If you're cutting back on meat but adore the flavors of a Greek gyro, we have a solution for you. One marvelous ingredient will help you make a highly savory, vegetarian version of this world-class dish. Enter, the portobello mushroom. Grilled, baked whole, or minced, portobello mushrooms make fantastic meat substitutes in a range of dishes. Turn them into meat-free patties for plant-based burgers, add to veggie ragus, or stir through vegan risottos. No matter how you use them, they're a versatile, low-budget fungi with heaps of flavor.
But why are portobello mushrooms in particular such a superb ingredient for lending your veggie gyros a super savory edge? Well, mushrooms are one of the few foods that naturally contain glutamate — the clever stuff that produces that meaty, umami taste that's also found in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and green tea. This umaminess lends dishes a rounder, satisfying flavor. The texture of portobellos also mimics the hearty mouthfeel of tender strips of lamb because of their dense quality. And let's be honest, it's a lot easier to prep mushrooms for veggie gyros than to set up a vertical rotisserie at home to make thin shavings of roasted meat.
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Which Flavors Work Well With Mushroom Gyros?
To make vegetarian mushroom gyros, remove the gills from the base of your portobellos, cut them into thick slices, and coat them in typical Greek flavors, such as lemon, garlic, marjoram, and dill. Then fry the mushroom caps until deliciously tender before piling onto a warmed pita with a dollop of cooling tzatziki and a handful of fresh salad. We also like to add feta, which lends a salty hit and creamy texture. You could even add a dash of chili flakes to amp up the heat or sprinkle in more Mediterranean herbs, such as oregano or rosemary, for an appetizing aroma.
Can't get your hands on portobellos? Other varieties of mushrooms that have a meaty structure work, too. King oyster mushrooms, for example, are an excellent choice because they have a meat-like texture that tastes a lot like chicken. The umami notes in these mushrooms work as a flavor enhancer that also boosts satiety, making them a hearty vegetarian alternative to filling chicken gyros. You could even experiment with enoki mushrooms, which have long slender stems and are sold in fine bunches. When cooked, their stringy texture is said to mimic the fall-apart, tender texture of pulled pork and chicken. With so many mushroom varieties, you have countless choices when it comes to making the ultimate veggie gyro.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.