This Greek-style falafel gyro is seriously packed with flavors and easier to make than it seems. It includes homemade crispy falafel, dairy-free tzatziki sauce, pita bread and crunchy fresh veggies. Makes for a filling and delicious lunch or dinner your whole family will love!
Meet our new addiction: falafel gyro.
I have included this vegan tzatziki sauce in many recipes on the blog, we are so obsessed! If you haven't tried it yet, then this is a sign to give it a try this week!
This time, I was inspired by my roasted chickpea gyro recipe and combined the yummy cucumber tzatziki sauce with homemade falafel (instead of using chickpeas). It makes for the most delicious Greek-style falafel gyro sandwich you will ever have!
In this recipe, the fusion of earthy chickpea falafel balls with creamy, tangy and herb-loaded yogurt tzatziki is what makes this recipe so amazing. You can fill it up with all the fresh veggies that you like, such as crunchy cucumber, tomatoes and onion, and then wrap in a puffy pita bread. What a delight!
It makes for a healthy gyro that is 100% vegetarian and dairy-free, plus high in fiber and plant-based protein. This recipe is very versatile with a variety of other sauces suggested down below you can choose from.
Perfect dinner or lunch recipe that will satisfy everyone, vegans and meat eaters included!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
What is falafel?
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made out of chickpeas (or Fava beans), spices and sometimes fresh herbs. You will also generally find some lemon juice and tahini part of the recipe, although the specific ingredients used vary a lot. They look like small chickpea patties that are a perfect finger food or stuffing ingredient for sandwiches.
It originates from Egypt and Palestinian countries, but it became very popular among other countries around the world (such as the USA) as they are delicious and such a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
Crispy falafels are usually deep-fried, although in this recipe I'll show you how to bake them in the oven (oil-free) or fry them in a pan using minimal added oil. They are healthy, packed with flavor and nicely crispy, plus fairly easy to make.
The traditional way to serve falafel is part of a mezze (appetizer platter with dipping sauces and other condiments) or in sandwiches with pickled vegetables and a tahini-based sauce.
Even though classic gyro is served with a tahini sauce, I served these gyros with a Greek-style tzatziki sauce for the best fresh and bright flavors.
Why you will love this recipe
- As delicious as the Middle Eastern gyro recipe, but without the meat and oil!
- Burst with fresh flavors and colorful veggies
- The homemade falafel recipe is easy to make
- Healthy and loaded with fiber, protein and vitamins
- Makes for a meal that's very filling and satisfying
- Can easily be customized to your preferences
- Vegan and vegetarian gyros made with chickpea falafels (no meat!)
Ingredients you will need
(See below in the recipe card for the measurements)
This gyro sandwich recipe is versatile and you can tweak the filling ingredients as you wish.
For the homemade falafel
- Canned chickpeas (cooked): I like using canned chickpeas that are already cooked for convenience, but you can also cook your own chickpeas from scratch. Don't make the mistake of using dry chickpeas for this recipe!
- Breadcrumbs: I used regular breadcrumbs, but Italian-flavored ones would work too.
- Tahini (sesame paste): helps bring the falafel mixture together, adds a delicious nutty flavor and also some healthy fats. Look for a dripping or pourable tahini for the best result.
- Garlic: I used 2 cloves of garlic, but add one more if looking for a stronger garlic flavor.
- Red onion: you will need ¼ cup of red onion. This adds a huge amount of flavor, so try not to omit it. You won't taste any raw onion flavor at all once cooked!
- Lemon juice: for a delicious tangy flavor.
- Spices: I usually like to include cumin, but I ran out and used coriander instead this time. It worked out so well, you should try it too! I also added some paprika for more flavor.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley is a classic ingredient in making falafel, so this is what I usually use. It brings that green fresh flavor that's typical of falafel. But, I have made falafel with cilantro, dill and mint and it was great too.
- Baking powder: a touch of baking powder helps "puff" the falafel while cooking.
