Who doesn’t love a sandwich, and a Greek one for that matter. Yes, there might be some debate on whether a gyro is actually a sandwich or not, but the purpose of this post it is a sandwich. This grilled chicken gyro is fresh, flavorful, and relatively quick to make, making it a perfect weeknight dinner idea. Want more Greek food? Check out my Greek Lamb Meatballs.
While there is a recipe written below for a creamy cucumber tzatziki, and yogurt marinated grilled chicken thighs I am more selling you on the idea of a gyro and not a hard recipe. What’s more important is not what’s in the gyro, but the balance of flavors and how it is assembled. If you take anything away from this post it’s that you can swap out any of the below, but as long as the gyro is balanced in flavor and texture you got a good tasting sandwich. So what makes a good gyro?
Throughout this post you will walk through the key elements that make for a great gyro, the sauce, the meat, and finally the toppings. Keep reading on to learn more.
Difficult word to spell isn’t it? But man is it delicious. Tzatziki is a yogurt-based sauce made from cucumbers, herbs, and garlic. Can you buy tzatziki in the supermarket? Sure, but making your own means that you can make it how you like it. A good tzatziki is fresh and bright, and complements, not takes away from a gyro. Plus it can be used for more than just this gyro recipe, this versatile sauce can also be treated as a dip and paired with pita or vegetables.
Tzatziki is incredibly easy to make and can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Why only a week? After a while the cucumbers aren’t as crisp or fresh muddying the tzatziki. No food processor? No problem! I actually prefer to make this by hand. See recipe below.
Alright you have the sauce, now let’s tackle the meat. Let’s be honest, an average person doesn’t have a spit in their kitchen, so grilling is the next best thing here. 9/10 times I choose chicken thighs over breasts. They are juicier, fattier, and because of that they are forgiving if you over cook them. These Greek grilled chicken thighs are marinated in an herby yogurt similar to the tzatziki, grilled until slightly charred, and then roughly cut for the gyro.
Okay, you just made a bomb tzatziki, you have your juicy grilled chicken thighs, now it is time to add the fresh element. I like to add some cherry tomatoes for brightness, some Persian cucumbers for crunch, and some raw red onions for a bite. Wait did I mention that I also add fries on top? Below are some other great toppings.
Make the Tzatziki – Prep the cucumber by slicing lengthwise and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Discard this. Using a medium size grater, grate the cucumber. Now this part is important. Using a cheese cloth, kitchen towel, or a heavy duty paper towel squeeze as much of the excess cucumber water out. If you leave moisture in the sauce will get super watery, especially the longer it sits. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
Marinate the Chicken – Combine the yogurt, dill, parsley, dried oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest , olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in a bowl. Before marinating, salt the chicken thighs generously (approximately 2-3 tsp). Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken sit in the yogurt marinade for a minimum 30 minutes.
Prep the Toppings – Whether it’s tomatoes or cucumbers, red onion or feta, prep all the ingredients beforehand that way you can enjoy the chicken hot when it comes off the grill.
Cook + Pull it Together – Preheat the grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You need the grill to be wildly hot for this or the yogurt marinade with cause the chicken to stick. Grill the thighs for approximately 8-10 minutes each side or until done. When ready to pull together heat up a soft pita, slather some tzatziki, chopped chicken and toppings. If some of those toppings are greek fries even better.
This is a perfect recipe to meal prep on Sunday for the week. As stated above the tzatziki can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days in an airtight container. Likewise the grilled chicken can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. When ready to heat either pop the chicken in the oven (350 degrees) or toaster oven until warmed throughout. The microwave works too.