My Big Fat Greek Tacos
This is one big fat Greek taco for sure! A gyro and taco all in one. And delicious, hearty and satisfying all in one too!
Customize your own condiments if you like, but the Mint Tzatziki and Tomato-Cucumber Relish are essential to the Grecian vibe in this sure-to-be-a-regular on your go-to menu.
The relish and tzatziki can be made ahead, in fact I think it’s necessary for the flavors to marry before serving. So, make both condiments at least an hour ahead of time or even the night before.
A few variations to try: Serve with hummus instead of the tzatziki for a dairy-free option if that matters to you. Or include the hummus and the tzatziki because both are fabulous! The recipe calls for (and pictured) Greek no-pocket pita bread, but you could use pocket bread which would be especially easy at a party, or serve salad-style with no bread at all! For extra veggies per serving; as the meat is finishing, seed and chop an additional tomato, add to the meat mixture and cook just until the tomato breaks down.
These Greek tacos will be perfect at a buffet-style party. The entire meal can be made ahead. Just reheat the meat (this could be done in the crockpot so it stays warm during multiple trips to the buffet line), griddle the pitas quick and set it all out for your guests to pile everything together. As written, the recipe serves four and we were able to make the tacos into extra generous portions with lunch leftovers. Cook’s update: I just made these for a very large crowd and here is a tip to follow for the best flavor. Have the meat ready at least 4 hours before the party. Place in a crockpot on low for 4 hours and the juices/flavors will just increase until when it’s time to serve. I made both condiments the morning of the party also for optimum flavor.
The recipe can be made with ground lamb or turkey. The tacos shown were prepared with turkey.
And, as if the tacos aren’t delicious enough, look what you can do with leftovers. A healthier alternative to corned-beef hash.
- Cucumber Tomato Relish:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 firm tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Feta Mint Tzatziki:
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese plus extra ½ cup or so for serving
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- Lamb or Turkey:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ pounds ground lamb or turkey
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ red onion, minced
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons dry red wine or cooking wine or red wine vinegar
- For the pitas:
- 4-6 non-pocket Greek pitas
- Cook’s note: This is not necessary for yummy, impressive flavor, BUT if you happen to have a little Za’atar seasoning, add 1-2 teaspoons to the oregano when cooking the meat mixture. It will add just that much more out-of-this-world Greek gyro flavor. I have made it without and had huge success.
- At least one hour or as early as one day before you prepare the meat, prepare the relish and tzatziki:
- Prepare the cucumber tomato relish:
- Toss the olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a bowl and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and let sit at least 1 hour to marry the flavors.
- For the tzatziki:
- Seed and then finely dice the cucumber and place in a fine-meshed strainer or cheese cloth fitted over a bowl. Salt the cucumber and let sit 10 minutes. Then squeeze out any excess moisture. Add the strained cucumber into a bowl with the yogurt, feta, garlic and mint. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- The day of the tacos, start about 20 minutes before ready to serve:
- For the meat:
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb or turkey, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the meat gets nice and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and reserve. Lower the heat to medium and saute the onions in the lamb juices until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and garlic and cook until fragrant. Season. Add the tomato paste and cook until it caramelizes. Deglaze with the red wine and scrape any bits up that have adhered to the pan. Add the meat back in, stir and keep warm.
- For the pitas:
- In a cast iron or other heavy skillet, drizzle a small amount of olive oil and heat to medium high.
- Place pita in pan and heat each side for just about 20 seconds.
- Serve buffet style with extra feta, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.