauce. Roll up forming a conical-shaped wrap and secure with aluminum foil.