Weeknight Dinner Staple: Greek Chicken Salad

greek chicken salad

Easy weeknight meals are essential for sanity, amiright? And when they’re healthy too, it’s really just a bonus and makes us 20-somethings feel like we’re doing the adult thing. (Though I’m trying harder and harder to be health-conscious.) I’m going to start sharing some painless recipes that are weeknight staples in our busy house. I’d love to hear your input—whether you think the recipes are too simple, love what I’m doing and can’t wait to try, don’t really care what I eat, etc. Let me know!

I’m starting with a very easy recipe that doesn’t require much active cooking time, Greek chicken salad.

A few years ago, I would’ve told you I wasn’t a big fan of Greek food. Garlic, olives, oregano, feta cheese, gyros…what was I thinking?! I’m literally eating my words; I can’t seem to get enough Greek food these days, and my boyfriend will never let me live that one down.

Based on my newfound love and the ease of cooking chicken souvlaki, it finds its way into our weekly dinner cycle often, both in gyros and Greek salad. It’s quick, simple, and healthy.

P.S. I’m sorry, Greek friends, if you don’t really put souvlaki in a gyro or a salad. I did a little research and know that souvlaki is typically served on a skewer, but in certain parts of Greece, they do eat it in a gyro. I think us Americans have the terminology all screwed up, but whatever this chicken is, it tastes damn good, so thanks!

Ingredients

Marinade, for two boneless/skinless chicken breasts

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or about 2 tablespoons of the bottled kind)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt/pepper to taste (I use a little less than a teaspoon of salt)

Salad Dressing

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced (I would highly recommend fresh lemon juice for the dressing, but the bottled kind works ok too, and again here, would use 2 tablespoons of the bottled.)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Oregano to taste (I use dried oregano but I’m sure fresh would be fantastic!)
  • ½ cup olive oil (Both regular and extra virgin work; choose your favorite! We like both, so we rotate them to change it up.)

Salad
The salad can have whatever you like in it. Here is what we prefer, with the ingredients divided into the two medium-sized bowls.

  • Romaine lettuce (I typically use about 2 romaine hearts for the two of us. Sometimes more, if we’re really hungry!)
  • 1 or 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • About a quarter of a red onion, sliced thin
  • 10 kalamata olives, sliced (about 4 or 5 in each bowl)
  • Crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Add all marinade ingredients to a bowl, and whisk them together well. Whisk until the marinade becomes almost creamy. It doesn’t take long, but you want to make sure the oil and vinegar are mixed well. Add to a Ziploc bag with the whole chicken breasts. Marinate in fridge for an hour.

While the chicken is marinating, I usually get the salad dressing together so it can spend some time melding (melding is probably what professional chefs call it right? Haha…) For the dressing, mix all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl. Whisk them together like you did with the marinade. Once they are mixed well, slowly add the oil a little at a time, whisking it into the mixture. Let the dressing sit while the chicken marinates and cooks. You will need to whisk it again before adding it to the salad.

Prepare/chop your salad ingredients at this point as well and add them to your bowls.

After about an hour or so, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard marinade. You can choose to either grill the chicken or cook it on the stove. We’ve been grilling it lately, and I definitely prefer it that way. (When I say ‘we’, I really mean ‘my boyfriend’. I’ll be honest, I just learned how to turn the thing on. The grill intimidates me, but I’m learning…) When grilled, it is so juicy and gets that crispy outside that is just…yum. So, I recommend that if possible. If not, it’s still absolutely delicious when cooked on the stove, which is what we do for about 9 months out of the year here in Buffalo.

Turn the grill or stove to medium heat. If cooking on stove, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan and heat. If grilling, let grill warm up. Once grill is warm or olive oil is almost simmering, add chicken and cook about 10 minutes (flipping once) until the chicken reaches a temperature of about 145°F. Remove chicken from grill and immediately cover with foil. Let chicken rest until it reaches a temperature of 165°F, about 10 minutes.

Once at temperature, cut chicken into strips and add to salad. Use as much or as little Greek dressing as you’d like (I like a ton). Devour it within minutes, like I did last night.

I’m sorry I ever said I didn’t like Greek food.

{Salad dressing recipe adapted from this recipe. I can’t remember where we originally found the chicken marinade recipe. I’ll keep searching and if I find the source will update.}