Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

I know it shouldn’t really matter if food is pretty or not but sometimes I’m shallow and I like to ooh and aah over my food before stuffing my face. These light and healthy grilled Greek chicken kebabs are not only rockin’ it in the flavor department, they are quite lovely to look at as well.

One of my favorite recipes on my blog (I realize this is a strong statement considering there’s 500+ recipes on here but I’m not exaggerating, promise) are these chicken gyros. Have you taken part in their deliciousness? If not, today’s recipe is a riff off those amazing wraps. The chicken gets a quick marinade in fresh, citrusy, flavorful ingredients and then pops onto skewers with zucchini, onions and red peppers (be sure to check out the notes in the recipe about the whole chicken and vegetables cooking together on one stick thing).

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

The winner of the whole recipe (and this goes for those gyros, too) is the dang tzatziki. And I say dang because I’m hard-pressed not to eat the entire bowl full with a spoon. It’s a travesty that I lived so many years a) not being able to pronounce tzatziki (here’s a quick tutorial) b) not knowing what it tasted like (my insecurities over the strange spelling went deep) and c) ignorant of the fact that it is so easy to prepare.

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

If you aren’t familiar, tzatziki is a simple cucumber yogurt sauce. In the case of today’s recipe, the tender, flavorful chicken and veggies take a dunk into the tzatziki before eating – but we also use leftover tzatziki for dipping crisp, fresh vegetables and I dollop it on my salads and sandwiches all the time. Every time I make this homemade flatbread recipe (I’m warning you, it’s the most heavenly, addicting bread in the world), I make sure to have a big container of tzatziki in the fridge. Because that flatbread (warm, I die) dipped in the creamy, refreshing, garlicky tzatziki is just…beyond. Beyond, beyond.

So now that I’ve just won the world record for most number of times to type tzatziki in a 15-minute period, we should probably hang up so you can get on with making this recipe. It’s totally worthy of your time and gets extra points for having The Fabulous Three: healthy, easy, tasty.

P.S.: I know people are going to ask about the pretty yellow rice. Don’t. It was a disaster and we could barely eat it. Looks like I’m going back to the drawing board for a good lemon rice recipe.

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

What To ServeSimple Skillet Green Beans
Pita Bread Salad OR homemade (or storebought) Greek pita flatbread on the side

One Year Ago: Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip
Three Years Ago: Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs with Simple Tzatziki Sauce

Yield: Serves 6 - Makes about 12-14 skewers

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs with Simple Tzatziki Sauce

Assembling the kebabs the way pictured in the post will yield tender chicken and crisp-tender (read: slightly crunchy) veggies, which I like. If you want the vegetables more tender, they'll need to cook longer but in order not to overcook the chicken, consider skewering the veggies on their own sticks to cook separately from the chicken.

Keep in mind the tzatziki sauce does better if made ahead of time and refrigerated at least 30 minutes (or up to 1-2 days). If you don't have Greek yogurt, regular, plain yogurt can be used - but it needs to be strained through cheesecloth or a coffee filter for several hours to get rid of excess moisture so it is really thick and creamy.

Ingredients

    Tzatziki Sauce:
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 English cucumber, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Marinade:
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Chicken and Vegetables:
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 small to medium zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1-2 red peppers, cut into squares
  • 1 red onion, cut into squares

Directions

  1. For the tzatziki sauce, wrap the shredded cucumber in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. For the marinade, in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
  3. Place the chicken in a resealable gallon-size ziploc bag (or in a shallow dish) and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag (or cover the dish) and let marinade for 1-2 hours.
  4. If using wooden skewers, soak them for 15-20 minutes prior to assembling.
  5. Thread the chicken, zucchini, peppers and onion onto skewers. Give the kebabs a little sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  6. Grill over medium to medium-high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  7. Serve immediately with tzatziki sauce for dipping.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/grilled-greek-chicken-kebabs/

Recipe Source: adapted from my favorite Greek chicken gyro recipe after seeing and being inspired by Jaclyn’s version of Greek Kebabs

39 Responses to Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs with Simple Tzatziki Sauce

  1. These are pretty! I love grilling all summer long so I’m sure these will make an appearance at some point. Great recipe.

