Food by VICE

Mini Lamb Gyros Recipe

Your favorite souvlaki, down-sized.

by Amanda Catrini
Jan 14 2019, 2:00pm

Photo by Heami Lee

Makes 20
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


for the pickled onions:
1 cup white vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

for the sauce:
1 ½ cups whole milk Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped mint
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the gyro:
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
⅓ cup minced parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 lemon, zested
5 pita pockets
Olive oil and canola oil, for frying
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded


1. Pickle the onions: Bring the white vinegar, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour the liquid over the thinly sliced red onion in a medium bowl and let cool completely. Pickled onions will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

2. Make the sauce: combine the Greek yogurt, mint, 2 cloves minced garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

3. Make the patties: Combine the ground lamb, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper, garlic, egg, onion, and lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Form into 20 balls (use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to keep size consistent. Each patty should use about two tablespoons of the meat mixture). Place balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and press down on each with a spatula to form patties.

4. Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut each pita pocket into quarters. Open each pocket and place on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted, 7 to 10 minutes.

5. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon each canola and olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the patties, flipping once, until brown and crispy, ___ minutes. Repeat with the rest of the patties, adding oil as needed.

6. Assemble the gyros: Spread some sauce on the inside bottom of each pita pocket quarter. Nestle a lamb patty into the pita and top with shredded lettuce and pickled onion. Serve with extra sauce on the side.