Seitan gyros satisfies protein needs and taste buds

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I really need to clean out my closet. Although it’s never been as organized or as neat as I would like, my closet lately has looked like a department store dressing room the weekend before the local high school Prom – completely wrecked.

Oh sure, my tops are all arranged by color on one rack and my skirts and pants are lined up according to length and color on the bottom rack, and that’s all good and well. But the rest of the closet? Sigh.

I know I am not alone in facing a cringe-worthy wardrobe jumble of shoes, purses, scrapbooking supplies that I never use anymore, and hats that I seldom wear. Entire books, entire websites and entire blogs address the issue of closet organization.

What brought on this realization that my closet is a messed-up microcosm? My new subscription to Stitch Fix. For those that don’t know, Stitch Fix is an online subscription service that provides a personal shopping experience for clothes and accessories.

Each month, I receive a box of five items selected for me by a stylist who knows my size and preferences. Even though I have not liked every item that was sent to me and I’ve returned more than I’ve purchased, getting my subscription box is almost like Christmas every month. It’s all about the anticipation.

Kind of like dinner anticipation. I like finding new recipes to try and going through the shopping, chopping and kitchen ballet of preparing them before finally sitting down to eat and enjoy. I guess it, too, is all about the anticipation. One of my goals this year is to explore protein alternatives to meat. Already we’ve dabbled in this area with eggs, broccoli, quinoa and peas, which are all good sources of protein. This month though, we are going to venture outside the box.

So, let’s talk about seitan. When I first heard of this non-meat protein, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to eat something that is pronounced just like the name of the red guy with the horns, tail and pitchfork.

Sometimes called the “wheat meat,” seitan is made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. This wheat gluten, or seitan, has historically been used as a meat alternative in China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian countries.

Because it has a similar look and texture to meat, seitan is a popular meat substitute for vegetarians, vegans and those whose religious beliefs require abstinence from meat. This week’s recipe is from the VegKitchen website.

With 18 grams of protein per three ounce serving, the seitan in these Greek-style gyros satisfies both my protein needs and my taste buds, too. Too bad it doesn’t organize closets.


Greek-style Seitan Gyros

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz. seitan, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 8 pita breads
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly shredded lettuce
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

Creamy Dill Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (dairy, soy, or coconut)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. seasoning blend (such as Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried, to taste

Directions:

In a 10 or 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until onion and garlic are just beginning to turn golden.

Add the seitan, oregano and cumin. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue to sauté until the seitan is golden and crisp on most sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Quarter the cucumber lengthwise, cut away seeds if watery, and slice. In a small bowl, combine the cucumber with the dressing and stir together.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl with 1/4 cup water and whisk together until smooth. Transfer to a lidded cruet or mason jar. Shake well before each use.

To assemble, place pitas on individual serving plates. Place lettuce over the surface of each pita, followed by the seitan, then the cucumber mixture. Arrange tomato slices down the center of each. To eat, fold the pitas like a soft taco and enjoy.

 

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Betty Williams