I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers. It’s not that I dislike this vegetable, either (strictly speaking, it’s actually a berry), but, there’s little more to it than, well, water, right? So I rarely buy them, except for some summery salads, for simple Indian- or Thai-style sides, and especially for tzatziki! I love tzatziki. And I love dipping food in yoghurty sauces, whether we’re speaking of Indian or Greek cuisine. If I’m honest, I hardly know anything about the latter, but of course I know gyros, dolmades, olives, spinach and lemony potatoes, which is everything you need for a fancy a Greek-style dinner!
This may sound like much food – it is! – but it’s far from being hard work to get this on your table. At least if you allow yourself cheat with ready-made vegan gyros (the supermarket across our street carries this, hurray), and tinned dolmades. Of course, you can opt for home-made ones. It’s doable. But filling all those grape leaves one by one sure is pretty labour-intensive, for one thing, and when using all the leaves from the jar, you’ll also end up with an enormous batch which can feed the entire neighbourhood (that could actually be fun, depending on your neighbours). I only made them once. And I obviously forgot to go easy on the salt, for it ruined the entire batch (there went my attempt to impress my mother-in-law-to-be for the first time with my cooking skills – right through the drain; although she was actually so nice as to eat them and pretend the salty taste wasn’t thát bad – it wás). That may have been my last attempt ever (I’m pretty happy with the tinned ones).
I usually don’t measure ingredients when making this, so I’ll just give indications below:
- pre-packaged gyros OR seitan
- gyros herbs (I use this brand, but you can also use a DIY-blend)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper (or more, if you start from scratch with seitan), cut into strips
Fry the onion slices in some olive oil until translucent, add the bell pepper strips – together with some gyros herbs – until they soften, and finally add the gyros. If using seitan, use more herbs.
Open the container and enjoy!
Same as the above!
- 1/3 – 1/2 cucumber
- unsweetened plain soy yoghurt
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Grate the cucumber. You can drain the liquid oozing from the cucumber, but I never do. Add yoghurt until the grated cucumber is fully covered. Bring to taste with some olive oil, lemon juice (careful here! a little at a time, and taste in between), garlic, salt and pepper.
I admit, this may not be Greek, but spinach is omnipresent in Greek cuisine, so I just added this :-).
- 1/2 onion
- chopped spinach
- plant-based cream
- salt, pepper, nutmeg and mint (fresh or dried)
- a splash of lemon juice
Fry the onion until translucent, then add the spinach. When the spinach has wilted, bring to taste with the remaining ingredients.
Lemony potatoes (or my own version of them)
- Some potatoes, suitable for frying. Cut in strips or sliced.
- Lemon juice (a couple of tablespoons, to taste)
- salt, oregano
Fry the potatoes with some olive oil in a skillet until they’re nicely browned and crispy on the outside (I don’t precook them, just fry them raw – it goes faster if you initially use a lid, which you remove once the potato slices are softening). Add the lemon juice, oregano and salt.