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Paleo Ground Turkey Gyros make a great easy meal, with easy homemade flatbread, spiced ground turkey patties, a delicious sauce and fresh veggies and herbs. The main recipe is nightshade-free.
This recipe works great for a variety of wellness diets, in addition to Paleo, including: AIP, Whole30, Keto, Gluten-free, Low-FODMAP and VAD.
I love this meal because it’s a refreshing change, especially for dinner, to serve to family. After lots of evenings of other fare, a wrap with nicely-spiced meat and veggies, with a great sauce and fresh herbs, is just so good.
My favorite parts of this dinner are the homemade flatbread, the amazing flavors on the spiced meat and the sauce. Fresh cucumber is also always a winner in our house. And fresh herbs make any meal special. Ha, ha — every part of this meal is great!Jump to Recipe
Turkey for gyros
In Israel (a place we love to visit and where we have family), where shawarmas are common fare, and very similar in a lot of ways to Greek gyros, turkey is becoming more popular than lamb (which was used originally), because it’s more affordable for vendors. While I personally love lamb, it’s high in fat, expensive and not everyone enjoys it. Regarding turkey, the same is true in America and in many countries, as we found in Israel: ground turkey is becoming more and more available, and providing great variety from a diet otherwise heavily filled with beef and chicken.
While beef gyros are excellent and a great option, one might be tempted to make them with thinly sliced steak. Sourced well, this gets expensive. So well-spiced ground turkey patties make an exciting and affordable alternative.
When I first made this recipe for my family, everyone was thrilled. So this is how we eat gyros now! Ground turkey, abroad and at home, makes a great choice.
Ingredients in Paleo Ground Turkey Gyros
Simple ingredients taste grand together in this Middle Eastern wrap sandwich:
- Paleo Flatbread — I had fun making and perfecting this Paleo Flatbread recipe. While it cooks, it puffs up in the middle, creating a light flatbread, chewy but tender. The bread is flexible, stretchy and flavorful. Paleo Flatbread works great for Paleo, AIP, Whole30, Gluten-free and some on the VAD/Low vA diet. Other flatbread recipes, if you don’t eat cassava flour are:
- Tiger Nut Tortillas — This recipe is tried and true and a reader favorite. It also provides another AIP and Low-FODMAP option for this recipe.
- For Keto, Low FODMAP, GAPS and Gluten-free — Chia-Flax Tortillas
- Another allergy-friendly alternative, if you can’t have the above ingredients, is Plantain Tortillas, great for Paleo, AIP, Whole30 and Gluten-free.
- Spiced Turkey Patties — Ground turkey is a meat a lot of us eat, so it’s nice to provide more recipes that use it. In this simple recipe, the ground turkey is simply formed into quarter pound patties and instead of mixing the spices into the meat, the herbs and spices (listed below) are sprinkled on while the patties cook. This approach means the patties are faster to make, and the spices’ and herbs’ flavors are heightened as they’re fried, giving extra great flavor. The patties turn out crispy on the outside and exotically pungent to the tongue.
- The turkey patties are cooked in olive oil.
- Gyro Veggies — Tailor these to your diet and liking. Options include cucumbers, onions and if you eat nightshades, tomatoes. I personally use cucumbers and onions only, for AIP and for my family. Red onion is pretty, but omit onion entirely for VAD and Low FODMAP. For Keto, feel free to use tomatoes, if you eat nightshades.
- Tzatziki Sauce — Traditional tzatziki sauce is made with thick strained Greek yogurt, diced or grated cucumber, fresh garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs, like dill. In this recipe, I provide 3 variations of this sauce to meet your unique dietary needs, 2 of which are dairy-free. Each one is super easy, so just choose the one with the ingredients you eat. I give these options in the Recipe Notes section, with diets noted.
- Fresh herb — As a flavorful condiment, finish your gyro with the fresh herb you love best: parsley, cilantro or mint.
What spices make gyro meat so good
The spices used on gryo meat can be tweaked a bit for your dietary needs. No matter what, they’re exotic, exciting and make a welcome change from usual dinner flavors:
- For Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Gluten-free and most diets, the easiest way to make this recipe is to use Chinese Five Spice Powder. It’s lovely and makes great spiced meat. For those who don’t eat pepper, or who’d rather mix spices you have on hand, we use ¾ teaspoon cumin and dried ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and then ¼ teaspoon cloves.
- For AIP: just omit the cumin (above), and increase the cinnamon to ¾ teaspoon.
- The VAD version of the recipe uses ¾ teaspoon cumin and ginger, each, and then ¼ teaspoon cloves powder (no cinnamon).
What herbs are used in tzatziki
If you’re using dried herbs: Dill is commonly used in the sauce, but oregano is wonderful too!
For those who prefer to use fresh herbs, choose between dill, parsley, cilantro and mint.
How to garnish gyros
Parsley is traditional, as is fresh lemon juice. Both of these also make a pretty presentation, using lemon wedges.
