Whew! That title’s a mouthful! The sandwich is too. And a very tasty one at that! Perfect for springtime eating!
Tender, extremely flavorful Greek-style chicken with a mixture of crunchy veggies and dollops of cool, creamy cucumbery tzatziiki sauce all in a soft pita pocket. YUM!! Neat? Nope! Not at all! But so, so messily worth it! I’ve wanted to share this with you for a while now, but can’t seem to get any gorgeous photos, but I’ve decided that it’s just too cruel to keep this yummy concoction from you guys any longer. Looks aren’t everything, right?!!
First off, let’s talk about the greek-style chicken which gets tender and so flavorful by sitting in a nice bath of yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil with a few spices tossed in. The chicken gets ultra tender and has a really nice tang too. And the beauty part of it all is that you bake the chicken in the very same dish you use to marinate it, so cleanup is a snap!
Now, let’s talk tzatziki, which is hard to spell and pronounce, but very, very easy to eat! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a cucumber yogurt sauce that’s heavy on the garlic but that zing is balanced out by the cool creaminess of the yogurt. Here it really pulls everything together and is so good, you’re going to want to eat it with a spoon! Fortunately, this recipe makes more than you need for just these sandwiches, so you can definitely go the spoon route or use it as a dip for raw veggies or to drizzle on lettuce or other leftover combo bowls (one of my husband’s special talents!).
And now, we’re on to the pita pockets. When we want pitas, I generally make my own because, hello, I love to bake and once you taste these homemade ones, it’s kinda hard to go back to the store-bought variety, but a good quality packaged version will definitely do the trick too, especially when you warm it up.
When everything comes together, there’s just the right balance of flavor, color and crunch! Healthy, easy and so tasty! You’re going to love these, I promise! They make a great light dinner or extra-special lunch.
Just make sure you’ve got plenty of napkins handy!!!
Greek Chicken Pita Pockets with Homemade Tzatziki
Makes 5-6 servings
Prep Time for Chicken: At least 2 hours to marinate and up to 12; Bake Time for Chicken: 30 minutes; Prep Time for Tzatziki: 15-20 minutes
For the Chicken
1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt (unsweetened)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Tzatziki
2 cups (554 grams) plain Greek yogurt (unsweetened)
1 English or seedless cucumber, unpeeled
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sandwiches
Fresh pita pockets, store-bought or this homemade version
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1. To make the chicken: Mix together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch or two of salt and pepper together in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken and coat it with the yogurt mixture. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 12.
2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the fridge so it can warm up a bit and preheat oven to 425ºF. Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through and browned on top. Let cool for about 10 minutes (or more) and slice thinly.
3. To make the tzatziki: While the chicken is marinating or even the day before, place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Cut your cucumber lengthwise and quarter it. Then scoop out the seeded part. Coarsely grate your cucumber onto a clean dishcloth and wring it out as well as you can over the sink. You really want to get as much liquid out as possible or the sauce will be too runny. Add the grated cucumber to the yogurt, as well as the lemon, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Chill covered, until needed. You can definitely make this a day ahead and keep covered in the fridge.
4. To assemble the sandwiches: Warm the pitas and then cut open and stuff with shredded lettuce, chicken, tomatoes and cucumbers and top with dollops of the tzatziki sauce. Serve immediately.
Note: Chicken recipe adapted from The Half-Baked Harvest Cookbook. I cut the smoked paprika and oregano. Tzatziki recipe adapted from various versions online and in cookbooks. I’m not a huge dill fan but if you like it, it would be nice to add some freshly chopped dill to it as well.