This is a sandwich to keep in mind when dinner is delayed by soccer practice or working late. The meat can stay warm in loaf form, wrapped in foil; cut it to order just before serving.
Serve with crisp strips of fresh red, orange and yellow peppers.
Adapted from “Cooking Light: Lighten Up, America!” by Allison Fishman Task (Oxmoor House, 2013).
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces ground lamb
6 ounces lean ground beef (85-15)
Sweet or spicy paprika
3 or 4 whole-wheat pitas or whole-wheat naan
1/2 seedless (English) cucumber
1/2 small red onion
Leaves from 3 stems mint
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element or flame; preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spray the center with cooking oil spray.
Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Shake the pan as needed to avoid scorching. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool, then coarsely chop them.
Mince the garlic; transfer to a mixing bowl. Cut the lemon in half; squeeze 2 teaspoons of juice from one half over the bowl. Add the onion powder, the teaspoon of granulated garlic or garlic powder, the dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, stirring to combine.
Add the chopped, toasted pine nuts and the ground lamb and beef; use your clean hands to blend the mixture, then divide and shape it into two loaves that are 6 inches long by 3 inches wide. Place them on the oiled baking sheet. Broil for a total of 12 to 14 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle the tops lightly with paprika.
Stack the pitas or naan and wrap them in foil; once the oven is turned off, place them inside to warm.
Meanwhile, line a medium bowl with a few layers of paper towels. Cut the cucumber half in half lengthwise. Use the large holes of a box grater to shred the cucumber flesh into the paper towels, guiding the cucumber with your hand pressed against the peel. Discard the peel.
Cut the onion into very thin half-moons and add to the cucumber; reserve a small portion of the onion for garnishing each gyro, if desired. Cover with another layer of paper towels and press lightly. Drain for 5 minutes.
Chop the mint.
Discard the paper towels, letting the cucumber-onion mixture fall back into the bowl; add the yogurt, mint, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder and the pepper. Squeeze another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of juice from the remaining lemon half. Stir to form a sauce.
To serve, cut each meat loaf into very thin slices. Place a pita or naan on each plate, then top with equal portions of the meat and sauce. Garnish with reserved onion, if using. Serve right away.
Makes 3 or 4 servings.
Nutrition Per serving: 460 calories, 30 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 610 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar