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Seitan isn’t for the faint of heart; nor the gluten-intolerant. It’s made from wheat gluten, the endosperm of the wheat berry, to be precise. Wheat gluten is chock full of protein and, when cooked, makes a really nice meaty substitute. You can also use it as a binder for vegetarian meatballs or meatloaf. Maybe I’ll put that on the “To Make” list.
My favorite seitan recipe comes from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. I made quite a few modifications, both because I wanted to be able to publish the recipe and because it’s not gyro-specific.
The one thing I miss from eating four-legged-meats 100 years ago is a Zorba’s gyro (they were waaaay better than Parthenon’s). The peppery meat constantly turning and dripping and shaved to order onto an olive-oily pita, topped with onions that were too big, lots of tomatoes, and dripping with tzatziki sauce. Of course, the fries were required to soak up the drips. One barely needed any ketchup.
Anyhoo. Seitan! It’s some wheat gluten, nooch, a little bitta chickpea flour and lots of yummy seasonings. I didn’t take pictures of this process because, well, it’s not very photogenic.
Once the seitan is done and cooled (a process that takes 8 hours to cook and about the same to cool), you slice it up and grill it in a pan. I ended up squirting it with Bragg’s Aminos, which provides the saltiness that soy sauce has, but it’s “better for you”.
While that’s cooking or even the day before, the tzatziki sauce can be prepped (most things are better after sitting around in the fridge for a while). I used a small container of fat-free Fage Greek yogurt, a little bit of cucumber, dried and minced garlic, and some lemon juice.
Chop an onion and a tomato and heat the pitas over the burner and you’ve got yourself a delicious facsimile of a Zorba’s gyro. Minus the yelling and grease.
- Slow cooker
- Food processor
- 2 c vital wheat gluten
- 3 Tbsp chickpea flour
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 c onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 drop liquid smoke
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 1/4 c vegetable broth chilled
- 6 c vegetable broth chilled
- 6 oz plain, fat-free, Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp cucumber seeded and diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- white onion sliced
- tomato diced
- In a large bowl, combine the flours and nutritional yeast.
- Put everything else (except the broth) into a food processor and combine.
- Mix the spices into the dry ingredients and add the 1 1/4 cus of broth to mix everything together. If it's too wet, add more gluten, if it's too dry, add more broth.When it's all combined, make it into a loaf-shape and wrap with cheesecloth to keep it that way. Place into a slow cooker and cover with the remaining 6 cups of broth. Cook on low for 8 hours. Let it cool in the broth.
- Mix everything together. Let it rest.
- Slice the seitan into meatly shapes and cook in a grill pan over medium until it's crispy on the edges. Spritz with Bragg's Aminos for color and salt.
- Heat the pitas in a toaster oven or on the stovetop. Assemble with seitan first, sauce, onions, tomatoes. Serve with extra napkins.