this zesty and fresh chicken gyro lemon zest rice salad is brought to you in partnership with della rice.
the chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce that i posted back in august is one of our favorite recipes in my house. i love all of the flavors (lemon! oregano! feta! garlic!) and textures (crunchy purple cabbage! soft pita! creamy tzatziki sauce!). my husband loves that the recipe contains chicken. as i said, it’s a crowd pleaser.
except that i’m experimenting with not eating gluten or dairy? (i *try* to stay ahead of schedule testing and photographing recipes so that hasn’t necessarily been reflected here – hi, stuffed shells with peas and burrata!) needless to say, i wasn’t about to just stop eating alllll of my favorite recipes. some of them are more difficult to adapt than others but some of them, like chicken gyros, were practically begging for a little makeover.
ditching the gluten here was pretty easy, especially once i opened the bag of lemon zest rice from della and realized that all of the amazing flavors i was smelling were basically the same as the ones in my chicken gyros. lemon. oregano. chives. a few other spices. (notice that i didn’t say, “and a bunch of salt and chemicals i can’t pronounce” – yay!) flavorful rice swapped in for pita? yes please!
as for the dairy, it’s basically totally optional. you can include the feta and serve the salad with tzatziki… or not! it’s delicious either way (in the name of experimentation and recipe testing, i tried it both ways).
and for those of you who don’t care about gluten or dairy, allow me to point out how well this salad keeps, either to bring leftovers to eat at your desk at work or to bring on a picnic in the park on a beautiful, sunny spring day. you know, in case either of those situations apply to you…
here’s hoping it’s the latter for all of us, but either way, at least we’ll have a tasty chicken gyro lemon zest rice salad waiting for us in the fridge.
- 1 pound (454 g.) boneless, skinless chicken breast
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of hot smoked paprika, if you have it
- ¼ cup (2 oz. / 57 g.) plain 2% greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (2 oz. / 57 g.) light sour cream
- ½ cup cucumber, seeded and diced (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (6 oz. / 170 g.) della lemon zest rice (or plain rice)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 plum tomato, diced or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters, if they are large
- 2 oz. (1/2 cup / 57 g.) feta cheese, crumbled or diced
- 1 cup purple cabbage or crunchy lettuce (such as iceberg), diced
- 1/4 cup raw red onion, minced
- a few fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- cook the rice according to the package directions.
- trim the chicken and cut it into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes. in a medium bowl, combine the lemon, garlic, and spices then toss the chicken strips in the spice mixture to coat them. let the chicken rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- in a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce and stir well to combine thoroughly.
- put 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium. add the chicken to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, turning frequently, until the pieces are cooked through. transfer chicken to a medium bowl and cover bowl with a plate to keep chicken warm.
- add the remaining teaspoon olive oil to the same large skillet. sauté the yellow onion and green pepper for about 3 minutes, until soft. add the garlic, oregano, and cooked chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant and chicken is hot.
- combine everything but the tzatziki sauce in a big bowl and stir to combine. serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. pass the tzatziki sauce separately.
pretty much all of this is very flexible so feel free to adjust the quantities indicated to match your preferences. for example, if you’re not my husband and you want to keep this vegetarian, drained and rinsed canned chick peas would be a great replacement for chicken. if i was making this just for myself, that would be my choice…
cucumbers – in the winter when all of the cucumbers are meh, i use the english (plastic wrapped) variety as they are seedless. in the summer when there are lovely local cucumbers to be had, i use those and seed them (or not, honestly).
leftovers keep for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. the onion flavor will get stronger over time, FYI. store the tzatziki sauce separately from the salad. the tzatziki will get watery from the cucumber but a quick stir brings it all back together.
adapted from my chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce.
this post is brought to you in partnership with della rice. thank you for supporting brands i love to use in my kitchen; sponsored posts such as this help behind the scenes at tasty seasons! all opinions in this (and every) post are my own.