Roasted Eggplant Gyros with Watermelon Rind Pickles

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 4 gyros + 3 cups pickles
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This traditionally meat-heavy meal is transformed into a plant-based crowd pleaser with strips of savory baked eggplant and sweet potatoes. These yummy vegan gyros are packed full of fresh ingredients, and the watermelon rind pickles make a tangy topper that tastes great while reducing food waste in the kitchen. The homemade vegan tzatziki sauce adds a creamy, herb-infused element that perfectly complements the veggie medley stuffed inside tender whole wheat pita pockets. Serve extra pickles on the side—you’re gonna love them!

Tip: For this recipe look for a round, fat sweet potato and slice it as thin as possible. A mandoline works great for this.

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 1 lb. thick watermelon rind
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried pink peppercorns
  • 1 medium eggplant, trimmed, unpeeled, and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices (14 oz.)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 8-oz. sweet potato, bias-sliced very thin (see tip in intro)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt-free Greek seasoning
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 rounds whole wheat pita bread, halved and split
  • 2 roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion


  • For pickles, remove and discard skin from watermelon rind. Trim away all but a little pink from the inside of the rind. Cut rind into 1-inch cubes. In a large saucepan combine apple cider vinegar, can sugar, kosher salt, 2 cloves of garlic, the allspice, cloves, pink peppercorns and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in watermelon rind. Return to boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Transfer rind pieces to a glass jar or other container; add pickling liquid to cover. Let stand until cool. Cover and chill at least 24 hours and up to 2 weeks.
  • For gyros, sprinkle eggplant slices with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Place in a colander; let stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Rinse eggplant slices under cold water; pat dry. Arrange eggplant and sweet potato slices on prepared baking sheets and lightly brush with the 2 tablespoons vinegar. Sprinkle with Greek seasoning. Roast eggplant and sweet potato 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Cut into strips.
  • For Tzatziki Sauce, soak the cashews in enough hot water to cover for 15 minutes; drain. In a small food processor or blender combine the soaked cashews, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Process until nearly smooth, gradually adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of plant-based milk until creamy. Stir in dill and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Fill pita pockets with eggplant, sweet potato, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, and onion. Top each gyro with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the watermelon pickles. Drizzle with Tzatziki Sauce.

Comments (2)

(5 from 4 votes)

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Whole wheat pitas are not really compliant. I believe we are directed to eat only whole GRAIN breads. Is there such a product as a whole grain pita? Thank you.


Wheat is a grain. Therefore, whole wheat = whole grain pita.

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
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