The best plant-based alternative for vegan gyros is without doubt shredded oyster mushrooms (not cut, but torn apart). The texture and the taste are just perfect. We filled our pita pockets with lots of vegan gyro meat, fresh vegetables, and a homemade vegan tzatziki sauce.
Since oyster mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute, if you are looking for more recipes with this ingredient try our vegan Philly cheesesteak, our BBQ vegan pulled pork burger, our vegan fried chicken, or our vegan buffalo chicken wings.
What to expect from this recipe?
Gyros is popular Greek street food, where meat slices (pork or chicken usually, sometimes lamb or beef) are stacked on a large skewer. The skewer is turning around its axis to get all sides roasted. The server trims the edges of the meat as it gets crispy. Then the meat is wrapped up or stuffed into pita bread with tomato, onion, and tzatziki.
Gyro meat is tender but has a crispy crust. It is usually not seasoned with more than salt and black pepper. To make them vegan we wanted to find an ingredient that can deliver on the texture.
We love to work with oyster mushrooms. Our love for this fungi started with this vegan buffalo chicken dip recipe, where we wanted to find a plant-based, soy-free, gluten-free, not to mention a delicious alternative to shredded chicken. And we found it in shredded pearl oyster mushrooms.
To make vegan gyro meat this mushroom is exactly what we needed. I mean look at the below picture. Would you have guessed that these are mushrooms and not meat? It looks pretty amazing, right? I promise you, not only does it look good, it tastes good as well.
Vegan gyro meat
I would say the most important part to get right is what would you use instead of meat. I have been seeing recipes using
- portobello mushrooms,
- grilled tofu.
Why? I have 6 reasons for you:
- allergy-friendly -> no soy, no nuts, no gluten
- pantry staple -> you probably already have a handful at home
- easy to buy -> available in all local stores compared to jackfruit or seitan, tempeh. Here is a list of where to buy them or how to grow oyster mushrooms at home.
- cheap -> way cheaper than e.g. buying Gardein products
- quite neutral in taste -> they soak up any seasoning you add
- tough spongy texture -> perfectly replicating meat
I mean look at the below picture, can you tell whether it is meat or mushroom?
Vegan tzatziki sauce
The tzatziki sauce is a must-have condiment generously drizzled over gyros. What do you need to make them at home?
- Grated cucumber
- Fresh dill (or dried)
- Vegan yogurt
- Vegan sour cream (you can use store-bought, or try our homemade vegan sour cream recipe)
- White wine vinegar (buy a gluten-free vinegar if you have to)
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
How to make vegan gyro meat?
There are 11 ways to cook oyster mushrooms, but this time the best method which gives you the right texture and flavor is baking. Not to mention you get to make a large batch in one go.
- Cut the end of the stem of pearl oyster mushrooms and tear the cap into small shreds with your hands. If the stem is soft enough you can shred them as well. It is really easy to prepare them since they don’t grow in the dirt but on logs.
- Take a small bowl and mix the marinade (olive oil, soy sauce (or choose a gluten-free substitute like tamari), freshly squeezed lemon juice, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika powder, salt, and black pepper).
- Place a parchment paper in a sheet pan or baking tray and spread the marinated oyster mushroom shreds in one layer. See the below picture for reference.
- Bake them in the oven at 425 Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) for 40 minutes or until crispy. Check it after 20 minutes it may already be done if you shredded them thinner than ours in the below picture! Baking time largely depends on the size of the strips.
How to make vegan tzatziki?
- Wash the cucumber and use a large hole cheese grater to make grated cucumber.
- Take a bowl and transfer the cucumber to it. Sprinkle it with salt and wait for 5-10 minutes for the cucumber to release water.
- When you see water, squeeze the grated cucumber in between your palms. If you skip this step, the cucumber will release the moisture directly into the sauce and your vegan tzatziki will be super thin and runny.