  2. Sheila says:

    I love when these types of recipes pop up — The Fabulous Three: healthy, easy, tasty. I made your black bean and sweet potato wraps 2 times this weekend because of how much we love them and they disappear quickly which creates mourning and mom being pressured to have more instantly appear. 🙂 We eat them with Boston lettuce cups instead of the tortillas. The Tzatziki Sauce is delicious but that marinate sounds super delicious. I’m trying to be Mel and working with creating a coconut rice that has more in it than just coconut milk. I’m adding cilantro, cashews, fresh pineapple tidbits, bit of garlic, touch of lime juice, scallions, and green onion. I’m not there yet but I’m getting closer and closer to “We like this mom”.

  3. These look like a perfect summer grilling meal! I love having my kids assemble their own kabobs….they tend to pile on the veggies.

  4. Kim in MD says:

    Yum! Kebabs are so fun, and these look so healthy and delicious. I love tzatziki sauce, and I can only imagine how delicious this would be with your warm, homemade flatbread!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I just made a close variation of this for my family for supper last night! Oh, my! It is one of our favorites! Cannot wait to have my leftovers for lunch today!!!

  6. Ellen says:

    oh yum. These sound simply perfect! Here is a quick tip I learned from Cooks Country: When grilling meat and veggies together on kebabs, microwave your veggies for just a couple minutes to jump start the cooking process. then thread them on your skewers with the meat. That way your veggies are a bit more tender…..

  7. I hopped on over after drooling over your cake at Dessert for two – and now I am drooling uncontrollably again!

  8. Roslyn says:

    Hi Mel, We LOVE your marinated chicken and tzatziki! This looks awesome. My favorite lemon rice recipe is this one, and I am so sorry I cannot remember where I got it years ago, but it’s yummy:
    Lemon Parsley Rice
    2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
    1 cup rice
    1 Tbsp lemon zest
    2 Tbsp butter
    1 Tbsp fresh parsley

    Heat broth, salt, and garlic to a boil. Add rice and cook for 20 minutes, covered. Stir in lemon zest and let sit 5 minutes. Stir in butter and parsley.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Your gyros are one of my favorite recipes from your blog, too! My picky toddlers love having “pocket sandwiches” with “yogurt sauce.” I’ll be trying this version as soon as it’s way enough for me to consider grilling! 🙂

  10. Christine says:

    Can I just tell you thanks? For some reason, your preferences/flavor profiles are exactly like mine. So many times I will look at other food blogs, and it just doesn’t seem to hit the spot for me. But I just love your recipes. Maybe it’s because I have 5 kids and I love the healthy, delicious and easy aspect of it. Thanks Mel

  11. Laurie says:

    Hi Mel, I have a question on garlic. Most recipes I see call for garlic by the clove. However, there are some monstrous cloves of garlic out there and it’s sometimes hard to tell just how big the individual cloves are until you get them apart. In your estimation, how much should 1 clove of minced garlic be, by measure…i.e. 1/2 t, 1 t…? Thanks for your site! Your recipes are fabulous, and I always love your kitchen tips!

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Laurie. It really depends on how strong you want the flavor of garlic to be – so some people might plan on 1 teaspoon per clove of garlic versus others who want less garlic punch. Usually when I’m making a recipe I plan on about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon per clove of minced garlic. Hope that helps!

  12. anne colson says:

    Love these…we make a version of this at least once a week.

  13. gina says:

    I have never commented on ANY blog before, but I use and enjoy many of your recipes. When I read that you needed a good lemon rice recipe I thought I should share this. It’s our favorite!! It is a recipe from my cousin’s Yiayia (Greek Grandma). We eat it with grilled chicken, falafel, etc. I hope you like it.

    1 c long grain white rice
    4 T buter
    1 t salt
    2 T fresh lemon juice
    3 c hot chicken broth

    Sauté rice in butter until glossy. Add salt and lemon juice. Simmer for about 1 minute. Add hot broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 30-35 minutes. Serves 6. (I have made it with brown rice before and it’s o.k. but not nearly as yummy as with the white rice.)

