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
- 3 cups pita squares, cut from plain white pita
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 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:
- Add 1 medium onion to a food processor and pulse until it is very finely chopped.
- 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.
- Add the onion back to the food processor along with the minced garlic, ground beef, ground lamb, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
- Process until you reach a paste-like consistency.
- Spread the mixture evenly into a 5 x 9 loaf pan.
- 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.
Cook the gyro meat the day of:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- 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.
- While the meat is cooking, work on preparing the pita and chickpeas for roasting.
- When the meat reaches 165 degrees, remove the loaf pan from the oven and drain off the excess fat.
- 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:
- Cut pita into squares.
- Toss with olive oil and salt and spread in an even layer on a sheet pan
- Toss the chickpeas in olive oil, salt and oregano and spread in an even layer on a separate sheet pan
- 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.
Throw it all together:
- 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!
- Add the gyro meat and toasted pita and toss to combine.
- Top the salad with large chunks of feta cheese and serve with a scoop of tzatziki sauce!