4.24.2008

Grilled Steak Gyros with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa and Cucumber Sour Cream Sauce


Some foods are best when purchased from a local joint on a street corner. Philly Cheesesteaks. Chili dogs. Thin crust pizza. Cheese fries. The other day I saw one of those faded posters of a gyros as I was driving by an old restaurant. Can I make a gyros as tasty and tempting as that rundown-looking place? The challenge was on!

A gyros is pita sandwich with meat (typically pork, lamb, beef, chicken, or a combinations of meats) and tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki - a yogurt and cucumber sauce. Having grown up in Chicago, gyros were available on lots of street corners. I remember the huge skewers of lamb hanging in the windows of many a restaurants.

I like gyros because by eating one, you are covering many of the basic food groups in the Food Pyramid in a single sandwich. Meat category (beef) - check. Grain category (pita) - check. Fruit and vegetables category (tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers) - check. Dairy category (sour cream) - check. This new Food Pyramid looks different than the one I knew from 30 years ago in elementary school. What the heck?! It includes categories for Physical Activity and Discretionary Calories i.e. junk food. That is not the Food Pyramid of the 1970s. I think the gyros does a pretty good job covering the foods I need to eat relatively healthy.

My gyros dinner fit well with our evening. It was a pretty typical night at our house. Lacrosse practice at 6 p.m. Softball game at 6 p.m. When does dinner fit into that schedule? I marinated the steak earlier in the day and grilled it up right before we left for our evening’s events. Covered it with foil and headed out the door. When we got home a couple hours later, I sliced up the steak super thin, gently heated it on low power in the microwave and piled it into a pita with a fresh tomato basil salsa and cucumber sour cream sauce.


The reviews came rolling in. We all enjoyed the steak even if we had it different ways. The meal lends itself to our varying tastes. A couple kids - No Thank You Boy and My Middle One - ate just the steak with a side of fresh salsa and tortilla chips. The Husband spiced it up with a little Tabasco. My Oldest and I ate ours as traditional gyros. "Very flavorful meat. I can't wait for the leftovers tomorrow," commented The Husband. "More steak for me," said No Thank You Boy.

Full stomachs = Happy family.

Grilled Steak Gyros with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa and Cucumber Sour Cream Sauce

serves 5 with leftovers

5 pitas
1 sirloin steak, about 2 pounds
1 large vadalia onion, chopped, about 2 cups
4 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt


Cucumber sour cream sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 kirby cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash of salt
dash of pepper


Fresh tomato basil salsa
about 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 kirby cucumbers, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
8 – 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
drizzle of olive oil
dash of salt
dash of pepper


For the marinade, combine the onion, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, cumin, oregano, sugar, pepper, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until onion is finely diced and all ingredients are mixed well. Place steak in a large resealable bag and add marinade. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours; about 4 hours would be good.

For the cucumber sour cream sauce, combine the sour cream, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the fresh tomato salsa, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a grill to high. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill for about 6 – 7 minutes per side or until medium rare. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes. After resting period, slice steak very thinly.

For each gyros, pile a pita with the sliced steak, tomato basil salsa, and cucumber sour cream sauce. Serve with plenty of napkins.

6 comments:

Grace said...

oh, i love gyros. something about that unique blend of spices is irresistible to me and i usually can't walk by a place emitting that aroma without stopping.

so you grew up in chicago--any suggestions for a nice dinner in the area around mccormick place?

Robin Sue said...

My mouth started to water when I say that picture. Wow those look great.

Katie said...

That looks soo delicious. All my favorite things!

Krysta said...

Must. Have. Now. I've been looking for a recipe for gyros and this looks perfect.

candace said...

This. Looks. Great!

Glad you're back to posting; hope all is well!

EAT! said...

candace - thanks and me too. lots of personal cheffing going on at EAT! these days but I am back!