Chicken Gyros – Memorial Day is Grilling Day!

Memorial Day is here, and the high season of grilling has roared to life with terrific recipes to celebrate the holiday because Memorial Day is Grilling Day. All across the nation, grills will be raging, pools will be splashing, and flags will be waving.  Our final suggestion for the national holiday menu is Chicken Gyros, featuring lemon and garlic marinated chicken, crisp fresh vegetables, and refreshing creamy tzatziki sauce. These flavorful fistfuls are a lighter sandwich that won’t leave you weighed down by grease and cheese.

Begin with the Greek marinade by combining olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and spices, and then adding the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for eight hours. Prep the tzatziki sauce by finely chopping cucumber and pressing through a fine-mesh sieve to remove moisture.  Mix the cucumber with Greek yogurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, oregano, salt, and pepper, and chill for at least an hour before use. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat until golden and brilliant.  Slice the chicken and assemble the gyro on a fresh pita with desired veggies and topped with the tzatziki for an explosion of texture and freshness.  The perfect dish to be enjoyed by the pool under an umbrella with a refreshing drink in hand, these gyros will declare Memorial Day is Grilling Day!

Serves 6

Chicken Gyros Ingredients

Greek Chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2" thickness
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon each of cumin, dried basil, onion powder, sugar, and salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of pepper and paprika

To Serve

  • 4-6 flatbreads/pitas
  • 3 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber peeled, sliced, halved
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • feta to taste
  • 1 recipe Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 3/4 English cucumber or 1 slicing cucumber peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt (nonfat works great)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Gyros Directions

  • Whisk together all of the Greek marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl or large freezer bag and add chicken. Marinate 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Remove chicken from the fridge and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes before cooking.
  • Grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  • Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.) Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  • To assemble, top pitas with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, chicken and tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon. Chop a few times and add to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add diced cucumber to a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir and let sit 15 minutes. (Alternatively, if you don't have a food processor you either finely chop cucumber or finely grate).
  • After 15 minutes, use the back of a measuring cup or spatula to push cucumbers down against sieve to release excess water. Repeat several times.
  • Add all Tzatziki ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste (probably won’t need salt). Taste and add additional dill, or lemon juice if desired. Best if chilled at least one hour.

Taken from