In just 15 minutes sliced portobello mushrooms saute in herbs and spices to create the most flavorful, tender, and mouthwatering vegetarian gyro meat. Serve in a pita with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and tzatziki for an irresistible gyro sandwich!
When it comes to making easy vegetarian recipes, Mediterranean-inspired recipes are some of my favorite. Bursting with flavor and fresh ingredients, there is simply nothing better!
And when a meatless meal can come together in just 15-minutes without skimping on flavor, freshness, or deliciousness, that’s a winner. And that my friend, is exactly what these vegetarian gyros are, winners.
Made with a base of sliced portobello mushrooms, topped with fresh veggies, and a super quick and easy tzatziki sauce, there is so much to love about this recipe…so let’s get to cookin’!
What is a Gyro?
Gyro (or gyros) is a Greek “sandwich” consisting of a thinly sliced meat – typically pork in Greece, or beef and lamb more commonly in America – that has been thinly sliced, stacked, and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. It is then sliced off of the rotisserie as it cooks.
The meat is then served wrapped or stuffed into pita bread, along with tomato, onion, tzatziki, and fried potatoes (or french fries).
What is vegetarian gyro meat?
For this recipe, we are putting our own vegetarian spin on traditional gyro meat using thinly sliced portobello mushrooms.
The mushrooms have a meaty texture and robust, umami flavor that lends itself to being the perfect meat substitute. They are cooked in a flavorful mixture of Mediterranean herbs and spices, resulting in an unbelievable gyro filling. It’s so good, even meat-eaters are gonna love it.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This is a simple ingredient list, my friend! Simple, yes, but it packs a punch!
- Portobello Mushrooms: you will need quite a few (1.5 to 2 pounds) large mushrooms to make this filling. Look for mushrooms that have smooth tops without much bruising. If your grocery store sells them in bulk, that will be the most cost-efficient purchase. Otherwise, you can likely find them pre-packaged.
- Butter: adds a richness to the filling, however, if you want to keep this vegan, go ahead and substitute olive oil in its place.
- Dried Herbs and Spices: we are using a mixture of garlic and onion powder, dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and red pepper flakes to deliver all the flavor. Don’t forget the salt, too!
- Pita Bread: use store-bought pita pockets or make your own homemade flatbread for a rustic take.
- Tzatziki Sauce: make my super easy version or buy storebought (and again, if you want to make this vegan, use store-bought vegan tzatziki, like at Trader Joe’s). This deliciously creamy sauce is a must on a gyro.
- Toppings: traditionally you’ll find tomato and red onion slices, and french fries on a gyro. I like adding cucumber slices, feta cheese crumbles, and a sprinkle of dried oregano, too. You’ll see this recipe doesn’t actually have any fried potatoes/fries but feel free to add them if you’d like!
Other yummy additions you could add include black olives, kalamata olives, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh dill, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped romaine lettuce.
How to Make Vegetarian Gyros
You are going to love how easy it is to make vegetarian gyros…especially when dinner is ready in just 15 minutes on those busy weeknights!
Prepare the Mushroom Filling
First things first: cleaning mushrooms. I recommend wiping your portobello mushrooms with a damp cloth or paper towel to clean them. This goes pretty quickly considering their size and ensures they don’t absorb water. You can quickly rinse them, but do not soak them.
Next, thinly slice the portobello mushrooms. You can keep the gills in the mushrooms; they will add more flavor and there isn’t a need to remove them as you would if you were to stuff mushrooms.
Add the sliced mushrooms to a dry skillet. Use the largest skillet you have so the mushrooms have enough room to cook evenly.
Sauteeing mushrooms in a dry skillet before adding anything else allows them to release their liquid (water), preventing an over-watered dish and ensuring they then can soak in all the flavors of the recipe.
Once the mushrooms have released much of their liquid and it has evaporated (approximately 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices), it’s time to add the magic.
Melt in butter and stir in the spices and herbs. Cook for a few minutes, and then it’s time to assemble once the mushrooms are flavorful and tender. Don’t forget to taste test for salt, too.
SECRET TIP: To make it even more savory, you can add a couple of drops of soy sauce or vegan Worcheshire sauce, but shhh, don’t tell.
Prepare the Toppings
While the mushrooms are doing their thing in the skillet, this is the perfect time to prepare the toppings to keep this a 15-minute meal.
If you are making my lazy-girl tzatziki sauce, it takes less than 5 minutes to mix together. You can also make it a day or to ahead to save yourself even more time.
Slice up the veggies and get ready to assemble!
Time to Assemble!
Start with a warm pita pocket (warm is my preference…just zap it in the microwave for a few seconds). You can place it on a piece of parchment paper or foil if you’d like to wrap it up as is traditionally done, or simply place it on a plate.
Then layer in the sauteed mushroom slices, add on the sliced veggies, a schmear of tzatziki sauce, and garnish as desired.
I like to garnish with additional feta cheese crumbles, dried oregano, and sometimes fresh parsley if I have it on hand.
Then, simply fold it up and enjoy!
What to Serve with Veggie Gyros
While these gyros are filling enough to enjoy on their own for a hearty lunch or meatless dinner, you can absolutely add some sides to them.
While crispy potatoes are sometimes inside gyros, why not serve them on the side, or bake some french fries to pair with the sandwiches. You could also serve it with a green side salad or this Middle Eastern-inspired quinoa salad.
Make-Ahead & Storage Tips
To meal prep or make vegetarian gyros ahead of time, you can prepare the mushroom filling and then store it in an airtight container, reheating in the microwave or stovetop when you’re ready to assemble.
Do the same for the tzatziki and toppings, storing them separately in airtight containers. Don’t prepare the actual gyro until you’re ready to enjoy it, otherwise, the pita will get soggy.
For leftovers, again, store each component separately (although the tomatoes, onion, and cucumbers can be in the same container as needed). Reheat the mushrooms when ready to use again, and continue with assembly.
15-Minute Vegetarian Gyros
- 1½ – 2 pounds portobello mushrooms
- ¾ – 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Mushrooms: wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth or paper towel to clean. Then thinly slice them, approximately ¼ to ½ inch thick. Add them to a DRY large skillet over medium-high heat. You'll notice their water begin to simmer out; add a pinch of salt and stir them occasionally until most of the water has evaporated out, about 8-12 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the butter and spices, stirring until completely coated. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until fragrant and mushrooms are dark and tender.
- While the mushrooms are sauteing, prepare the tzatziki sauce and slice the veggies for topping as needed. Heat the pita bread in the microwave for 10-15 seconds as desired.
- Once the mushrooms are ready, assemble the gyro by placing a layer of mushrooms in the middle of a flat pita pocket. Top with sliced tomato, onion, and cucumber. Spread on tzatziki sauce and garnish with additional feta and dried oregano, as desired. Enjoy immediately.
- Vegan: substitute olive oil for the butter, and use store-bought vegan tzatziki sauce.
- Substitute for Marjoram: you can substitute additional dried oregano and a little extra dried thyme if you don’t have marjoram.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.