Although more Middle Eastern than Greek, if you prefer, you may also use fresh cilantro, instead of fresh parsley.
Throughout Europe and the Middle East, it is appropriate for recipes to change and have variations. Each household or region has their unique version of this favorite. So it’s actually still authentic, within some mentioned parameters, to use a variety of ingredients when making gyros.
For VAD, use fresh mint.
How to make Ground Turkey Gyros
- Make the flatbread dough, and let it rest 10 minutes while you gather and prep the other ingredients.
- Form turkey patties. Heat pan, add oil and fry them. Add sea salt and spices as they fry.
- While they cook, make simple Tzatziki Sauce.
- Fry flatbreads while turkey patties cook.
- When flatbreads and turkey are cooked, assemble gyros, garnishing each with fresh herbs and optional fresh lemon wedges.
Paleo Ground Turkey Gyros
- frying pan for turkey patties
- frying pan or crepe/tortilla style pan, for cooking flatbreads
- small mixing bowl for flatbread dough
- small mixing bowl or Pyrex measuring cup for Tzatziki Sauce
- extra small bowl for spices
- optional: tortilla press : This makes the rolling out of flatbreads take just seconds. It's a great tool that I have myself and love.
- Paleo Flatbread: Make the dough for these, and then cook them in one pan while you cook the turkey patties in another and assemble the rest of dinner. (If you can't have cassava flour or for Paleo AIP Low FODMAP, you may also choose to make Tiger Nut Tortillas or Chia Flax Tortillas (for Keto, Low FODMAP).
- Tzatziki Sauce see Notes below for 3 versions of this recipe, to meet your unique dietary needs
- 1 pound ground turkey (ground chicken also works, with a slightly shorter cooking time)
- 1 cucumber sliced somewhat thinly
- ½ red onion sliced, omit for VAD and Low FODMAP; limit amount for Keto
- fresh parsley, cilantro or mint, use mint for VAD -- enough to garnish 4 gyros
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder (not for AIP or VAD versions)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- Optional leafy lettuce While not traditional for gyros, you may wish to add a big piece of leafy lettuce to the wrap before adding the meat and other fillings.
- Make Paleo Flatbread dough. Let it rest 10 minutes while you form the meat patties.
- Stir together spice mixture in small bowl if you're not using Chinese 5-Spice.
- Form ground turkey into 4 patties, making them as flat as you can, about ¼" to ½" thick. I like to make mine into half circle shapes (roughly), so they fit a folded flatbread well.
- Heat large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Evenly distribute oil in pan, then add turkey patties. Season with salt, equally dividing half the ¾ teaspoon as you sprinkle it on. Using your fingers, also sprinkle ½ the spice mixture over each. Cook the patties about 7 to 8 minutes on the first side.
- Continue cooking flatbreads until they're all done.
- While patties cook, stir together Tzatziki Sauce ingredients in small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup. (See recipe below in Notes section.)
- Flip patties; if necessary, add 1 additional Tablespoon oil and reduce heat slightly. Salt and season second side of patties as you did the first. Cook about 5 to 6 minutes, then turn off heat, so they don't dry out.
- When Paleo Flatbreads and turkey patties are done cooking, assemble: Onto one side of each flatbread add optional lettuce, meat patty (okay to cut it in half and spread out the two pieces to cover the flatbread more fully, if needed), cucumbers, onions, Tzatziki Sauce and fresh herb.
- Fold flatbread over filling. Serve with optional lemon wedges.
Tzatziki recipesThese tzatziki recipes are actually "lazy tzatziki" recipes! -- because I skip the grated cucumber, which to me is just one more step, as it needs to be drained. Since we're adding cucumber to our gyro, and we're really after the flavorful creamy sauce part of the condiment, no loss! I know you'll love these easier versions! Below I share 3 versions of this recipe, so choose the one that fits your dietary needs best.
- Paleo AIP and Low FODMAP version: ¼ cup tiger nut butter, 3 to 4 Tablespoons water (start with 3, and then add the final T, if needed to thin more), 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh herb (parsley, cilantro, dill or mint) or ¼ teaspoon dried dill or oregano, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Paleo Keto tahini version: ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup water, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh herb (parsley, cilantro, dill or mint) or ¼ teaspoon dried dill or oregano, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt + optional 1 clove garlic, freshly pressed or finely minced (Culinary note: This version of the recipe is very similar to Israel's tahina, which is what locals use on shawarma and frequently as a condiment.)
- Dairy version (Gluten-free, Primal, Ancestral, Keto): ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or real cultured sour cream, 2 Tablespoons water, 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh herb (parsley, cilantro, dill or mint) or ¼ teaspoon dried dill or oregano, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt + optional (especially for Keto) 1 clove garlic, freshly pressed or finely minced (or ⅛ tsp garlic powder)
- In small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk the ingredients together until evenly mixed.
- Set aside until it's time to assemble the gyros.
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