Classic donair wrap recipes are usually far from vegan and require purchased products, which can be difficult to find. Regardless of where you live, or your comfort level in the kitchen, this recipe is quite approachable and produces an amazing result.
Included in this recipe is everything you need to achieve the perfect homemade vegan donair wrap. This incorporates the donair sweet sauce, vegetarian “meat” made with vital wheat gluten (seitan) and a few toppings to ensure you get all the flavor without sacrifice.
Skill: Intermediate | Time: 1 hr 20 min | Servings: 8
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Is Donair Vegan? About this Recipe
Traditional donair recipes tend to include ingredients that are not vegan. Aside from the pita, onion and tomato toppings, there’s not much for vegans to enjoy. That’s why I made it a goal to make an irresistible vegan donair recipe that replicates its non-vegan alternative.
Two key ingredients that we need to focus on include the vegan donair “meat” made from seitan (vital wheat gluten) and the sweet sauce made from condensed coconut milk. Both are easy enough to achieve but will take some time to cook and get the right texture/consistency.
Donair vs Gyro
Donair and gyro wraps are similar; they’re both traditionally a rotisserie type meat in a pita with a creamy sauce and some veggies. The primary difference is that donair uses a sweet and milky sauce whereas gyro wraps are served with Tzatziki sauce.
There are also shawarma wraps, which are very similar, but with Middle Eastern flair.
Donair is very similar to Donner Kebabs (aka Kebabs) but donair (spelt with “air”), with its sweet sauce, originated in the East Coast of Canada. However, the tradition of making such a dish comes from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East where Gyros, Donner and Shawarma originate.
Ingredients to Make Vegan Donair “Meat” and Sweet Sauce
While there are some store-bought vegan products available that can be used in this recipe, you’ll want to make the meat and sauce yourself to achieve the desired taste and texture. In doing so you’ll save money and come away with a better result!
Vegan Donair Meat Ingredients
- Gluten flour (vital wheat gluten): This type of flour is the base ingredient for many vegan meats. It’s very high in protein and takes the flavors of herbs and spices that get mixed into it. It creates a chewy, meaty texture that can easily satisfy non-vegans, especially when used for rotisserie-style meats like classic donair meat.
- Herbs and spices: To flavor the seitan meat, I recommend a combination of 2 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 ½ tsp dry oregano, 1 ½ tsp dry basil, 1 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp salt and black pepper to taste.
- Onion: To help provide a variety of texture and flavor, onion almost acts as small “fatty” pieces within the meat. It’ll also keep the seitan moist while cooking.
- Olive oil: To further boost flavor and make the “meat” more satisfying, use some oil!
- Ketchup: Here’s a simple flavor and color booster; just add some ketchup or tomato paste to the mix.
- Soy sauce (or tamari): Next, you’ll want to recreate some of the salty flavors from a typical donair meat. Soy sauce or tamari gives a depth of flavor while enhancing the taste of other ingredients.
- Apple cider vinegar: To introduce a slightly tangy flavor, add a splash of apple cider vinegar. It’ll create a uniquely irresistible, complimentary enhancement.
- Dijon mustard: There’s something about homemade vegan meats that just crave the use of mustard. Here, the Dijon adds some “zing” that just can’t be done without.
- Vegetable broth: Since there are other sources of salty flavor, use a low-sodium or no salt added vegetable broth. This will bring around a more robust flavor profile while adding the liquid needed to achieve the best texture possible.
Vegan Donair Sauce Ingredients
- Coconut milk (full fat): Donair sweet sauce is a thickened, creamy sauce with lots of flavor. Starting with a full fat coconut milk with produce the best taste possible while keeping it vegan-friendly.
- Granulated sugar: While coconut milk already provides some sweetness, granulated sugar is added to achieve the correct taste that contrasts the meat. Sweet meets savory flavors for the ultimate vegan donair.
- Apple cider vinegar: Same as with the seitan meat, apple cider vinegar in the sauce produces a tangier flavor and helps bring more depth to a sauce that might be too sweet without. Vinegar helps cut some of the sweetness and achieves a better result.
- Garlic powder + salt: While the sauce has achieved it’s required level of sweetness and tanginess so far, there’s more robust flavor needed. Garlic powder and salt help to further enhance the taste and recreate the classic flavor someone would expect from donair.
Why this Vegan Donair Recipe Works
Not unlike the non-vegan version of this recipe, vegan donair works because of the combination of flavors and textures within the meat and sweet sauce. The soft yet chewy meat, with thick and creamy sweet sauce on top, makes for an irresistible savory dinner.
If you’ve got a handle on making seitan “meat” through other vegan recipes, then the biggest “aha” moment from making this recipe is the sweet sauce. Make sure you use full fat coconut milk here as most low-fat varieties will be too thin and not achieve the desired consistency. This meal is a treat, so enjoy and use the ingredients that will help it taste more like a traditional donair wrap!
How to Make a Homemade Vegan Donair: Instructions and Video Tutorial
While it can seem like a daunting recipe to take on, making vegan donair wraps isn’t too challenging. It’ll take some time, but much of it is either waiting for the meat to cook or whisking the sweet sauce. Follow these instructions and your meal should turn out perfectly!
Step 1: Mix Donair Meat Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, add 2 C gluten flour (aka vital wheat gluten), 2 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 ½ tsp dry oregano, 1 ½ tsp dry basil, 1 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp salt and black pepper to taste.
Stir all these dry ingredients together to achieve an even mix without solid clumps. The herbs and spices will combine well with the dry gluten flour, so give it a quick mix and you should be ready for the wet ingredients.
