The first thing I ever ate when I moved to Germany was not sauerkraut, not any of the variety of brats the country has to offer, and not even the famous, delicious, pretzels. Nope, my flight from Chicago got in pretty late and we stopped at one of the many Döner Kebab shops that can be found on just about any/every street.
It was the first time I’d ever eaten it and my first thought was, “Oh it’s like a gyro.”
It is not just like a gyro, but it is similiar.
Anyway, I fell in love with this dish because I loved the combination of flavorful meat, cabbage slaw and all the different choices for spicy add-ons they give you. It. Was. My. Jam.
And then I went vegan and even though Berlin is the place to be for vegan foodies, I lived in Stuttgart. There were hardly any vegan restaurants, never mind vegan Döner shops, much to my dismay.
And then I learned how to make my own vegan gyro meat from seitan and the rest, as they say, is history.
So whenever I get a craving for vegan Döner or Shawarma, I make it myself.
There are three components to this dish: the vegan meat, the veggiegurt sauce and the pickled veggies.
The veggiegurt is simple: vegan yogurt, diced cucumber, dill, lemon juice & zest, and cumin. Put in a bowl and stir, refrigerate until you’re ready to start plating.
Then, there’s the pickled cabbage, which you don’t have to pickle. You can make a light dressing with vinegar and call it a day. I used red cabbage, grated carrots, fresh parsley, scallions and 1 clove of garlic, pressed. For a quick pickling, I used lemon juice, sugar, black pepper and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Toss it all together and set aside. If you want less crunchy veggies, salt them first and leave them for 10 minutes, and then add the lemon juice sugar mixture.
Get the recipe I used to make this style of seitan, here. It’s pretty simple but it does have to simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, so you should make it ahead of time.
Once it’s ready, it’s time to get a good sear on it döner and the onions. I used a water and soy sauce blend to cook this, but you can use oil too.
You can steam the kebab wraps or just pop them in a preheated oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and malleable.
Now it’s time for the fun part…plating. And eating!
You can add the cabbage right into the Döner or eat it on the side. Or both because let’s face it, we can all use a bit of fresh veggies in our lives each day.
Top with vegan tzatziki sauce and get your nom-nom on!