As we head into the fair season, it's quite possible that you may come across a gyro stand. Gyros, a popular Greek sandwich, are traditionally made with roasted lamb on a vertical spit and served on pita bread with tomato and onion. Gyros are most commonly topped with tzatziki sauce, made with plain yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, lemon juice and dill or parsley.
When making gyros, large pieces of meat are skewed onto a vertical pit, which turns over a heat source. This way of roasting allows the outside of the meat to be slightly crispy, while the inside remains juicy and tender. The meat is then sliced vertically and placed onto a lightly oiled, warm pita.
Gyros may sound a little intimidating to make since most home kitchens aren't equipped with a vertical spit, and many local grocery stores don't carry lamb. However, variations of the gyro can be made, including using beef steak and grilling it. Another option is to make a "kofta," which is ground meat and made much like a meatloaf. Skewer the kofta, grill it, and place it in a pita with all the gyro fixings.
Greek Steak Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce
1 lb. flank steak
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, peeled and cut horizontally into ½-inch-thick slices
1 tomato, cored and chopped
½ cup feta cheese
4 whole wheat pita bread
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic
8 oz. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
½ lemon juice and zest
2 teaspoons fresh dill
¼ teaspoon salt
To make the tzatziki sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Sauce will be runny. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat grill and rub oil over grate. Grill onion slices, until browned; turning half way through. Rub garlic powder and pepper over steak. Grill over medium heat until internal temperature of food thermometer reads at least 145ᵒF. Allow meat to rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing into strips. Cut each onion slice in half, making strips. Brush pita bread with olive oil and grill 1-2 minutes on each side.
Place steak, onion slices, tomato and feta cheese on each pita bread. Fold over and top with tzatziki sauce.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional analysis per serving with 2 Tablespoons sauce: 445 Calories, 15 grams fat, 100 milligrams cholesterol, 470 milligrams sodium, 34 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 44 grams protein
Smith, a registered dietitian, is a nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.