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).
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- For the marinade, in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
- 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.
- If using wooden skewers, soak them for 15-20 minutes prior to assembling.
- Thread the chicken, zucchini, peppers and onion onto skewers. Give the kebabs a little sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Grill over medium to medium-high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately with tzatziki sauce for dipping.
Recipe Source: adapted from my favorite Greek chicken gyro recipe after seeing and being inspired by Jaclyn’s version of Greek Kebabs