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Greek panzanella salad. White bowl filled with Cedar's tzatziki sauce, cut red orange & yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped red onions, medium diced cucumber, roasted chickpeas, green pepper slices, chunks of feta cheese, lamb and beef gyro meat and toasted pita

Greek Panzanella Salad

  • Author: Katelyn


Fresh, crisp greek panzanella salad loaded with fresh veggies, feta cheese, gyro meat and tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar. A gyro platter in salad form!



For the gyro meat:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground beef (no more than 15% fat)
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram 
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Toasted pita:

  • 3 cups pita squares, cut from plain white pita
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Roasted chickpeas:

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and medium diced
  • 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on your preference
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 block of feta cheese (in brine), cut into large chunks ≈ 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers 
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • tzatziki (I used Cedar’s brand)


Prepare the Gyro meat a day in advance:

  1. Add 1 medium onion to a food processor and pulse until it is very finely chopped.
  2. Remove the onion and add to a clean, thin kitchen towel. Squeeze all of the liquid from the onion through the towel and into a bowl to discard.

    Woman's hand squeezing liquid from onion through orange kitchen towel into blue bowl with bag of yellow onions on the kitchen counter and white hexagonal backsplash

  3. Add the onion back to the food processor along with the minced garlic, ground beef, ground lamb, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  4. Process until you reach a paste-like consistency. 
    Ground lamb and ground beef processed with garlic onion rosemary marjoram salt and pepper in a food processor. Green rubber spatula
  5. Spread the mixture evenly into a 5 x 9 loaf pan
  6. Double line the outside of a brick with aluminum foil and set it on top of the meat. This should help pack everything in tightly and compress the meat slightly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
    brick sitting on top of aluminum foil on kitchen counter in front of a loaf pan full of ground lamb and ground beef mixture in front of food processor on white countertop and white hexagonal backsplashGround lamb and ground beef in a loaf pan covered with a brick wrapped in aluminum foil in front of a food processor on a white countertop with white hexagonal backsplash

Cook the gyro meat the day of:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Uncover the meat, remove the brick,  and place the loaf pan in the oven to cook for 75 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  3. While the meat is cooking, work on preparing the pita and chickpeas for roasting.
  4. When the meat reaches 165 degrees, remove the loaf pan from the oven and drain off the excess fat.
  5. Add the aluminum lined brick back to the top of the meat and place on a cooling rack to rest for 20 minutes. While the meat rests, roast the pita and chickpeas in the 325 degree oven.

Prepare the pita and chickpeas:

  1. Cut pita into squares. 
    Package of l'oven fresh white pita bread 5 count sitting on top of wood grain cutting boardPita bread cut into squares with chef knife on top of wood grain cutting board
  2. Toss with olive oil and salt and spread in an even layer on a sheet pan  
  3. Toss the chickpeas in olive oil, salt and oregano and spread in an even layer on a separate sheet pan 
  4. Roast the pita squares and chickpeas in the 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. They should go in the oven as soon as the meat comes out. 
  5. Toasted pita squares roasted with olive oil and salt on top of metal sheet pan    Roasted chickpeas with oregano, salt, and pepper on a metal sheet pan

Throw it all together: 

  1. Add the green pepper, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, and roasted chickpeas to a large bowl. Add a generous amount of olive oil and toss everything to combine. Splash with several dashes of red wine vinegar to taste. You can add a pinch of salt if desired, but the remember the gyro meat and feta are pretty salty on their own!
  2. Add the gyro meat and toasted pita and toss to combine. 
  3. Top the salad with large chunks of feta cheese and serve with a scoop of tzatziki sauce!



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