Step 2: Add Donair Meat Wet Ingredients
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine ½ C finely chopped onion, ¼ C olive oil (or any liquid oil), 4 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste, 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari, 1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard and ¾ C low sodium vegetable broth.
Like the donair meat dry ingredients, mix all these together until you’re confident that all ingredients are well disbursed throughout the liquid.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in your large mixing bowl and stir until a ball of dough has formed. It should feel spongy to the touch. Eventually this will become too difficult to stir in the bowl, so hand-knead as necessary to ensure everything is combined well prior to baking.
Step 3: Form and Bake Seitan Donair Meat
Next, tear two sheets of tin foil, both about 1 ½ feet long. Place on the counter shiny side up.
Remove seitan dough ball from your large mixing bowl and place onto one of the tin foil sheets, pressing into a rectangular shape. The formed dough should be about 6 inches wide and 1 – 1 ½ inches thick.
Carefully wrap the seitan dough with tin foil, starting with the bottom edge, then both sides, then the top. Place the rough edge of the tin foil-wrapped seitan down onto the second sheet and repeat, creating a well-sealed, firmly packed seitan roast.
Place the double-wrapped seitan onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Cook at 350 F for 30 minutes, then flip and cook for another 20 minutes.
Remove the seitan once done baking and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before unwrapping the tin foil. Allow this vegan meat to cool for as long as possible since it will firm and become easier to cut when not fresh out of the oven.
Step 4: Heat and Whisk Donair Sweet Sauce Ingredients
Your objective for the sweet donair sauce recipe is to condense (thicken) coconut milk while adding more sweetness and a tangy flavor.
To do this, simply whisk all sauce ingredients together in a pot over medium heat. Continue to whisk every 1 – 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. This process takes about 30 minutes but is well worth it.
The final sauce is easily pourable, but it’s done when it starts to stick to the pot and whisk. It will also thicken as it cools, so don’t hesitate to take it off the stove before it’s at a serving-ready consistency.
Step 5: Slice Homemade Donair Meat and Serve in Pita
Now that your seitan “meat” has cooled from being in the oven, it should be easier to slice into thin strips. Since donair meat is typically shaved from a rotisserie spit, the thinner you can slice this roast, the closer it will resemble a non-vegan donair.
Once this is done, get the pita breads loaded up with your preferred amount of toppings! This recipe is ideal for about 8 donair wraps, so aim for 1/8 of the meat and sauce per pita. You can pile on more, or less to make it last longer, but find your ideal amount. Garnish with tomato and onion (option for lettuce too) and serve!
Vegan Donair Substitutions and Variations
After working out this vegan donair recipe to perfection, I can safely say that it’s as simple to make as possible without needing to find any specialty ingredients. I hope you enjoy this recipe as-is, but if there’s a substitution you try, feel free to let me know how it goes in the comments section below!
Looking for other ways to capture this donair taste, just not in a pita wrap? My husband and I are so in love with these flavors that we also make it into a pizza and hot dip. Try these favorites, they might just be your go-to donair recipe in the future!
How to Store Donair Sweet Sauce and Seitan Meat: Refrigerating and Freezing this Recipe
While a family of four could consume this entire recipe in a single meal (you’ll want lots), there’s a chance you’ll have some leftover sweet sauce and seitan meat. That’s okay, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer, so feel free to make a full batch or double batch as required.
In the refrigerator, both the donair sweet sauce and the meat will keep in airtight containers for a week. When ready to eat more, remove from the fridge and warm prior to serving again.
If your preference is to freeze the meat, sauce or both, just ensure both are fully prepared (the sauce has condensed and the meat has cooked) and completely cooled prior to freezing. The meat should be wrapped in tin foil (the foil it was cooked in) and inserted into a freezer bag for optimal freshness and texture. When ready to consume again, remove from the freezer and allow these ingredients to thaw in the fridge overnight.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please rate and comment below so others benefit from your experience.
More Vegan Recipes with Plant-based Protein
Vegan Donair Wraps with “Meat” and Donair Sweet Sauce
- Large bowl
- Baking tray
- Silicone baking mat
- Cutting Board
- Tin foil
Vegan Donair Meat: Dry Ingredients
Vegan Donair Meat: Wet Ingredients
Vegan Donair Sauce
- 1 C tomato , chopped
- 1 C onion , chopped
- 8 large whole wheat pita breads
Vegan Donair Meat
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients listed under “vegan donair meat: dry ingredients”.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mix together all the ingredients listed under “vegan donair meat: wet ingredients”.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, use your hand to knead the dough until everything is evenly mixed together.
- Place two sheets of tin foil on the counter (shiny side up). The pieces should be about 1 ½ feet long.
- Put the seitan dough onto one of the tin foil sheets and press into a rectangular shape, about 6 inches wide and 1 – 1 ½ inches thick.
- Carefully wrap the seitan dough in the tin foil. It’s often best to fold up the bottom edge (away from you), then fold in both sides, then fold down the top. Place the rough edge of the tin foil-wrapped seitan down onto the second sheet of tin foil and repeat the folding.
- Place the double-wrapped seitan onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, flip the seitan over and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Take the seitan out of the oven and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before unwrapping the tin foil. Allow seitan to cool for as long as possible (as it cools it will set and become easier to cut).
Vegan Donair Sauce
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a medium pot over medium heat. Continue to whisk every 1 – 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Takes about 30 minutes.
- The final sauce will be easily pourable, but it’s done when it starts to stick to the sides of the pot and stick to the whisk. It will also thicken as it cools.
- Once the donair meat has cooled, slice it as thin as possible.
- Take one pita bread and place ⅛ of the meat, ⅛ of the sauce (a couple tablespoons) and a couple tablespoons of tomato and onion into the wrap. Optional to add some lettuce for color.