I can’t even tell you how excited I am about these Gluten Free Gyro Bowls!!!
BUT can I be really honest with you for a second?! My writing flow is just not currently flowing. I want you to be blown away by this recipe and have the strong urge to go make it right now! If you are a writer of any kind – or even can remember from writing school papers – you can relate to that writer’s block feeling, right? Ugh I hate that term, it’s usually used in a way that makes it sound like a sickness. “I came down with a case of writer’s block today, so I am sitting on the couch watching TV until I am feeling better.” Okay, maybe people aren’t really that extreme about it, but you get what I am saying, right? The thing is, writer’s block is a real thing. There are times when the writing just flows without resistance, the backspace key is rarely used – and those times are wonderful, they are the moments that every writer lives and breathes for, you feel on top of the world. The other times when the words aren’t flowing so effortlessly you sit there, your mind is blank. You write a sentence that feels forced and fake, then you delete it. You sigh, look out the window and get distracted and you watch the squirrel and think about the tree and anything but what you are supposed to be writing about. No! Focus! I have to write this thing, it needs to be done today!!! So you try again, but it still doesn’t flow. I find the best thing is to get outside and go for a walk, get the blood flowing – meditation has been my go to lately, to clear the racket in my mind. 90% of the time it works, especially when I am writing about food, I almost always know what to say.
Right now, all my sleep deprived mind wants to tell you about these Gluten Free Gyro Bowls is that they were delicious, you should make them! Which is true, but that’s not very convincing, or entertaining, or relatable at all. And so here I am telling you about how I am having resistance to writing, this recipe that I dreamed up and was excited to share with you for so long – that I tested and photographed – and did a happy dance when I tried the first bite – it just doesn’t seem to want to show off for you in writing form. I know this is not what you came to this blog to read about – but isn’t a blog supposed to be journal like, a little raw once in a while – not always polished and shiny? So there you have it, here is the not-so-always-glamorous side of blogging. I’m not complaining – okay maybe a little – but the reason I decided to spew out my current feelings is so that you writers, bloggers out there can relate to this frustrating time that is sometimes part of the process of being a writer – to know that we are not alone.
Literally, as I said before I can’t tell you how excited I am about these Gluten Free Gyro Bowls.
But let me give it a try, because that’s what a food blog is about, right?
Gyros are one of my favorite foods, all the creamy, garlicky tzatziki sauce, the salty kalamata olives, the greasy lamb gyro meat all stuffed in a fluffy pita pocket. Yum, right? If you haven’t noticed, I really enjoy all the Greek flavors. Examples: Easy Greek Salmon Salad, Greek Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, and Greek Sweet Potato Boats. But I have yet to tackle the gyro. I have no idea how to make that sinful lamb meat they usually use, and pita pockets are usually not gluten free. So, why not make a deconstructed gyro in a bowl, with meat balls, and gluten free pasta?! Genius, if you ask me.
That creamy, garlicky, cucumber-y tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt, because that’s a given, is slightly warmed and mixed in with the freshly cooked gluten free pasta. The meatballs have plenty of fresh chopped mint which adds a nice freshness, grated red onion, garlic, and a little cinnamon. We use rice Chex mix that we have blitzed in our food processor to make gluten free bread crumbs – works really well – then we pan fry the meatballs for a little crispy char on the outside. They are tender, moist, and really flavorful! For the meatballs you can use either ground beef or ground lamb. I highly, highly suggest the ground lamb if you can get your hands on it, but in a pinch or if you don’t enjoy lamb, ground beef works just as well.
Then we top the Gluten Free Gyro Bowls with all the lovely Greek veggie fixings: cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and some thinly sliced red onion. There you have it, all the gyro flavors, textures and feels inside a bowl! It’s a beautiful thing my friends!
- TZATZIKI SAUCE:
- 1 seedless cucumber, peeled
- 2 cups plain, fat free Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons dried dill (or sub 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup gluten free rice Chex mix cereal (or sub gluten free bread crumbs)
- ½ red onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup fresh mint, packed, chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pound ground lamb (or sub ground beef)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- FOR THE BOWLS:
- Gluten free spaghetti
- Kalamata olives, pitted
- thinly sliced red onion (can use remainder of red onion leftover from meatballs)
- tomatoes, sliced (I like cherry or grape tomatoes the best, but any kind you prefer)
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (get the kind in a block and crumble it yourself, more flavor)
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- TZATZIKI SAUCE:
- Grate the peeled seedless cucumber using the large holes on box grater. Place the grated cucumber in a strainer that is resting over a bowl. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Allow the cucumber to hang out and release as much of it's liquid while you prepare everything else.
- Moving on to the meatballs while the cucumber drains. Use a food processor to pulse the chex mix rice cereal into fine breadcrumbs. NOTE: make sure you measure the ½ cup after you grind the cereal, not before. Remove the chex mix bread crumbs from the food processor into a large mixing bowl, set aside.
- To the now empty food processor (no need to clean it out) add the red onion and the garlic cloves. Pulse until the onion and garlic are finely minced.
- To the large mixing bowl with the bread crumbs add the minced red onion and garlic, chopped mint, sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon, and the ground lamb/beef.
- Using clean hands gently mix everything together until it's well incorporated.
- Use a large ice cream/cookie scoop to scoop the meat into same sized balls and place them on a cookie sheet or a platter. Once they are all scooped use your hands to shape them into more uniform balls.
- Place the meatballs in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. This helps them to hold their shape while cooking.
- At this point you should begin to bring your pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Make sure to salt the water well.
- TZATZIKI SAUCE:
- Returning to the tzatziki sauce use a spoon to press any remaining moister in the cucumber through the strainer. To a medium mixing bowl add the shredded cucumber, Greek yogurt, dill, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until everything is well combined. Set aside.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Just before you are ready to cook the meatballs heat the oil.
- Cook the meatballs for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until there is a nice char on the outside and the center is cooked (some pink in the center is how I preferred mine, but cook longer if you prefer yours well done). You may need to cook the meatballs in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.
- Once cooked remove the meatballs and cover with foil to keep warm. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
- FOR THE BOWLS:
- While the meatballs are cooking work on chopping your veggies if you haven't already done that. Also cook your pasta at this time, according to package instructions.
- Heat tzatziki sauce gently in the microwave, doesn't need to be hot, just a little warmed through. Place some of your cooked spaghetti in your serving dish. Toss it with a little of the warm tzatziki sauce.
- Top the pasta with 3 to 4 meatballs and the veggies and feta cheese as desired. Top with another dollop of warm tzatziki sauce.
- Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in separate containers.
It’s pretty challenging to create a nutrition label for a recipe like this. I didn’t include measurements for the pasta or the veggies because it’s a create-your-own kind of meal. I encourage you to adjust the amounts of pasta, and the veggies to your liking as you are assembling your bowl. 🙂