Spicy Chicken Tzatziki Bowls
Spicy Chicken Tzatziki Bowls are the perfect middle-of-the-week dinner recipe! Start with marinated chicken and grill it on an indoor or outdoor grill. Then top your bowls with homemade tzatziki sauce, lots of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives, and crumbly feta. Serve over rice, quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice for a healthy yet easy dinner recipe!
It’s no secret that I really love my bowl recipes.
But this right here is Spicy Chicken Tzatziki Bowls – the Greek Chicken Bowls of your dreams.
It starts with tender marinated chicken. We’ll spike the marinade with some Calabrian chili paste to give this recipe a little heat. We’ll also use tons of fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, fresh dill, and chopped rosemary. The acid from the white wine vinegar and the minced garlic combined with lemon juice and olive oil gives this recipe such a unique flavor!
You can even skip the bowls and toss the chicken right on the grill and serve with your favorite veggies on the side. It’s truly one of a kind!
Top your bowls with all your classic Greek salad favorites – I love kalamata olives, fresh Persian cucumbers, and lots of homemade tzatziki sauce. I plan on adding pepperoncini peppers to my bowl when I make this next, how could that be anything but delicious?
This is one nutrition-dense bowl!
Ingredients for Chicken Tzatziki Bowls:
- Chicken: As always, you’ll see me using chicken breasts or chicken tenders for this recipe. Chicken thighs would work equally well (and some would argue better) because they’d retain more moisture and deliver more flavor.
- Seasonings and herbs: I typically prefer to use the fresh herbs from my garden, however, you can also use dried herbs and they’d work equally well. Of course, you’ll need the basics like salt, black pepper, and paprika. I’m also using fresh dill, chopped rosemary, thyme, and oregano. If you have dried oregano on hand, I typically just suggest using 1/2 the quantity if the herbs are dried. They’re twice as potent, so halving the ingredients typically works well. If you don’t happen to have any of these herbs individually, just use a scant tablespoon of Italian seasoning – it’s not ideal, but it will work in a pinch! However, keep in mind that you’ll still need some fresh or dried dill for the tzatziki. Unfortunately, you cannot replace the dill there with Italian seasoning!
- Lemons: Fresh lemon juice works best for this recipe. You’ll need a couple of tablespoons lemon juice for the tzatziki and some of the chicken marinade. To amp up the lemon flavor, you could also add the lemon zest to the chicken marinade, if you’d like.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil goes into the marinade for the chicken.
- White wine vinegar: Also used for the chicken marinade. Keep in mind that if you don’t have white wine vinegar on hand, you can swap it with red wine vinegar, it will work just fine for this recipe.
- Garlic: We’ll need some pressed or minced garlic for the tzatziki and some for the chicken marinade.
- Calabrian Chili Paste: Calabrian chili paste gives this recipe a really unique flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, I’d suggest replacing it with any other hot pepper paste. If neither of those is an option, red pepper flakes will work in a pinch, but I do prefer this recipe with a paste as the flavors are much better that way.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: Is the base of the tzatziki sauce. You want to use Greek yogurt as it is much thicker than plain yogurt. Even though we’ll squeeze most of the moisture out of our cucumbers, there will always be a bit remaining, and the thicker Greek yogurt helps keep the tzatziki from becoming too runny.
- Cucumbers: You’ll need Persian or hot house cucumbers to shred up and use in the tzatziki sauce. You’ll also want to have some on hand if this is something you’d like to add to your chicken tzatziki bowl.
- Crumbled Feta: What goes better in a Mediterranean-inspired recipe than crumbled feta cheese? I love adding it as a topping, but you could also make my crazy feta sauce (that I have shared in my harissa chicken bowls.) I combine mint, feta, and blend them together to create the most luscious sauce.
- Prepared veggies: My go to for this bowl is halved cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and kalamata olives. You could also use red onions, pepperoncini, or any other roasted or sauteed veggies that you’ve got in the fridge that you want to use up.
- Cooked rice etc: I love serving this bowl over a bed of fluffy rice, but you could certainly use cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro, or even orzo if you prefer. You can also serve this as a salad on a bowl of lettuce or wrap the chicken and serve it in a pita!
Making Chicken Tzatziki Bowls
- Marinate the chicken. Add all the dry seasonings to a bowl with the Calabrian chili paste, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and stir it together. Add the chicken pieces and let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and ideally, about 2 hours for the most flavorful chicken. You can make the tzatziki sauce when you marinate the chicken and refrigerate it when you’re ready to serve.
- Make tzatziki sauce. Start with the cucumbers. Grate them and pop them into a sieve. Sprinkle with salt. This will help the cucumbers release all of the water. Whisk the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, grated cloves garlic (or use garlic powder to make the flavor less harsh), and dill in a bowl. Squeeze out the water from the cucumbers, you can use your hands or even a kitchen towel. Mix the cucumber into the yogurt and stir to combine. Taste and adjust with more salt as needed. Cover the tzatziki and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve with the bowls.
- Grill the chicken. I love using a grill pan to cook the chicken indoors, but this would be equally (if not more) delicious on an outdoor grill. If you don’t own a grill pan, a large skillet would also work; the chicken just won’t get those grill marks. Cook the chicken until it registers a minimum of 160ºF on a food thermometer. Tent the chicken loosely while you prep the veggies, this will allow the chicken to cook all the way through.
- Assemble the bowls. Instructions for constructing a bowl are pretty simple! Add the base to your bowl, and top with grilled chicken, feta cheese, cucumber salad, feta, olives, and as much tzatziki as your heart desired. Top bowls with parsley for a little color if you’d like! This is a great recipe to meal prep because you can fill the bowls with protein and your base of choice. Add in fresh veggies when you’re prepping or right before serving.
FAQs about this recipe
As written this recipe is gluten-free so long as the Calabrian chili paste is packaged in marked gluten-free. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure your base is gluten-friendly.
Sure, we also love my chicken souvlaki as the protein for these bowls.
I wouldn’t let it sit for more than 4 days, covered and refrigerated.
If you like this recipe, you might also like these bowls:
- Cart-Style Halal Chicken Rice Bowls
- Honey Harissa Chicken Bowls with Feta Mint Sauce
- Crispy Chicken Bowls (Banh-Mi Inspired)
- Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Corn Salsa
- Sesame Ponzu Shrimp Rice Bowls
- ½ cup grated persian cucumbers
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill weed
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt AND black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon EACH: fresh dill AND chopped rosemary
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (½ if dry)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: lemon juice AND olive oil
- 1 tablespoon EACH: minced garlic AND white wine vinegar
- 1-3 teaspoon Calabrian chili pepper
- Prepared rice/bulgar/quinoa/farro/orzo + feta, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, pita chips etc.
- MARINADE: Add all the dry seasonings along with Calabrian chili (use as much as you’d like), garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil to a bowl and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Covere and refrigerate if marinating for longer than 30 minutes. Prepare tzatziki while the chicken marinades.
- TZATZIKI: Add the grated cucumbers to a sieve and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit over a bowl for 15 minutes or until the water drains from the cucumbers. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and dill to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Squeeze out any remaining water from the cucumbers using a kitchen towel and add the cucumbers to a bowl. Mix with a spoon. Taste and adjust with more salt as desired.
- COOK: Add the chicken to an indoor grill pan or lightly oil the grates of an outdoor grill once it’s heated to 450ºF. Add the chicken and cook for 8-12 minutes, flipping halfway through until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. Remove the chicken to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes so it cooks through to 165ºF.
- SERVE: Add prepared rice, quinoa, or bulgur to bowl, top with grilled chicken, feta cheese, kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and the spicy tzatziki, and serve!