For the gyro sandwich
- Vegan tzatziki sauce: you can find the tzatziki sauce recipe here. To make it, you will need vegan plain yogurt (I like Forager cashew yogurt for making tzatziki, it is similar to classic Greek yogurt!), cucumber, fresh herbs (ideally dill and mint), lemon, garlic and salt.
- Pita bread: check the ingredient list to ensure the pita is vegan! A vegan naan bread would work too.
- Crunchy lettuce: I think finely sliced romaine lettuce works well for a gyro sandwich, but you can use other kinds of lettuce.
- Tomatoes: I like cherry tomatoes as they are sweeter (especially when buying in the winter), but in the summer when the tomatoes are fresh, large regular tomatoes would be great too.
- Cucumber: so fresh and yummy in this Greek-style sandwich!
- Red onion: if you are ok with raw onion, then add a few slices for more flavor.
How to make vegan falafel gyros
(See below in the recipe card for the full recipe)
Don't be intimidated by making your own falafel, it is easier to make than it seems. The food processor does most of the work for you!
Prepare the sauce
I recommend preparing the sauce (recipe here: tzatziki sauce) ahead of time if possible. It only takes about 5-7 minutes to make, but letting it rest in the fridge for a few hours before enjoying allows the flavor to infuse into the yogurt better, it makes a difference!
Make the falafel mixture
Add the garlic to a food processor and process/pulse until broken down. Then, add the rest of the ingredients (chickpeas, onion, breadcrumbs, tahini, lemon juice, spices, salt, baking powder and fresh herbs) and process until uniform and smooth (with still some texture).
Use a spatula to stir and make sure there are no large pieces of onion or chickpeas, and process again as needed.
When the mixture looks done, then grab a small amount with your fingers and squeeze it: it should hold and stick well. If it feels too crumbly, then you can add 1 tablespoon of water and process again.
Cook the falafel
Use about 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixture to shape into 14-15 falafel. I like to create mini cakes instead of round falafel as it will cook more evenly (just slightly press on the ball, see video in the recipe card), especially if cooking in the pan.
- Pan-fried falafel: Warm up a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat with a little oil (I like using oil spray, but you can add a little bit of olive oil) and then add the falafel. Cook them for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Be careful when flipping them, they are delicate and can break easily!
- Bake in the oven: instead of frying the falafel in a pan, you can also bake them in the oven! Bake for about 20 minutes at 400º, flipping them halfway through.
While the falafel is cooking, it is a good time to prep the veggies!
To assemble the gyro, simply layer some tzatziki, crispy falafel (2-4 per sandwich), fresh veggies and more fresh herbs over the pita bread. Fold and enjoy!
- Traditional falafel is made using dry chickpeas that are simply soaked before shaping and cooking. I much prefer using cooked chickpeas, which I find makes the falafel less dry. Just be sure to use cooked beans for this recipe!
- Make sure to let the chickpeas drain well before adding them to the food processor. Too much moisture in the falafel patties can make them mushy!
- As described, you can create little balls when shaping the falafel, but then gently press them just so they cook more evenly in the pan.
- For quick meals, feel free to use store-bought falafels and pair with hummus or a tzatziki sauce from the grocery stores.
Variations and serving suggestions
Making this falafel gyro recipe is easy and so versatile. You can tweak the falafel flavoring to fit your taste better and feel free to pack your gyro with all your favorite fresh ingredients!
Falafel customization ideas
- Experiment with the spices: I like cumin or coriander in falafel, but dried herbs (dill, parsley, Italian seasoning), paprika, turmeric, smoked paprika or cayenne pepper would be great too.
- Spinach falafel: you can steam some spinach and squeeze the extra moisture (use a towel or paper towel) before adding to the food processor. Aim to have about ½ cup of cooked spinach.
- Sweet potato falafel: add some cooked sweet potatoes (about ½ cup) and include in the falafel mixture.
- Beet falafel: use already cooked beets (about 1 medium-sized beet) from the store for convenience and add to the food processor to incorporate into the mixture. This will make for yummy bright red falafel!
