Greek Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Cucumber Salad

This is a delicious and healthy summer meal that’s relatively easy to put together with a bit of planning and chopping. We love it so much that we make it year-round and cook the chicken in a big skillet on the stovetop when it’s not grilling weather. My kids are always excited when they ask what’s for dinner and my answer is “Chicken Gyros”--the usual response is, “YESSSSSSS!”

There are three components to this recipe: the greek chicken, the tzatziki, and the cucumber tomato salad. The greek chicken is made with the help of a special yogurt-based marinade.  I usually mix up the marinade several hours before dinnertime and add the chicken to let it work its magic tenderizing and adding flavor. I think it’s my favorite chicken marinade of all time. It’s that good! 

grilled chicken with yogurt-based marinade, prepared for chicken gyros

Next, I start preparing the tzatziki and the cucumber/tomato salad. Tzatziki is a traditional greek sauce made from thick strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, and olive oil. It can also include dill or other fresh herbs, but I like this simple version for the gyros. I like to let the tzatziki and salad flavors blend for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours before we eat. They are even better the next day, although we rarely have any leftovers.

After you grate the cucumbers for the tzatziki make sure to drain the excess liquid before adding the yogurt: it can end up being too watery otherwise. I like to be a bit careful with the amount of garlic that I add to the tzatziki since it is fresh and raw and can be too sharp for some of the palates in my house.

Fresh veggies are very important in this recipe, so get the best quality available. For the tzatziki, I recommend using full-fat, organic Greek yogurt, because I think it enhances the texture and flavors. For the cucumber salad make sure to be generous with the parsley--I love to harvest it fresh from my patio herb garden in the summer. My preferred way to eat this meal is on a plate as a big salad, but the rest of our family prefers stuffing everything into pita pockets. We’ve also used tortilla wraps when pitas weren’t available and they work fine, too. 

Let us know if you try this recipe. We’d love to hear how it goes!

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