Souvlaki is a popular fast food meat skewer from Greece. It can be eaten alone, thrown on a pita, or covered in a red sauce. If served on a pita, it is often accompanied by fried potatoes, sliced tomato and tzatziki sauce, a yogurt-based sauce with cucumber, garlic and herbs.
This recipe for vegan souvlaki has marinated grilled tempeh, creamy vegan tzatziki sauce, fried potatoes and sliced tomatoes. The tempeh needs time to marinate overnight for best flavor, but the rest of the recipe comes together quickly. This recipe makes 4-6 pitas–depending on how generous you are with distributing toppings!
A few notes…
- ・Steaming tempeh removes any bitterness and makes it receptive to soaking up flavor.
- ・After you pulverize the cucumber in a food processor, drain off any excess water and pat the cucumber with a paper towel. The more moisture you remove, the creamier your sauce will be.
- ・Tempeh does not need to grill to a certain temperature or for a specific length of time. It grills quickly, so keep an eye on it.
- ・Gluten free? Use a gluten free pita, and you’re set!
- ・I like to eat my pitas with a fork and knife, so I usually don’t stuff them. Do what feels right to you!
Now, let’s go make a delicious Greek inspired pita!
Tempeh Souvlaki Pita
Greek Tempeh Marinade:
1 lb (OR two 8 ounce packages) tempeh, cubed
⅓ cup sliced white onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
⅓ cup soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp garlic powder
Vegan Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup English cucumber, pulsed in food processor and patted dry with a paper towel
1 cup vegan sour cream + 1 tsp lemon juice (OR 1 cup plain unsweetened vegan yogurt)
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
½-1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
3 medium red potatoes, sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium tomato, sliced
Fresh parsley, optional (to top)
1. Add 1 inch of water to a large pot and then, add a steamer basket to it. Cover the pot with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Add the tempeh cubes to the steamer basket. Cover the pot, and steam for 7 minutes.
2. While the tempeh is steaming, add everything else listed under “Greek Tempeh Marinade” to a sealable container. Mix well.
3. When the tempeh is done steaming, add it to the marinade. Stir the tempeh in the marinade until well coated. Seal with the lid and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
4. When the tempeh is done marinating, it’s time to make the vegan tzatziki sauce. Add everything listed under “Vegan Tzatziki Sauce” in a mixing bowl and combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings (more salt? more garlic powder?). Set aside.
5. In a non-stick skillet, add the sliced red potatoes and 2 tsp olive oil. Flipping occasionally, fry the potatoes for 7-10 minutes or until they are crispy, browned and cooked through. Set aside.
6. Preheat your grill to ~400º F. Line a grill-proof pan with non-stick aluminum foil. Skewer the tempeh, and then, place it in the lined pan. When all the tempeh is skewered, drizzle the kebabs with olive oil and move them around to coat them. Keep the marinade.
7. Place the grill-proof pan on the grill and close the lid. Grill at 400º F for 5 minutes, and then, flip the skewers over. Grill for another 3 minutes or until the skewers are charred to your preference. Remove from the grill. Brush the kebabs with the marinade or sprinkle them with some additional soy sauce.
8. Assemble the vegan souvlaki pitas. Layer some fried potatoes, tomato slices, marinated grilled tempeh on top of a pita. Cover with vegan tzaziki sauce, and then, sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.