    • Mel says:

      Thank you, Gina! I feel honored you would comment and can’t wait to give the lemon rice a try!

    • KW says:

      I agree with Gina…that lemon rice recipe is our absolute favorite, too, and it is KILLER! The richness of the butter and the brightness of the lemon are perfect together. Mmmmmm!

  14. Erin says:

    This was sooo good and full of flavor! I made it inside today in my cast iron pan because of the thunder storms in our area. It worked really well and I can’t wait to try it on the grill. My two year old loved the chicken and the sauce!

  15. Woah! That’s a bold statement as a food blogger.. and especially you since your recipes are always KILLER! But if you say it’s your favorite – I’m definitely going to be trying these and your chicken gyros!!

  16. Melissa says:

    Can’t wait to try these this weekend. Question about the veggies, do you add them to the marinade as well? Thanks!

  17. Marci says:

    would it hurt to marinate the chicken overnight?

    • Mel says:

      I wouldn’t suggest it only because of the high acidity in the marinade – the acidity can “cook” the chicken if left too long in the marinade and you’ll notice the chicken will turn white and almost get a stringy texture.

  18. Nicole Peck says:

    I’ve been making a recipe I got from a friend for grilled Greek chicken kabob for years that my family (and extended family) all love, with a homemade tzatziki that’s really good but just hasn’t tasted quite like the kind I get at restaurants. I’m wondering if it’s the red vinegar I’m missing! Can’t wait to try your version. And I was real excited about hoping you had perfected the yellow/lemon rice because I’ve been trying to figure out for years how they make it at Greek restaurants and just can’t. I have an OK version, but it’s not even close to what they make! I’ve ended up tweaking a recipe I got from the Greek festival in SLC that’s OK for homemade but still not close! Dang!

  19. Ruth J Della Silva says:

    Our family loved this recipe! “You did not make enough,” was the only complaint. I cooked mushrooms in the discarded marinade on foil over the grill. The kids actually fought over the mushrooms and I had to divide them equally. I cooked the lemon rice mentioned in a comment, but I substituted coconut oil for the butter, it was the perfect compliment to this dinner. Thanks for posting such great family recipes. I use 3-5 of your recipes per week.

  20. Ashlee says:

    Yummy. Made this with flatbread and it was delicious!

  21. Mel S. says:

    I have made these 3x since you posted–these are wonderful every time! Because I have to maneuver around a very hectic work/after school schedule, I marinade the chicken all day–delish! My picky eaters are not fond of peppers, so I substitued the red peppers with tomatoes and still have the same number of colors! What an easy meal to throw together on a weekday night (and no oven work to heat up the kitchen!). Awesome.

  22. Amanda Z says:

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was so so so good! I always love your recipes, but I have never been a big fan of greek food. My husband loves it though, so I cooked it for him, and I ended up eating as much as he did I loved it so much! The Tzatziki sauce is amazing. Thanks for a great dinner!

  23. Erica says:

    My new fav! SO yummy!!

  24. Phyllis says:

    I’m having trouble finding English cucumber. Will a regular cucumber do? Sorry if this is a stupid question. LOL

    • Mel says:

      Not a stupid question! You can definitely use a regular cucumber but you might want to seed it first since English cucumbers generally have smaller/less seeds.

  25. Karen says:

    Mel, made these and the chicken gyros recipe last night. Beyond fantastic. Used store bought naan. I’ll have to try your naan recipe next, along with the couscous feta salad. Thanks for keeping the recipes coming! I so appreciate you!!

  26. Kiki says:

    I made a lazy version of this for dinner last night. Instead of making skewers, I roasted everything on a sheet pan in the oven. It’s very good! The sauce is great!

  27. Rebecca Braun says:

    Mel, I’d like to use fresh herbs from my container garden. Any idea on how much would work?

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hello Rebecca – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. You will use 2-3 times more fresh herbs from your garden than their dry counterparts in the recipe. Sounds yummy!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rebecca, usually if a recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon dried, I’ll use a tablespoon. A lot of it really depends on taste (some herbs are much stronger than others) but generally about 3X or a little more is my rule of thumb.

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