Chicken Gyros: Just Like the Real Thing Without the Calories

Chicken gryos are one of the dinners (or lunches) that have been consistently served in my family since we were first married. This dish has the intense flavor that is so close to the real thing, without the cost of take-out. The tzatziki sauce (aka cucumber sauce) is prepared fresh with cucumbers, non-fat yogurt, and dill, adding a bright and refreshing low-cal topping on the warm grilled chicken. Since these chicken gyros are made with lean chicken breasts and non-fat Greek yogurt, they are low in calories too. If that doesn’t have you saying “OPA!” I don’t know what will.

You gotta love dinners that can be deconstructed to a version that appeals to kiddos. That’s just another reason why I love chicken gyros. They can be dressed with all the fixings, or pared down to just the marinated chicken and pita. My husband takes his with extra sauce and I’ve been known to skip the carbs and forego the pita.  My boys like to dip theirs in ranch dressing. Whatever kids, you do you, JUST EAT. kthanks.

When I Was a First-Timer

The first time I had a real gyro (you know, the kind they shave off of a meat cone). I was so skeptical of the so-called “mystery meat”. I was with my good friend and roommate at the time, Becky. It was a Friday night and we had been out participating in college-age debauchery that may or may not have involved a couple kegs.

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Per usual, after a night of drinking, we were hungry for what now is called the fourth meal. Lo and behold, the corner Greek restaurant was there in our time of need.  The thought of eating that greasy pressed mystery meat sounded less than appealing, but with some liquid courage, I tried my first gyro. My gosh, that flavor! That cucumber sauce! I was so wrong assuming that I would not like what I thought was mystery meat at the time. The Greek know what’s up! And it’s not mystery meat. It’s typically pork and lamb.

I’m not exactly going to buy a meat cone and whip up an authentic gyro right in my kitchen, which is why I was so excited the first time I made chicken gryos. Chicken gyros have all the flavor with less fat and guilt  and are really easy to make!

Don’t Skimp on the Marinade

The key to making deliciously flavorful and tender chicken gyros is the marinade. The chicken will need at least 4 hours to marinate, so be sure to prepare ahead of time. I know it seems odd to have yogurt in the marinade, but it is one of the reasons why this chicken is so tender, so don’t skip it! It acts as a tenderizer and also thickens the marinade which enables the marinade to stick to the meat.

Aside from the tzatziki sauce, I like to top chicken gyros with chopped up cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and red onion. You can also add feta cheese crumbles.

Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later. If you like this, you might also like our Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs.

Chicken Gyros

Marinated grilled chicken and freshly prepared Tzatziki Sauce served on warm pita bread.

Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 English cucumber (shredded and drained)

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 4-6 Greek pitas or flatbread

Gyro Toppings (optional)

  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 English cucumber (diced)
  • parsley (chopped)
  • Feta cheese crumbles

Tzatziki Sauce Preparation

  1. Mix together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, dill, and garlic. Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess water.  Add in grated cucumber and seasonings. Stir to combine thoroughly. Can be made ahead of time.

Chicken Preparation

  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag and add cubed chicken. Marinate the chicken for 4-8 hours. 

  2. Skewer the chicken to prepare kabobs.  Heat grill to medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until chicken is fully cooked. Pita bread can be warmed in a low heat oven or microwave.

  3. Serve on warm pita bread with Tzatziki sauce and your choice of toppings.

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