Shawarma vs Gyro: Taste, Ingredients and Nutrition
Gyros and shawarmas are two similar – but distinct – dishes that have become popular street foods around the world.
They are both inspired by the Turkish doner kebab cooking technique developed during the Ottoman Empire.
The technique involves piling meat on a vertical skewer or rotisserie to form a cone, which slowly rotates next to a heat source to allow the meat to cook.
As such, gyros and shawarmas are similar in that they are cooked on a vertical rotisserie, often prepared with the same meat and served on pita bread.
However, these two dishes are staples of two different Mediterranean cuisines and, therefore, they are different from each other.
This article takes a closer look at the similarities and differences between gyros and shawarmas.
The origin of the dishes is one of the main differences between a gyroscope and a shawarma.
History of the gyroscope
A gyro is a dish of Greek origin. In fact, the word gyro is actually the Greek word for “round”, which refers to the vertical rotisserie in which the meat is cooked.
Additionally, the gyros are prepared and topped with fresh ingredients traditionally used in Greek cuisine.
Gyros are usually made with lamb, beef, pork or chicken, and the meat is seasoned with thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Once the outer layers of the meat are cooked, they are cut into thin slices and served on pita bread spread with hummus.
A gyro is then garnished with tomato, red onion, lettuce, fries and tzatziki – a traditional Greek dip or sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic and garlic. herbs like dill, mint or thyme.
History of shawarma
Shawarma is a dish of Middle Eastern origin and there are many things to learn from its name and ingredients.
The name shawarma derives from the word cevirmewhich means “to turn” in Turkish – which also refers to the technique of cooking meat.
While shawarmas are also served on pita bread or wrapped in flatbread spread with hummus, they are traditionally made with lamb, chicken, veal, or turkey, and sometimes a combination of meats.
However, the meat is seasoned with spices like turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and garlic.
It is topped with tabbouleh (a traditional salad made from bulgur), pickled vegetables and tahini, a Middle Eastern condiment made from ground sesame seeds.
Gyros and shawarmas are both made in a vertical rotisserie and served on pita bread with hummus. However, gyroscopes have a Greek origin and shawarmas are from the Middle East. Each is made from traditional ingredients.
Below is a comparison of the main differences and similarities between gyros and shawarmas:
While gyros and shawarmas share several ingredients and look very similar, they each have unique flavor profiles, which are primarily determined by how the meat is prepared before being cooked.
Common Ingredients in Gyro vs. Shawarma
Gyros and shawarmas are sandwich-like dishes that share many ingredients, including:
- Pita bread: Whether cut into a pocket and stuffed with the ingredients or used as a flatbread, pita gives both dishes their characteristic structure. It is also their main source of carbohydrates (
- Meat: Lamb and chicken are often used in gyros and shawarmas. While lamb is a type of red meat and chicken is white meat, they are both high-quality sources of protein that provide all of the essential amino acids – the ones you need to get from food because your body doesn’t. can’t produce them (
- Hummus: Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread made from mashed cooked chickpeas mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. It is a nutrient-dense ingredient high in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins E and C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron. As such, it has been linked to multiple health benefits (
Flavor Profiles of Gyro vs. Shawarma
Although they share most of their main ingredients, gyros and shawarmas taste quite different.
For one thing, gyros have a classic Mediterranean flavor due to the use of fresh raw vegetables, such as red onions and tomatoes, and the yogurt, cucumber, and dill in the tzatziki.
In addition, the meat is seasoned just before being skewered, and the choice of spices gives it a fragrant, light and slightly minty taste.
On the contrary, the ingredients and seasonings of shawarma give it a spicier, hotter and more complex flavor profile, which is highlighted by the variety of flavors provided by its typical fillings.
For example, pickled vegetables, which often include carrots, cabbage and onions, add a bit of spice to the dish. Meanwhile, tahini and tabbouleh — made with chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley, mint, bulgur, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt — deliver an earthy yet fresh taste. .
And unlike gyro meat, shawarma meat is marinated for a long time – often overnight – to allow for a richer flavor profile.
Gyros and shawarmas share some of their main ingredients, such as the type of bread, meat, and hummus. However, gyros have a fresh flavor profile, while shawarmas are spicier, hotter, and more complex.
Both gyros and shawarmas are complete meals that provide all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Below is the comparison between a 390 gram serving of beef gyro and shawarma (
Generally speaking, gyros tend to have a higher carb count due to the addition of fries. In contrast, the increased fat content of shawarmas may be due to tahini, which is made up mostly of heart-healthy fats (
Additionally, a potential explanation for the higher protein content of shawarmas could be that there is room for more meat without the fries.
Still, keep in mind that the nutrient profile of gyros and shawarmas will depend on the size and the meat and toppings you select.
Gyros and shawarmas provide all three macronutrients. However, their nutrient profiles may vary depending on the selection of meat and toppings.
Gyros and shawarmas have become increasingly popular street foods and as a result are often eaten alone on the go or with fries.
However, if you plan to serve a Greek or Middle Eastern-inspired meal, you can pair gyros or shawarmas with many delicious side dishes.
Since both already provide their fair share of protein, carbs, and fats, you might want to focus on serving them with vegetable-rich sides.
For example, gyroscopes pair well with:
- roasted vegetables like peppers
- a classic Greek salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, kalamata olives and feta cheese
- a hearty moussaka (a Mediterranean eggplant lasagna)
As for the shawarma, it can be served with:
- a mezze platter: an assortment of traditional Middle Eastern appetizers, dips and spreads that often include hummus and baba ganoush – eggplant dip – feta or mozzarella cheese, olives, hearts of artichokes, raw and roasted vegetables, dried fruits such as dates and figs, and fresh fruits such as grapes
- additional pickled vegetables
As for drinks, gyros and shawarmas pair well with beer and red wine.
But remember to keep this alcohol consumption light. The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less per day for women to avoid harm to your health (
Alternatively, mint tea is a traditional non-alcoholic Mediterranean drink that you can enjoy hot or cold with your meal.
Gyros and shawarmas can be enjoyed on the go on their own, or you can add to the meal by serving them with traditional vegetable-rich side dishes.
Gyros and shawarmas have multiple similarities, including most of their ingredients and their primary method of cooking.
The main differences are in their origins and flavor profiles. Gyros are Greek and taste fresh, while shawarmas are Middle Eastern with a spicier and more complex flavor.
Gyros and shawarmas provide all three macronutrients and are often eaten on their own on the go. However, you can get the most of both by pairing them with vegetable-rich side dishes.