Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros
THEME: #222 MYSTIQUE MEDITERRANEAN
What are Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros?
Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros, so delicious, healthy and unbelievably easy to make at home from scratch. Usually Gyros have a meat filling. In fact, these Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros are a great alternate for vegetarians, are filling and perfect for picnics, garden parties or as a main meal any time of the day.
What Are Gyros?
Gyros, pronounced as ‘eeyros’ is a Greek popular street food which is like a sandwich but served on a flat pita bread. The fillings range from chicken, lamb to vegetables. For a vegetarian version, roasted vegetables, chickpeas, pulled jackfruit are used. Actually, let your imagination run riot and use any of your favorite filling. Meat or veggie is usually served with salad ingredients like any other sandwich. In place of mayonnaise fresh sauces like tzatziki or hummus is used. To create a delicious vegetarian version I used chickpeas.
This week, our FoodieMonday/Bloghop theme is Mediterranean Cuisine. Any dish made from that region.
Actually, Archana’s suggestion of this exciting Mediterranean Cuisine theme gave me the opportunity to try out Gyros which I had wanted for a very long time. Archana who blogs at The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen, (don’t you think that is a cool name for a food blog?) has a few recipes from the Mediterranean region. I love her homemade Falafel Wraps recipe and I’ve bookmarked the famous Cypriot Easter Cheese pies called Flaounes.
What is Mediterranean Cuisine?
Whenever one mentions Mediterranean immediately Greek Cuisine comes to mind. However, Mediterranean Cuisine is more than just the Greek Cuisine. Unlike other cuisines it doesn’t restrict one to any one particular country or ethnic group.
It actually involves all the regions around the Mediterranean Sea. When you look at the world map then it includes starting from the west Morocco, Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, many of the east Europe countries like Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, then down to Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.
Special Ingredients for a Mediterranean Cuisine or Diet
I have so many other dishes from the Mediterranean region to try out. So what makes it so different from the other cuisines? Well, the Mediterranean cuisine largely depends of the usage of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, olives and their products, protein rich legumes, healthy meats and fish, cheese, wine, whole grains like couscous, seeds, nuts. A mixture of these ingredients produces a well balanced meal. It is believed that a Mediterranean diet is very good for a healthy heart.
Have I tried out any dishes from the Mediterranean Region in my kitchen?
- Yes I have, like the famous Challah bread from Israel. Did you know that the famous breakfast dish Shakshuka has been claimed by many Mediterranean regions as originating from their country. Whichever country it originates from, its a super delicious breakfast.
- Have you tried the refreshing and satisfying Greek Salad known as Horiatiki?
- The famous Manakeesh bread from the Mediterranean region is served with soups, stew, meats, tea, eggs, but I love to have it on its own.
- I simply love Baghrir from Morocco for breakfast or a Moroccan Vegetable Soup for lunch. If you’re looking for a filling, healthy salad from this region then you should try out the Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad.
In fact, I’m deviating a bit from the subject on Mediterranean Cuisine and enlightening you about a wonderful handcrafted butti that I picked up from an art and craft exhibition organized by Hundred Hands. Fortunately, the exhibition was in Bangalore at the Jayamahal Palace Hotel Grounds for four days. I love going these exhibitions or fairs as I’m usually able to pick up beautiful things for the home and also props for my food photography.
Its an effort by groups and individuals to revive forgotten traditional art, to boost handicrafts from ethnic groups, to support women and children. It also is a place where individuals could show off their talent in their respective areas. If it ever comes to your area, don’t miss it.
What is a Butti?
A butti is a circular plate like made from rattan or cane, a great alternate to wood which in turn helps prevent deforestation. Made by the Koraga Janjati Tribe of Karnataka, the elderly women have over the years developed a deft skill of bending and weaving the cane. Butti can be used as a wall decoration, to sieve rice or to put your cooked rotis/flatbreads on it.
The advantage as opposed to a plate is that the bottom roti does not become soggy and soft because of water evaporation. Butti is weaved and it prevents the bottom roti or flatbread from becoming soggy.
It can be easily wiped off with a clean cloth and I’ve been told that even if you wash it and dry it in the sun, it does not get spoilt. I put the roasted flat pita bread on the butti and true to what it claims, the bottom pita bread did not become soggy. I bought this product from a Bangalore based young company called Country Craft.
Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros
I decided to make Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros for the Mediterranean theme as it almost covers all the staple ingredients required for this diet. I used wheat flour to make the flat pita bread, used fresh cucumber, tomatoes, onion, lettuce leaves and olives which covers the vegetables required. The legume used is chickpeas, dairy is the greek yogurt and feta cheese.
Gyros are filling, healthy and a burst of flavors that tantalize the taste buds. It leaves the tummy full and yet not to the point that you feel uncomfortable or lethargic. So, lets learn how to make Greek Gyros at home from scratch. If you want less of bread then why not serve gyros in a bowl with just one or two wedges of the flat pita bread.
