These easy and full of flavor healthful chicken gyro sandwiches start with a simple 5-ingredient yogurt lemon marinated chicken that can be pan-fried, baked, or grilled, and then topped with a simple cucumber and dill tzatziki sauce. It’s as easy as that.
I’d have to say I’m just like 97.99% of the rest of the home cooks out there. We’re busy. Our days are full. And that makes our nights even fuller. It’s the reason why one of my most often heard of requests is for more meals that are easy to make, don’t take a whole lot of time or a laundry list of ingredients, but still have that from-scratch, seasonal-eats quality.
Well here is one recipe 97.99% of you and more are going to love. It’s simple. It’s fast. It’s practical with just a few simple ingredients. And it’s totally flavorful thanks to it’s Mediterranean roots.
The inspiration for these Greek Chicken Gyro sandwiches came from my talented friend Philia Kelnhover of the food blog Sweet Phi, and her cookbook Fast & Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People by Philia Kelnhofer.
When I first heard of Phi’s recipe series on her blog where she created recipes that were sweet, savory and everything in between with just 5 simple ingredients, I thought it was stunningly brilliant. And so did a whole lot of other people who came in droves to her site for recipes the made home cooked meals an effortless task.
Sweet Phi’s popular blog series is now a cookbook. A cookbook with 105 5-ingredient recipes that put seasonal, fresh ingredients at the forefront. You will find a whole lot of variety, surprisingly so considering each recipe has only 5 ingredients. What you won’t find is a lot of pre-packaged short cut foods as found on the web and elsewhere.
Looking through Phi’s cookbook left me in a tug of war with myself as to which recipe I wanted to make and share here. Peanut Butter Sea Salt Cookies. Spinach Alfredo Lasagna. Soda Pulled Pork. Crispy Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad. Yes, they’re all in the book, and yes, they all call for ONLY 5 ingredients each.
I’m telling you, I’m taking notes to pare down some of my own recipe creating strategies because this 5 ingredient thing is smart.
I finally settled on Phi’s recipe for Marinated Yogurt Lemon Chicken. Like many in her cookbook, her recipes are complete on their own, or like her yogurt chicken tenders recipe, can become the starting block for easy to make meals.
The notion of marinating chicken in yogurt and Mediterranean spiced sea salt led my mind to Greek food, and straight to one of my favorite sandwiches that work for lunch or dinner: Chicken Gyros with an addition of one of my favorite sauces, creamy yogurt tzatziki.
The marinade for these chicken tenders is very easy and calls for Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and Mediterranean sea salt. I fudged the sea salt and made my own with just a pinch of oregano and a bit of garlic powder, but you could certainly use a store-bought brand or even Italian seasoning sprinkled into kosher salt.
Like buttermilk, the yogurt sauce tenderizes the chicken for a juicier bite after cooking. Phi recommends 20 minutes up to an hour in the marinade, but I let mine go overnight and it was just fine.
Chicken tenders usually come pretty well trimmed of any excess fat, but for some reason there always seems to be a small tendon left dangling. To remove, simply snip with kitchen shears. The tenders are marinaded in the yogurt dressing.
I cooked my chicken in a hot, non-stick pan with a little olive oil. these could also be grilled or baked for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees, or until cooked through. I also thought about dredging them in panko bread crumbs for a crunchy outside that would be perfectly dippable.
While it does take us out of the 5-ingredient category, the tzatziki sauce is another simple recipe to prepare. The amount of garlic in this recipe is our families favorite, but vary the amount of garlic to your liking.
I use the Greek style of pita bread for this recipe. It’s soft, puffy, and lays flat and doesn’t have that hollow inside for stuffing. So instead it’s rolled. I found this video helpful in knowing how to roll the pita with the parchment wrapper.
Plus, I found the pita available in whole wheat, which gives this recipe another healthy high five.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Easy Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Mediterranean-spiced sea salt sea salt mixed with dried oregano
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce recipe below
- 4 slices flat Greek pita bread
- 4 cocktail tomatoes halved and then quartered
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- For the Tzatziki Sauce
- ½ cucumber halved with skin and seeds removed
- ¾ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
- Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lemon juice, yogurt, and sea salt in a large bowl and add the chicken tenders, tossing to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add half of the chicken tenders to the pan, shaking off the excess yogurt mixture before adding to the pan. Cook the chicken tenders for about 5 minutes, undisturbed, until browned, then flip and cook for another few minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a platter, add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and cook the remaining chicken tenders.
Prepare the tzatziki sauce by grating the cucumber. Gather the cucumber together and place in a paper towel and press the water out of the shredded cucumber and place in a medium size bowl. Add the yogurt, garlic, red wine vinegar, fresh dill, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
Warm the pita bread in a toaster oven or in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Spread some of the tzatzhiki sauce onto the warm pita bread with tomatoes, sliced red onion and 2 or 3 slices of chicken tenders. Fold the pitas and wrap in parchment paper or serve immediately.
Check out more of Phi’s 5 ingredient recipes, like:
See more recipes on Sweet Phi here, and purchase her cookbook Fast & Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People here.
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