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OK! There are not a lot of foods I really miss since I gave up meat 25 years ago but gyros & shawarma are two things definitely on the “miss list.”
I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken & I recommend it very highly – though you can use another brand or even real dead chicken (if you have a taste for hormones & cruelty). At any rate – whatever you use – the longer you marinate if for the better – overnight being optimal.
I made the garlic paste (or a version of it) that they serve at Zankou chicken, here in LA. It is a bright, white paste that has a bit of a gritty texture & seems to be just mashed garlic. I was HORRIFIED to discover – it does have a lot of garlic but it has even more OIL! It is basically an aioli. Or a mayonnaise. Damn. So – it is not a guiltless pleasure but you don’t need tons before you run the risk of setting things ablaze just by breathing your garlic shit storm on them – so do not sweat the calories too much.
I used real yogurt in my tzatziki but they DO make vegan yogurts so – if you are vegan – just use one of those.
There are a lot of ingredients in the chicken marinade but only the cardamom is remotely exotic & you probably already have most of them in your cabinets – so do not be intimidated. If you do not have or cannot find ground cardamom – never fear! Substitutes: equal parts ground nutmeg and cinnamon OR equal parts ground cloves and cinnamon OR nutmeg OR cinnamon
Garlic Paste (Toum)
This makes quite a bit but it should keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
1/2 small potato (I used a Yukon Gold) – boiled until soft & cooled
1 full cup garlic cloves (peel fresh ones & do not use the pre-peeled cloves as they have been frozen & are not as flavorful)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)
In your food processor, pulse the garlic, potato, lemon juice & salt until they are pureed. You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl down a few times. Then, VERY SLOWLY drizzle the oil in as the pureed is being spun about. Do this in a very slow & steady stream. Lots of recipes suggested it should take ten minutes. I got it done in under five but if you add the oil too fast – it will not emulsify properly. Check it as you go & if it begins to separate – stop adding oil & keep processing it until it comes together again.
That’s it! You MIGHT want to experiment with an increased quantity of potato & a lesser quantity of oil. I think I will the next time.
Makes about 1.5 cups
6 oz yogurt (vegan or not – your call) – I used thick Greek Fage.
1 TBS lemon juice
1 garlic clove – minced
1/4 – 1/3 cucumber – peeled & diced
pinch of salt
1 tsp or more fresh dill – chopped
Mix that shit up! Add water if you think it is too thick – but not a lot.
Vegan Chicken Shawarma
Serves 2 or 3
Pita bread or wraps or tortillas or naan
9 oz vegan chicken
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 TBS smoked paprika (or regular)
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS ground cardamom (or substitute from the note above)
1 TBS chili powder
1 TBS ground coriander
1 tsp pepper
juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup yogurt (optional)
Garnish ideas: sliced red onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, parsley, cucumber slices
Mix the spices in a large glass container with the vinegar, lemon juice & zest, 2 TBS olive oil & yogurt (if using). This is pretty thick stuff. Feel free to thin it with water if you like. Add the chicken & marinate it for at least an hour or overnight. Try not to use a plastic container as it could get stained or left stinky from the spices.
When you are ready to eat – heat a little olive oil in a pan & heat the chicken. Allow the marinade to come away as you likely won’t want as much in the actual sandwich. When it is warm, assemble the wrap. Slather some garlic paste on the bread & layer the ingredients on top. Add some tzatziki & chow the fuck down!
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Hi, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes. I made the Garlic Paste last night, but I’m afraid I added the oil too quickly during processing, and it did not emulsify. Is there any way that I can rescue this recipe at this point? It is not thick and creamy like the picture – just liquidy and a portion of the grape seed oil is laying on the top (after refrigerating). I hate to discard it. Thank you for any suggestions that you can give to me.
Apologies but I am uncertain how to rescue it beyond maybe trying to get it to emulsify in a food processor or blender. Im not sure if that will work though…
Hi! So happy to find this recipe on here. I was looking for a vegan gyro recipe and here i am. I’m reading through the ingredients and recipe and i keep wondering why this food blogger has all these ads for the “Bathing” book. And then i see the picture and think, I remember her, i loved her on Bev Hills. But this is your blog and you wrote the book! Awesome…will share on my Vegan Facebook group page. I’m sure lots of my friends will enjoy your recipes and remembering you from tv. Nice surprise. Can’t wait to get the book too! Will look forward to new recipes !! Thanks, Nancy
I love that!!! I do, in fact, have a vegan gyro posted, too. Did you find it?
Thanks for sharing the blog! Be sure to tell me how you like the recipes AND the book! Thanks, again!
PS – which vegan page is yours on Facebook?
yes i did find the vegan gyro first and then i clicked on the Tzatziki sauce recipe, thanks! This is perfect, just what i was looking for. We are “Vegans of Central Jersey”, closed group on FB, but please join us. Not necessary to live in NJ. We like to share recipes, restaurant reviews and new vegan finds.