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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chicken Gyros

My first experience with gyros was at this little Lebanese restaurant called Haddad's a few steps off campus from Bradley University. You walk into Haddad's and you feel like you've stepped into someone's living room, with toddlers busily crawling about, and the entire family conversing in a booth. Luckily for me, they had chicken gyros, which were pretty good. When I saw this recipe, I knew Bob would love for me to try it. Let me tell you - these are fantastic. I mean really, really good.

My only mistake - the pitas. I know pita pockets are not ideal because they tend to be stiffer than more traditional pita, but it was all I could find. I think I would have rather gone pita-less! I'd love to try making homemade pitas sometime with this recipe - I really think it would make a huge difference. UPDATE: Try these with Soft Wrap Bread!!!

Since making these gyros the first time, I've also made them using a salad base instead of pita, which was really delicious too. Another option would be to serve it as a salad, then have toasted pita on the side. Regardless, this recipe is outstanding!

Chicken Gyros
For the marinade:
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tablespoons low fat Greek yogurt (see explanation below)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

2 large chicken breasts
salt and pepper

diced tomatoes
sliced onions
pitas (or try this amazing Soft Wrap Bread)
tzatziki sauce (see below)

1. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Transfer marinade and chicken breasts to a resealable plastic bag, making sure the chicken is coated completely. Refrigerate for about an hour.

2. Preheat the broiler (or grill or a pan on the stove). Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and broil until cooked through (mine took about 8 minutes per side). Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.

3. Meanwhile, heat pitas. One way to do this is by lightly spraying with olive oil and sticking on the burner of a gas stove for a few seconds per side.

4. Top pitas with chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, and onion.

Source: Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

Tzatziki sauce

Note: In Elly's recipe, she calls for plain yogurt strained through cheesecloth for several hours or overnight. I didn't have any cheesecloth, or several hours for that matter, so I found some Greek yogurt at Trader Joe's that says it's already been strained. I believe it because it was very thick, and our tzatziki sauce was nice and thick - not runny. I also didn't seed my cucumber like she recommends because frankly, I didn't see it in the directions until I was done! Please see her original recipe if you'd like a more authentic version of this delicious sauce!

The first time I made this, I used a 16 oz. container of yogurt, which was more tzatziki than we used in one dinner. The second time, I halved the recipe, scaling down to a 7 oz. yogurt, which ended up being the perfect amount for the two of us, but not much to spare.

1 16-ounce container of low fat, strained Greek yogurt (Trader Joe's has it, I took out the 2 T. for the marinade above and used the rest of the container for this sauce)
1 cucumber
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1. Shred cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a towel or paper towels. Once you think you've finished, try and squeeze even more - a lot will come out!

2. Mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes or more before serving.

Source: Adapted from Elly Says Opa!


  1. what's funny is that the way you describe Haddad's atmosphere actually makes it sound quaint, when it REALLY is their living room!

  2. These look fabulous. I have been wanting to try gyros at home. Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. So glad you liked these! I try to use Greek yogurt whenever possible for the tzatziki, too. If you can't find the pocketless pitas (which are hard to find) and don't feel like making them, you may be able to find some flatbread or even naan, which is a closer approximation to the greek pitas. :)

  4. I've had this recipe saved since Elly posted it and have been meaning to try it! Yours look so good - I want a bite right now :)

  5. These look good! I really wanna try some homemade pitas too sometime soon :)

  6. What a great photo! Making pitas isn't too hard and it definitely pays off. I have a good recipe if you're interested!

  7. Oh I want to try these!! That chicken looks great!!


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