- Take another bowl and add all sauce ingredients (yogurt, sour cream, white wine vinegar, olive oil, finely chopped garlic, dill, salt, and black pepper). Mix them well.
- Finally, add the grated cucumber and mix again. Now it is ready for your vegan gyros.
What to serve with it?
- In pita pockets – You can serve vegan gyro meat in pita bread or in wraps with fresh veggies like red onion and tomato as well as tzatziki sauce.
- On a plate – You can also serve it as a main dish with french fries or roasted potatoes. And use the tzatziki sauce as a dip served in a small bowl or on top of the mushrooms.
- As a salad – Make a vegan greek salad, tabbouleh, or any other Mediterranean or Middle Eastern-inspired lettuce or bean salad, and top that with vegan gyro meat.
- Part of a platter board – We have this amazing Mediterranean grazing board which can be even better if you add this dish to it.
FAQs and substitutions
Can you use other mushrooms?
The best mushroom to make vegan gyros is definitely pearl oyster mushroom. However, there are 7 other types of oyster mushrooms but except for king oysters, all of the others would work to make vegetarian gyros. We also listed here 13 oyster mushroom substitutes that you can choose from.
If you have classic button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms, you can certainly make vegan gyros as the spices and the flavor profile matches perfectly with many mushroom types. However, the texture may not be the same.
How to store them?
You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days without any problem. Mushrooms may lose their crispiness as time goes by or dry out. We recommend eating them sooner rather than later.
Can you make them ahead of time?
You can store oyster mushrooms easily for up to a week in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for 1-2 days. For more tips, read our how to store oyster mushrooms article. When you are ready to serve them, reheat them in a frying pan or skillet.
This vegan gyros recipe is meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free. It is suitable for a vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free diet. It is not WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based) as it is not possible to make this way without oil.
More oyster mushroom recipes
We have more than 30 oyster mushroom recipes from all over the world so you can pick the perfect one to try first or check out one from below:
More vegan sandwich recipes
You can browse through our quick & easy vegan meals or check out
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Vegan Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
Vegan gyro meat
- 18 oz Oyster mushrooms not king oyster, but pearl oysters
- 1 + ½ tsp Soy sauce -> gluten-free soy sauce alternatives like tamari
- 5 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 tsp Oregano
- ½ tsp Ground cumin seeds
- ½ tsp Sweet smoked paprika powder
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- ⅛ tsp Black pepper
Making vegan gyro meat
- Take your pearl oyster mushrooms. Cut the end of the stem off. Tear both caps and stem with your hand into shreds.
- Take a bowl and make the marinade by mixing olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, lemon juice, oregano, cumin, paprika powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix this marinade with the oyster mushrooms.
- Place a parchment paper in a sheet pan. Spread the shredded oyster mushrooms preferably in one layer.
- Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) and baked them for 40 minutes or until crispy on the edges. Watch how it progresses, and check it after 20 minutes. It may already be done if you shredded them thinner than ours. Baking time largely depends on the size of the strips.
Making vegan tzatziki
- Wash the cucumber and use a cheese grater to make grated cucumber.
- Take a bowl and transfer the cucumber to it. Sprinkle it with salt and wait for 5 minutes for the cucumber to release water. When you see water, squeeze the grated cucumber in between your palms. If you skip this step, the cucumber will release the moisture directly into the sauce, and it will be super runny.
- Take another bowl. Add yogurt, sour cream, white wine vinegar, olive oil, finely chopped garlic, dill, and pepper. Mix them well. Finally, add the grated cucumber and mix again.
Assembly your pita or wrap
- Wash and slice tomatoes. Peel and slice red onion. (You can slice more cucumbers to add if you want.)
- Take your pita pocket or wrap and stuff them with all the goodies: vegan gyro meat, tomatoes, onion slices, vegan tzatziki. Enjoy!
UPDATED: This recipe was originally posted in January 2021. More info, tips, and FAQs were added and republished in June 2022.