There’s not much of a difference when you take a first look at the Greek Gyro and Turkish Doner Kebab as they look the same.
Their meat is shaved off from a vertical rotisserie, topped with vegetables, and then wrapped in a flatbread.
However, even though these street foods look so similar, they are quite different. Their differences range from the meat used to sauces, vegetables, toppings, and flatbread.
This article explores the differences that make the doner kebab different from the gyro and how to make them healthier.
What is a doner kebab?
Doner kebab is a popularly known fast food dish that mainly consists of diced seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
The seasoned meat cooks as it slowly turns on the rotisserie, close to a vertical cooking heat source. The dish maker then uses a knife to shave off meat from the outer layer of the meat while it cooks.
Vertical rotisseries, invented in the 19th century, have also been used to prepare dishes like gyros, Canadian donair, shawarma, and Mexican al pastor.
Common ingredients used in preparing the doner kebab include:
- Pide or Pita Bread
- Chicken or veal
- Spicy ketchup
- Tzatziki sauce
- Garlic mayo
- Mayo herbs
- White onions
- Iceberg lettuce
- Feta cheese
Other meats used to sometimes make the doner kebab include beef, lamb, and pork (rarely).
What is a gyro?
Gyros is a fast food dish that originated in Greece and is made using meat that was prepared by a vertical rotisserie, wrapped or stuffed in Pita Bread.
Other ingredients used in making the gyro include Tzatziki sauce, onion, tomato, and fried potatoes. Gyros are also normally made using pork, with chicken serving as an alternative sometimes.
However, other countries prepare their gyros using lamb or beef as their preferred meat choice.
Toppings used when preparing the gyro include onions, red cabbage, and tomatoes.
The tzatziki sauce is the primary sauce used in making the gyro. It consists of garlic, yogurt, salt, cucumbers, olive oil, and other ingredients.
The tzatziki sauce is sometimes mixed with hot sauce to make the gyro spicy.
What are the differences between doner kebab and gyro?
Unlike doner kebab, Greek gyros do not make use of a garlic sauce. They however make use of a small amount of tzatziki sauce.
Despite being wrapped foods that contain mainly grilled meat, they differ in the way they are prepared and the ingredients they contain.
Doner kebabs are mostly prepared with chicken or lamb meat and may contain a mayo-like dressing inside them. Turkish immigrants in other countries may also make use of beef or veal as a suitable meat alternative.
Wrapping the meat is usually pide (a thick Turkish flatbread baked with feta cheese, mozzarella, parsley, and nigella seeds), and is then topped with some chopped onions and tomatoes.
Pita Bread can also be used to serve as an alternative for the Turkish pide.
Gyros, however, are commonly prepared using Greek Pita bread which is much thinner than the Turkish pide.
It also makes use of the famous tzatziki sauce and mostly comes with French fries and hot sauce. The preferred choice of meat for the Greek gyros is pork and/or veal.
Is doner kebab healthy?
Yes, when made using chicken, doner kebab is healthy and possesses many benefits like increasing metabolism, reducing the risk of cancer, and being a great source of protein.
Using chicken to prepare your doner kebab is a great option as it delivers a lot of lean protein which is essential in the process of body growth. Also, if you’re undergoing weight management, chicken doner kebab is a great option.
The Turkish pide or Pita bread used in wrapping the kebab is also rich in nutrients as they provide fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Adding more salad as filling to your doner kebab also enriches your body with vitamins.
Another way by which you can make your doner kebab healthier is by modifying it into a vegetarian dish.
To make a vegetarian doner kebab, replace meat like beef or lamb with minced chickpea. This is also known as a shish kebab (Pita bread and salad only).
You can also replace beef or lamb meat with fish or chicken which are much healthier options. Reduce the mayo sauce or cheese to also make your doner kebab healthier.
Nutritional Benefits of Doner Kebab
For a small serving of doner kebab, you can find the following nutritional values:
- Calories – 750
- Sodium – 1800g
- Fat – 47g
- Protein – 30g
- Carbohydrates – 30g
- Fiber – 2g
Is the Greek gyro healthy?
Although the protein-rich gyro offers nutritional benefits, it also contains saturated fat and cholesterol that pose health risks.
A gyro serving that uses lamb meat, contains about 217 calories if served with 100 grams of meat. Also, it would contain protein and fats.
Lamb meat lacks carbs, making it keto-friendly and great for weight management diets. Additionally, lamb meat is rich in minerals and vitamins. However, they also contain a great deal of saturated fat which is responsible for increased cholesterol levels in the blood.
Excessively eating gyros will not only increase cholesterols level but may lead to inflammation, heart diseases, and other health conditions like diabetes.
How can you make your gyro healthier?
You can make your gyro by avoiding red meat and using white meat as a replacement since white meat contains a lesser amount of fat.
The use of white meat like turkey or chicken is suitable for a healthier gyro dish.
Additionally, do not add condiments to your gyro if you wish to cut back on the calories. Instead of purchasing commercially produces tzatziki sauce, make one yourself that gives you control over the ingredients used to ensure it is healthy.
Also, adding various vegetables as toppings to your gyro will make it much healthier than the average gyro you purchase on the streets.
How do you make doner kebab?
To make your doner kebab in the comfort of your home, simply follow these steps;
- Put the chopped lamb into a large bowl, and season it with egg, ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, ground coriander, and garlic.
- Oil a pan, place the seasoned meat mixture in it, then fry till it is ready.
- Spead the cooked meat on pide or pita bread and top it with your vegetables (lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato).
- Add your sauces (mayo sauce, tzatziki sauce, etc.).
- Wrap the ingredients with the pide or pita and heat it till it becomes firm.
- Your doner kebab is ready to be served.
How do you make gyro?
To make gyros, cut meat into thin, round, flat slices, then season them. Spices used in seasoning your meat may include oregano, thyme, cumin, rosemary, etc. You can either shape your pieces of meat like an inverted cone or stack them on a tall vertical rotisserie with a spit.
The rotisserie slowly turns in front of a heat source and cooks your meat. The edges of the meat are then sliced into thin shavings when done. You can increase or decrease the rate of the meat roasting by adjusting the intensity of the heat and the rotation of the spit.
Now, add your shaved meat to your pita bread, add your vegetables, then top it with the tzatziki sauce before rolling the bread.
The gyro is customarily served in Greece using an oiled, lightly grilled pita bread which is filled with chopped onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce. Sometimes, mustard or ketchup is added to the mix.
Is gyro good for weight management?
Gyro is great for weight management when made with lamb meat. Lamb meat is proteinous and at the same time low in calories. However, your gyro’s fat content is higher and should be eaten in moderation.
Is doner kebab a German or Turkish dish?
Doner kebab is a Turkish dish and popular German street food that was introduced to Germany by Turkish immigrants.
Can vegetarians eat gyro?
No, gyros mostly contain meat, making them unsuitable for vegetarians. However, you can modify your gyro into a vegetarian dish. You can do this by replacing the meat with soya chunks, plant-based sausages, tempeh, or seitan.
In summary, doner kebab and gyro are great streets fast foods. There isn’t anything inherently special about them besides the meat and sauce used. This makes them unique in their way.
Also, most would agree that the toppings are what matters most in any kebab shop. That being said, Greek people probably wouldn’t like it if you called their gyro a Turkish doner kebab. So keep that in mind when you try to purchase a gyro.
Finally, have you made excess rotisserie chicken in your bid to make a healthy doner kebab or gyro? Rather than throw them out, here are some tasty dishes you can make with leftover rotisserie chicken.
I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading.