This vegan Meatball Gyros with Creamy Cashew Tzatziki recipe is an exclusive from Megan Sadd’s cookbook Vegan YUM: The Secrets to Mastering Plant-Based Cooking. Click here to find out where you can purchase a copy of the book.
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Megan Sadd has spent nearly her entire life studying plant-based cuisine to discover the best, most satisfying and delicious ways of cooking vegan food. In this cookbook, she shares all of her secrets. We’ve got comfort foods―hello Crispy Southern Chickpea Sandwiches and Meat Lover’s BBQ Pulled Jackfruit with Avocado Slaw. We’ve got masterpieces, like Spring Linguine with King Oyster Scallops, where every bite will have you saying, “Yuuumm!” And best of all, a whole chapter is dedicated to Megan’s signature cheeses and meals stuffed with ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. Just wait till you try her Smoky Gouda Melt, Pesto Mac ‘n’ Cheese or Roasted Vegetable Romanesco Lasagna―you’ll think you’ve died and gone to foodie heaven.
Besides a huge variety of weeknight-friendly meals and Megan’s stunning photography with every recipe, each chapter begins with beautiful illustrated reference pages to help you master plant-based cooking. This is more than a great recipe book. It’s an inspiring and instructive ode to flavor that will revolutionize the way you cook.
These meatball gyros are juicy, full of flavor and made with pea-based vegan ground “beef.” Vegan ground beef gives off more fat when cooking than regular beef, so developing a crust on the meatballs before finishing them in the oven helps to lock in the moisture and flavor. Save time by using Violife feta, or make your own with the recipe on page 62.
- Cooking spray
- ⅓ small yellow onion, very finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1 lb (454 g) vegan ground beef
- ¼ cup (23 g) mint leaves, finely chopped
- 4 oz (113 g) vegan feta, finely diced
- (store-bought or page 62)
- 2 tbsp (14 g) breadcrumbs or gluten- free breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp (4 g) ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Creamy Cashew Tzatziki
- 1 cup (160 g) raw cashews, soaked for 6+ hours or boiled for 10 minutes
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice, plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 large cucumber, grated
- ¼ cup (13 g) dill
- ¼ cup (15 g) parsley, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup (23 g) mint leaves, finely chopped
- 4 pitas
- 1 cup (149 g) small tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Spray a large pan with cooking oil and place it over medium heat. When the pan is hot, cook the onion and garlic for 1 to
2 minutes, until softened, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- In large bowl, combine the vegan ground beef, mint, feta, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes. Mix until evenly combined. Use a melon scooper to portion 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls, then roll them tightly in your hands.
- Place the pan back over medium heat. Spray with cooking oil, then add the meatballs. Cook until a thick crust forms on the meatballs, turning them frequently, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. Combine the cashews, water, lemon juice and salt in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Taste the cream. Add more salt or lemon juice if the cream needs a bit more tang to achieve a yogurt-like flavor. Transfer the cream to a bowl. Stir in the cucumber, dill, parsley and mint. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- When the meatballs have a nice crust, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Warm the pitas and halve the tomatoes. Wrap several meatballs, tomatoes and a large scoop of tzatziki in a warm pita.
Whole-Food Plant-Based Option
- Line a baking sheet. Omit the vegan feta. Instead, mix 2 tablespoons (14 g) of ground flaxseed with 5 tablespoons (75 ml) of water.
- Replace the vegan ground beef with 1½ cups (297 g) of cooked or canned brown lentils and ⅓ cup (35 g) of walnuts. Pulse the lentils, walnuts, onion and garlic in a food processor until well combined but still a little chunky.
- In a bowl, combine the lentil mixture, flaxseed and water mixture and ¼ cup (27 g) of breadcrumbs with the mint and seasonings.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls.
- Put the balls directly on the lined baking sheet and into the oven. Don’t brown on the stove first or they will fall apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, turning the meatballs halfway through, until crisp on the outside and cooked through.
Reprinted with permission from Vegan YUM by Megan Sadd, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Megan Sadd
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