If you don't feel like a yogurt-based sauce or a tzatziki, then you can try out these other sauces that would work very well too:
- Baba ganoush
- Butter bean hummus
- Green goddess dressing
- Balsamic tahini sauce
- Lemon herb tahini dressing
- Lemon dill hummus
- Harissa dressing
More falafel gyro toppings
As a side note, you can skip the pita bread and serve the vegan falafel + fresh veggies + sauce of choice over:
- brown rice (see this falafel bowl for inspiration)
- cauliflower rice
- green lettuce (salad)
- you can make the patties much larger and serve in burgers!
Once the gyro sandwich is assembled, then it is best to enjoy it right away so the sauce does not turn the pita bread soggy.
That being said, you can make the tzatziki ahead for up to 3-4 days.
You can also prep the falafel balls 1-2 days before baking, just make sure to store them in an airtight container so they don't dry out.
If you have leftover cooked falafel, then keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheat them in the oven (350º for 10 minutes, a toaster oven works well for that) or in a pan until heated through.
How can I make this recipe GF?
To make this recipe gluten-free, then make sure to use GF breadcrumbs (like this GF breadcrumbs from the brand Aleias) when making the falafel and also, choose a GF pita bread.
Is this recipe healthy?
Yes, this recipe is so good for you and uses lots of wholesome plant-based ingredients. First, the falafel is much healthier than what you usually get in restaurants as they are pan-seared (or oven-baked) instead of deep-fried. Second, the gyro also is packed with fiber and vitamins, thanks to the colorful fresh veggies. And third, the tzatziki is made with a low-fat dairy-free yogurt that is healthy and filled with probiotics.
More vegan sandwiches to try
- Vegan cream cheese cucumber sandwiches
- Roasted vegetable sandwich
- Vegan jackfruit wraps
- Chickpea avocado sandwich
- Tofu scramble breakfast sandwiches
- Balsamic tofu sandwich wraps
- Spicy buffalo "chicken" sandwich
- Beetroot pickle sandwich
- Vegan sloppy joes
- Kale wraps
I hope you like this falafel gyro recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Falafel Gyro with Greek Tzatziki
- Food processor
For the falafel
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 x 15 oz canned chickpeas (cooked) - rinsed and drained
- ½ cup red onion - roughly chopped
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup fresh parsley
For the gyro sandwich
- tzatziki sauce - find the tzatziki sauce recipe here, see notes
- pita bread
- cucumber - sliced
- romaine - sliced
- red onion - sliced
- fresh herbs - such as dill, mint and parsley
- cherry tomatoes - halved
Prepare the sauce
- You can find the tzatziki sauce recipe here. I recommend making it ahead of time (or at least an hour ahead) and keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve to allow the flavor to infuse better into the yogurt.
Make the falafel
- Add the garlic to your food processor and pulse/process until broken down. Then, add the rest of the falafel ingredients (chickpeas, breadcrumbs, tahini, lemon, spices, salt, baking powder, parsley and onion).
- Process until smooth. A fine but coarse texture is ok, as long as there are no large pieces of chickpeas or red onion. Test the mixture by squeezing a small amount in between your fingers: it should stick/hold well!
- Use about 2 heaping tablespoons at a time to shape the mixture into 14-16 falafel. I like to create small balls, then gently press on them, they cook evenly that way.
- Warm up a large pan on medium-high heat with a little oil and cook the falafel for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Careful when flipping, they are delicate! You can also bake them in a preheated oven at 400º for 20 minutes flipping them halfway through.
- When ready to eat, then add the tzatziki sauce, falafel (2-4 per sandwich), fresh veggies and more fresh herbs over the pita bread, fold and enjoy!
- This Greek-style gyro is made using tzatziki sauce. You can find the sauce recipe on my blog. If you want to use a traditional tahini sauce or something else, then check out the blog post where I share more sauce options.
- Storage: enjoy the gyro sandwich right away once assembled. You can make the tzatziki sauce and even the falafel ahead and keep them in the fridge until ready to assemble.
- Customization: feel free to include other veggies or condiments in your gyro, such as pickled vegetables, olives, tahini, hummus and more. The blog post shares many more ideas, be sure to check them out!