Beef Gyros with Cucumber-Dill Sauce
My recipe for Beef Gyros with Cucumber-Dill Sauce was born out of a basic survival need after I learned there were no good gyro restaurants in my area of Los Angeles. The closest approximation is a “healthy twist on a Greek classic” (Daphne’s), but a gyro is one place where I’m not interested in a healthy twist! Let’s be honest, if I’m looking for a gyro, I am not expecting diet food.
As it turns out, this recipe is based on lean ground beef, fresh herbs, and a cucumber-dill sauce made with nonfat Greek yogurt. Not too unhealthy after all! Use whole wheat pitas for extra fiber. It’s also pretty inexpensive to make when you consider that all of the ingredients listed here can probably be bought for the price of one of Daphne’s gyros. Substitute lamb if you are interested. Pass on the cucumber-dill sauce to keep this recipe dairy-free.
- 1 c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), divided
- 1 T. fresh dill, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 – 6” pita breads
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 T. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 1 lb. lean (90/10) ground beef
- 1 T. olive oil
- Optional garnishes such as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onion, and feta cheese
- Combine yogurt, cucumber, 1 T. lemon juice, dill, 1 garlic clove, and ½ tsp. salt in a small bowl to make the dill sauce. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the top quarter of each pita and tear these into pieces and set aside. Wrap pitas in a stack in foil. Place the pitas wrapped in foil in the oven and heat for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine torn pita pieces, onion, remaining 1 T. lemon juice, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, oregano, and remaining garlic in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add beef to the paste and mix until thoroughly combined with hands or a spatula.
- Turn beef mixture out on to a cutting board. Form into a uniform loaf and cut into 12 sections.
- Roll each section into a ball and flatten into a patty about ½” thick. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until well-browned and a dark crust forms on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook until the second side is also well-browned. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve with warmed pitas, dill sauce, and optional toppings if desired such as shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, sliced sweet onion, Kalamata olives, or feta cheese.