Get the Vegetarian Gyro Nutrition Facts and Make a Tasty Meal

What’s a Gyro?

A gyro is traditionally a meat-based meal in a wrap. Created by the Greeks, the meat used is cut length wise and then cooked on a vertical spit. The main meats used are pork or lamb but other meats have been substituted and then cooked the same way.

Beside the use of the vertical spit, the other key to making a gyro what it is lies within the spice mix. The traditional spice mix includes salt, sweet paprika, hot paprika, black pepper, white pepper, oregano, garlic powder and parsley. Other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg have been used.

The ingredients are then wrapped up in a pita and garnished with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. The sauce is made from Greek yogurt with dill, olive oil, pepper, garlic and cucumbers stirred in. The amount and type of spices with sauce used, boils down to personal taste as does the type of filler.

Make it Healthy at Home

wheatpita

There is no need to keep meat in a gyro. If you are looking for a healthier gyro, just substitute the meat with vegetarian fare. Tofu, tempeh are great fillers for gyros. Here we are going to break down the ingredients by filler, showing the nutritional value of each and include a recipe for making the tzatziki sauce at home.

In addition to the vegetarian fillers and sauce ingredients, you will also want to include the following items:

Whole-wheat pita bread

Tomatoes

Onions

The nutritional information for one large round of whole-wheat pita bread is as follows:

  • 170 Calories
  • 2g Fat
  • 0g Trans Fat
  • 0mg Cholesterol
  • 340mg Sodium
  • 35g Carbohydrate
  • 5g Fiber
  • 1g Sugar
  • 6g Protein

Using Tofu

tofu

Many people prefer the consistency of extra firm tofu for use in gyros. The hardiness of the tofu allows for a firm meat substitute that won’t run or make the pita bread soggy. Many store brands of tofu offer the extra firm variety and this can be found in most grocery stores.

Extra firm tofu contains the following nutritional information by serving, which is 1 ounce:

  • 25 Calories
  • 0g Saturated Fat
  • 0g Trans Fat
  • 0mg Cholesterol
  • 2mg Sodium
  • 1g Carbohydrate
  • 3g Protien
  • 0g Sugar

Because tofu holds spices in a different way, you’ll want to use some different spices than those used for meat gyros. Good spices to add would be oregano, garlic powder and white or black pepper to taste. As with all added spices, the ones that are used are up to you when creating at home.

Using Tempeh

tempeh

Tempeh, like tofu is a soy-based meat substitute. The base of tempeh is created from fermented soybeans that have been cooked. This creates a different consistency than that of tofu and resembles pressed hamburger in texture. Not as common in grocery stores that have tofu, this plant-based filler can be found in health food shops like Trader Joe’s and The Whole Foods Market.

Nutritional information for tempeh based on 1 cup serving:

  • 320 Calories
  • 4g Saturated Fat
  • 0g Trans Fat
  • 0mg Cholesterol
  • 15mg Sodium
  • 16g Carbohydrate
  • 31g Protein
  • 0g Sugar

As with the spices for tofu, the ones that you add in are up to your personal taste.

Whip Up Some Tzatziki Sauce

sauce

Some fans of the vegetarian gyro, say that it’s the sauce that brings the whole pita together and they’d be right. Beyond the way that the meat is prepared for a traditional gyro it’s the use of the yogurt sauce that makes a gyro what it is.

The sauce is very easy to make, with ingredients that can be found at most grocery stores. To get started on making your own batch, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 cup diced cucumber

Mix all of the above into a bowl until each ingredient is thoroughly combined with the yogurt. The resulting mixture should be thick and creamy, if it leans towards the runny side add more plain Greek yogurt to get the desired consistency.

References

Camille Stagg, The Parthenon Cookbook: Great Mediterranean Recipes from the Heart of Chicago’s Greektown, Agate Surrey, 2008.

Reggi Norton, Martha Wagner, The Soy of Cooking: A Tofu and Tempeh Recipe Book, White Crane Publications, 1981.

Self Nutrition Data, https://nutritiondata.self.com

Image Credit: https://www.freedigitalphotos.net, author account