These vegan chickpea gyros are so amazing! Featuring spiced baked chickpeas, tons of fresh crunchy veggies and a tzatziki sauce (Greek cucumber yogurt sauce). Great for meal-prep and easy-to-make!
One of my earliest recipe that I made for the blog is this vegan tzatziki sauce that I still, by the way, make regularly. And I get so many good messages from readers about it!
We use this Greek-style yogurt sauce to dip in falafel, smother generously in chickpea burgers, simply scoop out of the bowl using pita wedges and now these vegan chickpea gyros, it absolutely calls for all the tzatziki, of course!
These gyros are SO delicious and combine pita bread, fresh veggies such as cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and crunchy romaine and a heaping serving of fresh lemony tzatziki sauce.
But where is the gyro meat, you may ask? Gyros typically are a heavy-in-meat kind of sandwich, but really, you won't miss it in this recipe, I promise! There is just so much going on in there with tons of texture and a lot of aromatics included, no need for meat at all✌️.
The key ingredient is the oven roasted spiced chickpeas. They provide that chewy and hearty deliciousness to balances the other ingredients and sorta replace the meat. You can simply toss them over a baking sheet with a few spices, then bake them while prepping the veggies. Super easy, quick and they are so flavorful, you will want to eat them straight from the pan.
And I actually find these gyros pretty easy to prepare. They make for a lovely dinner or lunch recipe you can meal-prep ahead and that any meat-lover or big appetite kind of person will enjoy. I highly recommend making the tzatziki beforehand so the flavors intensify and the gyros will come together quickly when it is time to eat.
Hope you guys give it a try!
What's to love about this recipe
- Easier to make than it seems!
- Filled with flavorful middle-Eastern spices
- SUPER filling
- The chickpeas, all the veggies and the whole wheat bread makes this meal super high-in-fiber, packed with vitamins and fairly rich in plant-based protein too
- Loaded with yummy hydrating cucumber (both in the gyro and the sauce!) that makes this robust wrap feel very fresh and lighter
- Fun hand-held portable meal!
- Vegan, dairy-free and can easily be made gluten-free
What is a gyro?
A gyro consists of a Mediterranean wrap made of pita bread, meat, fresh vegetables and some garlic sauce or tzatziki sauce. Typically made with pork in Greece, but also other kind of meats (and usually a mix of different kinds) such as chicken, lamb or beef in other countries.
As a fun fact, the word "Gyro" means to "turn" in Greek and refers to the meat cooking in a vertical rotisserie while spinning. The small pieces of meat are shaved while it spins, thus the origin of the name.
This gyro definitely do not follow a classic recipe since it is made completely vegetarian, but other than being meat-free, the rest of the gyro is pretty close to the traditional sandwich with the veggies, garlic-dill-tzatziki sauce and Mediterranean spices.
Ingredients you'll need
- Pita bread: I love using these whole wheat pita bread when making this recipe. They are soft and fluffy, which works great to fold the gyros when eating them.
- Chickpeas: canned chickpeas are great here, but you can of course cook your own chickpeas from scratch to make this recipe.
- Spices: I used a mix of cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon and salt, but there are lots of ways you can flavor the chickpeas (see below!).
- Fresh veggies: such as cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, crunchy lettuce.
- Tzatziki sauce: made with vegan yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs and shredded cucumber. This sauce is pretty much essential when making a gyro as it brings SO MUCH flavor, plus a fresh, cold and crisp addition to the wrap.
How to make vegan chickpea gyros
Prepare the tzatziki sauce
I recommend making the sauce ahead of time: it will allow time for the tzatziki to build up more flavor and will make dinner super quick to prepare later. If you want to make this recipe a little easier, then you can also find vegan tzatziki in some grocery stores such as this vegan tzatziki from Kite Hill sold at Whole Foods Market.
Roast the chickpeas
Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
Rinse and drain well the can of chickpeas, then transfer over to a baking sheet.
Spray a little oil over the chickpeas, add all the spices including salt and then stir the chickpeas around until all covered with the spices.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, then stir and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
You can also pan fry the chickpeas instead of using the oven. Check out this sautéed chickpea recipe to learn how to make them.
While the chickpeas are roasting, prepare the veggies and other filling ingredients.
Build the gyro
When ready to eat, lay a pita bread on a plate and add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion over. Then, add some of the chickpeas and a few dollops of the tzatziki. Serve with a side of lemon to add more zesty flavor as needed.
Watch how to make them
- You can warm up the pita bread before serving, which will also soften it a bit. To do it, wrap the pita (or as many as you need, just pile them) in aluminum foil and warm up for a few minutes in the same heated oven you used to roast the chickpeas.
- To limit the mess when eating these gyros, you can wrap one of the ending with aluminum foil or parchment paper to keep the filling from leaking out while holding it.
