There’s something about a gyro, with its rich, spiced meat, tangy tzatziki, and zesty onions, that calls out for something green, fresh, and tonic. For us, that means tabouli, the traditional salad of bulghur wheat and herbs, dressed with lemon, garlic, and a variable array of spices. Here are 6 recipes you can mix and match, to create a perfect Middle Eastern meal mashup.
1. Ground Beef Gyros
Using ground beef is a great way to get flavor and texture deep into the heart of homemade gyros. Start with lean ground beef and, as you sauté, season with dried oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stuff into split pitas with tomato, shredded lettuce, and onion, along with a quick sauce of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. Get our Ground Beef Gyros recipe.
2. Traditional Tabouli
Super-blogger David Lebovitz is the source of this recipe, the best tabouli we’ve ever tasted. It has plenty of Middle Eastern character: the usual bulgur, parsley, olive oil, lemon, green onions, and tomato, but also mint and an interesting spicing of cinnamon and allspice. It’s our favorite lunch, with lettuce leaves, on a blistering hot day. Get our Traditional Tabouli recipe.
3. Lamb Pitas
This recipe started as a way to dispose, deliciously, of leftover roast lamb. It’s so good, though, that we’d forgive you if you roasted a leg of lamb specifically to make these fantastic sandwiches: warm sliced lamb, cucumber slices, flash-pickled red onion, and an easy tzatziki sauce. Get our Lamb Pitas recipe.
4. Gluten-Free Tabouli
This healthy recipe has an unusual grain at the center: quinoa. It means the texture is lighter than traditional bulgur tabouli and, of course, it’s gluten-free. The rest of the recipe is as classic as you’d want: parsley, green onions, cucumber, and tomato. Get our Gluten-Free Tabouli recipe.
5. Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers
This isn’t, of course, a gyro, but everything about this bold-flavored burger is gyro-inspired—the seasoned ground lamb patty and tzatziki-like yogurt and cucumber relish. Even the ciabatta bun has the crusty, mild-tasting quality of freshly baked pita. Get our Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers recipe.
In this recipe featuring an alternative spelling for “tabouli,” pine nuts add an almost buttery level of richness to the otherwise nutty, fresh, and aromatic salad. You’ll find the usual susupects: bulgur wheat, olive oil, parsley, mint, green onions, and tomato. Those pine nuts, though: They turn this salad into something else. Get our Tabbouleh recipe.