I am all about the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy lately. When cool weather hits, it’s go time for slow braises in the oven, bubbling stews on the stove, and roasting things into submission – but in the summer ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’! Like today, I got home from work and we drizzled lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice, added Trader Joe’s grilled balsamic chicken and topped with homemade basil pesto and BAM, dinner done in 5 minutes. Beautiful weather and summertime temps call for dinner on the table in a snap with as little time and cooking as possible.
These chicken gyro’s are my summertime obsession right now. Juicy marinated chicken, tangy tzatziki, crumbled feta and a fresh cucumber tomato salad all rolled up in warm pita. Yes puhlease! It may seem like a lot of different steps, but you can let the chicken marinate the night before, and then the day of you can whip up your tzatziki, chop your veggies, grill the chicken, warm the pita and assemble!
Summer gives you permission to not try so hard – elaborate recipes are not necessary. Invite your friends over, pop a bottle, spread everything out on a table outside, and soak-up every last drop of summer.
For the chicken
– 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
– 3 large garlic cloves , minced
– 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (or red wine or apple cider vinegar)
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
– 1 tbsp dried oregano
– big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper
Cucumber tomato salad
– 10 oz container of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
– 3 cucumbers , diced. I like to use Persian or English cucumber so you can leave the skin on
– 1/2 red onion, finely diced
– 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
– drizzle of olive oil
– 1/2 lemon squeezed
– Salt and pepper
– 2 cucumbers (to make about 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated cucumber after squeezing out juice)
– 1 1/4 cups plain Greek yoghurt
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more if you want richer)
– 1 small garlic clove , minced
– salt & pepper to taste
what to do
Place all marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake and massage to mix. Add the chicken into the ziplock bag and massage to cover all the chicken. Marinate for at least 2 hours and no longer than 24 hours.
Make the Tzatziki. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scrape the watery seeds out. Coarsely grate the cucumber using a box grater. Then wrap in paper towels or a tea towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Place cucumber in a bowl and add remaining ingredients then mix to combine. Set aside for at least 20 minutes for the flavors to mix.
Make the cucumber salad by mixing all of the ingredients together.
To cook the chicken, brush the outdoor grill with oil, then preheat on medium high. Or you can cook this on the stove by heating a little oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through (cooking time depends on size of chicken).
Remove the chicken from the grill / fry pan onto a plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing
To assemble the gyros, top warm pita with grilled chicken, cucumber salad, tzatziki and crumbled feta!
It’s fun to lay it all out and let people help themselves! And you can also lay a piece of parchment down under the pita and roll and wrap it up on the bottom so it stays secured. Enjoy!