- You can very easily switch up the spices to make the chickpeas. Try chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper (for a little heat), etc. I love using smoked paprika as it adds a deeper flavor. But, you really cannot go wrong, just experiment with what you have!
More vegan gyro filling ideas
The classic gyro filling ingredients are cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and tzatziki. But, there are much more ingredients that you can use depending on what you like. In any case, try including lots of crunchy ingredients as they pair well with the creamy sauce and hearty chickpeas. Here are other ideas to try:
- Kalamata olives
- Hummus or baba ganoush
- Green onions
- Harissa dressing
- Red pepper
- Vegan feta cheese
- Fresh dill or mint
- Red chimichurri sauce
- Roasted mushrooms, eggplant or cauliflower
- French fries (yes, classic gyros are stuffed with french fries!)
- Dill pickles or marinated vegetables such as these pickled red onions
- A drizzle of tahini sauce
As for the main protein, if you are not a fan of chickpeas, then try instead:
- Roasted tofu or tempeh. This smoky tofu or pan-fried tempeh would work well in this pita wrap.
- Falafel would also be a classic filling for a vegan gyros.
- Jackfruit would bring a nice "meaty" texture for your gyros as well, although not much protein. Try making them with this jackfruit shawarma recipe!
- You can also buy seitan already marinated and super flavorful that would definitely boost the protein content of your meal. Just slice and roast in a pan before serving.
Once you build the gyro, then try to enjoy right away. The sauce and watery veggies will turn the bread soggy pretty quickly and the gyro will break apart while you hold and eat it.
But as recommended, try to make the tzatziki sauce ahead of time. Just keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to use. You can also make the chickpeas ahead or keep the leftovers covered in the fridge for a few days.
You could also pre-slice the veggies, especially if you want to make a quick lunch during a busy week.
These vegan gyros are a classic served with a side of French fries or sweet potato fries. I think they would pair very well with lemon miso potatoes as well.
To keep your meal a little lighter, then serve with a salad on the side such as vegan watermelon feta salad, kale salad or a fruity Waldorf salad. Also, similarly to this healthy red lentil pasta salad, you can toss the veggies with some of the tzatziki sauce with cooked pasta for a delicious Mediterranean pasta salad full of flavors.
If you don't feel like a sandwich, then make yourself a vegan gyro bowl! Simply layer rice, the spiced chickpeas, veggies, lettuce and generously garnish with the tzatziki sauce.
The chickpeas and tzatziki sauce are naturally gluten-free. So, using GF pita bread is all you need to make these vegan gyros completely GF.
Naan are soft pillowy bread that would work so well to make a gyro. The only thing is that naan bread often is made using cream, milk and even some so look for a vegan naan recipe. You could also make your own vegan naan bread!
More Mediterranean recipes you might like
- Vegan Mediterranean tray bake
- Vegan feta cheese
- Falafel buddha bowl with tahini sauce
- Avocado green goddess dressing
- Roasted vegetable hummus pasta
- Broccoli hummus
More vegan sandwich recipes to try
- Chickpea oat burgers
- Mashed chickpea avocado sandwich
- Tofu scramble breakfast sandwich
- Balsamic tofu wraps
- Buffalo tofu "chicken" sandwich
- Beet and pickle sandwich
- Black bean burritos
I hope you like these vegan gyros as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Chickpea Gyros
For the chickpeas
- 15 oz canned chickpeas - rinsed and drained
- ½ tsp paprika - sweet or smoked (or chili powder)
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- oil spray or olive oil
For the gyros
- 3-4 pita flatbread
- cherry tomatoes - sliced
- cucumber - sliced
- red onion - sliced
- lettuce - roughly chopped
1 batch of Tzatziki sauce
- Try making the vegan tzatziki sauce ahead of time so the flavors intensify and also, it will make dinner time super quick and easy.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Then, add the chickpeas to a baking sheet. Spray some oil over (optional) and then add all the spices with the salt. Stir the chickpeas so they are all covered with the spices. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes stirring halfway through.
- While the chickpea are baking, prepare all the veggies.
- Once ready to eat, simply layer the lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, roasted spiced chickpeas over a pita bread. Then generously smother the tzatziki over and enjoy right away!
- Once you build the gyro, try enjoying right away. The sauce and veggies can turn the pita soggy and your wrap may fall apart while eating.
- You can warm up the pita bread by wrapping them in foil and heating in the oven you used to roast the chickpeas for a few minutes or until warm up to your liking.
- If you prefer, you can also buy store-bought vegan tzatziki sauce at the store to save you a step, although a freshly made tzatziki is significantly better in flavor.
- More filling ideas includes kalamata olives, roasted veggies (cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini), more fresh herbs, French fries, pickled onions, etc.