Ingredients Required For Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros:
- Whole Wheat Flour – for the pita bread if you’re making them at home. Can use ready made ones if you wish.
- Yeast – instant dry active yeast. If you don’t use the instant variety then you need to ferment the yeast in warm milk for 10-15 minutes till it becomes all bubbly and frothy. Add sugar to the milk. Sprinkle the yeast. Mix. Cover and allow it to ferment.
- Yogurt – plain thick yogurt required to add to the pita bread and also to make the Tzatziki Sauce.
- Salt – for the pita bread, tzatziki sauce, filling.
- Sugar – little required to add to the pita bread dough. Helps with fermentation.
- Warm Milk – required to add to the pita bread dough.
- Olive Oil – required for the pita bread dough, the filling and the sauce.
- Boiled Chickpeas – I usually soak the chickpeas overnight and cook them with just enough water and salt in a pressure cooker. In 3 whistles it gets done. Can use canned chickpeas.
- Paprika Powder – for the filling
- Cayenne Pepper – optional if you don’t like chilis.For the filling.
- Pepper Powder – add according to your taste. For the filling and tzatziki.
- Cucumber Slices – I have used English Cucumber and have not peeled it. You an peel it if you like.
- Grated Cucumber – for the tzatziki. I grate it with the peel.
- Tomatoes – I had baby tomatoes at hand so used those. If you’re using normal tomatoes, slice them into rounds or chop them into thin vertical slices.
- Onion – use red, white or yellow. Peel and cut into thin slices.
- Fresh Mint Leaves – I prefer to tear the leaves into smaller pieces.
- Olives – use any of your choice, back, green or kalamati.
- Feta Cheese – crumbled or diced
- Salad Leaves – any of your choice. Sometimes I use baby spinach or kale.
- Lemon Juice – for the tzatziki sauce
- Fresh Dill – for tzatziki. Can replace it with fresh mint if you don’t like the flavour of dill.
- Garlic – for tzatziki, peeled and minced
- Ideal as a Vegetarian meal.
- To make it vegan friendly, replace dairy yogurt with vegan yogurt or use hummus. Replace the milk with a plant based milk or water.
- To make it satvik friendly meal, avoid using onion and garlic.
- I’ve used coconut sugar to avoid using white refined sugar.
- A healthy recipe for those following a Mediterranean diet.
VEGETARIAN CHICKPEA GYROS
FOR THE WHOLEWHEAT PITA BREAD:
- 3 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp instant active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
FOR THE CHICKPEA FILLING:
- 2 cups boiled chickpeas
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp pepper powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- FOR THE SALAD FILLING:
- 1 cup cucumber slices
- 1 cup tomatoes sliced or diced
- ½ cup onion sliced
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- a few salad leaves
- ¼ cup sliced olives black, green or kalamati
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled or diced
- 1 cup Tzatziki Sauce
FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE:
- 1 cup thick yogurt use Greek yogurt or hung yogurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small cucumber grated about ½ cup
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper powder
PREPARATION OF WHOLEWHEAT PITA BREAD:
- Mix flour with salt and sugar.
- Add yeast and mix it in.
- Add olive oil and rub it into the flour.
- Add yogurt and milk, form a dough.
- The dough should be soft. Knead it for 5-10 minutes till it is smooth.
- Shape the dough into a ball, rub it with olive oil.
- Place it in a greased bowl, cover it with a lid or damp cloth and let it rise for 2 hours or till its double in size.
- Deflate the dough gently.
- Divide it into 8 parts. Roll each part into a ball.
- Using extra wheat flour roll each ball of dough into a flat circle of about 6-7 inches in diameter.
- Heat a griddle pan or tawa over medium heat.
- Roast the flatbreads over the pan on both sides till done.
- Keep the flatbreads on the side till required.
PREPARATION OF THE CHICKPEA FILLING:
- For the chickpea filling, add salt, paprika, cayenne, pepper powders and olive oil. Mix well.
- Prepare the Tzatziki sauce.
PREPARATION OF THE TZATZIKI:
- If the cucumber skin is thin, then you don’t need to peel it. Cut it into half and remove the thick seeds if any. Its best to scoop it out using a spoon.
- Grate the cucumber.
- Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
- Squeeze out the water from the cucumber.
- Add cucumber, oil, garlic, dill, salt, pepper, lemon juice to the thick yogurt. Mix well and the sauce or dip is ready.
PREPARATION OF CHICKPEA GYROS:
- On each flatbread spread some Tzatziki sauce just in the middle.
- Add some chickpeas.
- Arrange the salad ingredients.
- Top with some feta cheese.
- Fold the bread into half and serve.
- Serve with extra Tzatziki sauce on the side.
Replace the chickpeas with beans of your choice.
The amount and types of salad ingredients required is just a rough guideline. Feel free to use other ingredients like bell peppers, avocado etc.
If you're going to prepare gyros bowls then it will serve only 4 as more salad ingredients and chickpeas go into it. Can add cooked couscous too to replace the flatbread wedges.
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