Vegan gyros

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I was lucky enough to grow up in Greece and I absolutely LOVE Greek food.  When we lived there we’d head to a gyros stall at the bus station once a month or so for a quick and cheap meal, which they’d wrap up in paper and we’d eat sitting on the edge of the harbour looking out to sea.  Childhood food bliss!

A gyros is typically meat cooked on a spit and then popped into a pita bread with salad, chips and tzatziki.  Since going veggie, then vegan I’ve occasionally had cravings for a cruelty-free version and here it is….

This is definitely more of an assembly job than an actual recipe as such.

You’ll need the following:

  • Pita bread or flatbread
  • Chips
  • Salad
  • Tzatziki
  • Meat-substitute pan-fried with olive oil, oregano, paprika, garlic, lemon juice. cracked black pepper and sea salt

The pita breads that you can buy in most UK supermarkets are nothing like the ones you get in Greece. The closest I could find were actually Italian flatbreads by Crosta & Mollica, available from Waitrose.  You just pop them in a hot dry frying pan for 1 minute each side before using.

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I made a simple salad with cucumber, cherry vine tomatoes and red onions (all organic) drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano.

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I made the tzatziki using soya yoghurt, grated cucumber, sliced garlic and a pinch of salt.  The yoghurt I tend to use for cooking is one by Sojade, made in Brittany and sold by Abel and Cole.  It’s GM-free, organic and is one of the only ones I’ve found in the UK that’s unsweetened and so is ideal for using in savoury recipes.

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The meat-alternative I used is one that I bought at Vegfest recently.  It’s made by an Italian company called Muscolo di Grano, which they sell online and is scarily realistic!  I marinated it first in olive oil, dried oregano, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and salt, which I then just shallow-fried in a pan.

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Chips – if you’re feeling that you have the time and energy then by all means make your own but this time I cheated and used oven chips.

Wrap all the ingredients up in the flatbread, sit back, enjoy and dream of sitting by the Med on a balmy Greek summer’s evening….

Tempura vegetables

 

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OK, so this may not be the healthiest way to consume your veggies but as a one-off it’s REALLY tasty!  When I first made these I did so as a starter, which in hindsight was a bit of a mistake as everyone was too full to eat the rest of the dinner!  Now I like to cook up a big batch, serve with a couple of dipping sauces and a great movie!

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

  • Big pile of chopped up veggies – I used carrots, broccoli, peppers, baby sweetcorn and onion but you can pretty much use whatever you have in the kitchen
  • Pan with enough vegetable oil to cover the veggies (I cook mine in batches so as not to use too much oil but if you have a deep-fat fryer then you can do them all at once)

For the batter:

  • Cup of plain flour
  • Teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
  • Sparkling water – add to create the constancy you need (see below)
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Mix the batter mix in a big bowl – the consistency should be liquid but thick enough to stick to the veggies.
  2. Heat the oil up in the pan – it needs to be pretty hot so the veggies don’t absorb too much oil and go soggy but not so hot that it’s smoking
  3. Add the batter mixture-covered veggies a few at a time and fry until the batter is a pale golden colour
  4. Place the cooked tempura on a few sheets of kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil
  5. Serve with dipping sauces and enjoy!

Note: If I’m feeling lazy then I’ll just serve the tempura with ready-made sweet chilli or hoisin sauce for dipping but often I’ll make up my own, which is super-quick and easy:

  • Approx 3/4 soy sauce to 1/4 Chinese cooking wine
  • Chopped fresh garlic
  • Chopped fresh ginger
  • Chopped red chilli (with or without the seeds depending on how hot you like it)
  • Small squeeze of agave syrup for a hint of sweetness

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