Greek Chicken Salad

The BEST Greek Chicken Salad EVER that will have you craving salad!

This Greek Chicken Salad recipe is like a deconstructed gyro you will crave for days!  It’s loaded with juicy Greek chicken, Romaine lettuce, crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, zippy red onions, tangy Kalamata olives, salty creamy feta, PITA CROUTONS and creamy, healthy TZATZIKI DRESSING!  It’s easy to make, exploding with texture and you can prep all the ingredients ahead of time for a meal you can throw together in minutes!  (Photo & post update – recipe originally posted June 2, 2017)

GREEK CHICKEN SALAD VIDEO

top view of keto Greek Chicken Salad with yogurt dressing

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GREEK CHICKEN SALAD Recipe

Who else looooves Greek Food?  From my homemade hummus to my Greek Lemon Rice to my Chicken Souvlaki, Beef Souvlaki, Greek Pasta Salad, Chicken Gyros, Greek Pizza, I just can’t get enough of the fresh, bright, healthy cuisine.  I often find myself ordering Greek Salad and wishing I could eat only Greek salad.  And now you can – with this Greek CHICKEN Salad!

I added juicy, marinated Greek chicken to our favorite salad which transforms it into a hearty main dish that is refreshing, light, healthy, filling and satisfying all at the same time. I topped our Greek Chicken Salad with pita croutons – because addicting CRUNCH – and drizzled it all with Tzatziki Dressing that’s creamy, fresh and tangy. The resulting Greek Chicken Salad is a harmonious, mouth happy dance of flavor and texture that will have you savoring each bite.

In addition to the YUM factor, I also love this Greek Chicken Salad recipe because every single one of the components can be prepped ahead of time for an ideal meal-prep lunch or make ahead dinner!

So, please don’t be intimidated when you look at the ingredients – there are a few things going on with the chicken, the dressing, the croutons and the salad BUT they all can be prepped DAYS ahead of time – and at different times AND they come together quickly (you literally push “blend” to make the dressing).  So, please make this Greek Chicken Salad – you will not regret it!

What chicken is best for Greek Chicken Salad?

A Greek Chicken Salad needs dynamite Greek chicken.  I used my rave worthy Greek chicken marinade because as I said in that post, it’s a 10 out of 10 in my opinion.

The marinade is a quick whisking of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and a plethora of pantry spices including garlic, oregano, cumin, basil, and paprika. Can we say FLAVOR?!  You will want to devour this chicken plain it smells soooo good and tastes even better.

How long do I marinate my Greek chicken?

You will want to marinate the Greek Chicken for 4-8 hours.  You can get away with marinating it for less time, but the longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will become.  On the other hand, you don’t want to marinate the chicken longer than 8 hours because lemon juice can actually constrict the protein fibers and make your chicken tough and chewy.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Absolutely!  You can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs, you will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.  I chose chicken breasts because they are leaner but chicken thighs are inherently juicier and reheat better.

showing how to make Greek Chicken Salad by slicing chicken on a cutting board

Greek CHICKEN SALAD INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: 

Most of these Greek Chicken Salad ingredients are the same as my Greek Pasta Salad – so you can double up and make it a Greek week!

For this Greek Chicken Salad recipe you will need:

  • Romaine lettuce.  You will want a large head of Romaine, otherwise you can use 2-3 smaller heads.  You can even use half Romaine and half iceberg for a lovely crunch.
  • Tomatoes. Please use ripe cherry tomatoes for the best texture.  Cherry tomatoes are inherently sweeter than grape tomatoes, so aim for cherry if you can.  You can also use a few Roma tomatoes, but you will want to seed them first so they don’t make your Greek Chicken Salad soggy.
  • Bell peppers.  You can use red, yellow or orange bell pepper – whatever you have on hand!
  • Cucumber.  I recommend an English cucumber because then you don’t have to peel it, but you are welcome to substitute with a peeled, slicing cucumber.
  • Red onions.  You can thinly slice the red onions or chop them.  Red onions are quintessential to Greek salad, but if they are too strong for you, then you can add the sliced/chopped onions to bowl, and submerge them in cold ice water for 10 minutes, before draining, drying and using.
  • Olives. Please use Kalamata olives and not just black olives for their dark, rich intensely fruity flavor.  I use pitted Kalamata olives and then slice them because they are juicer and tend to hold together better than jarred sliced olives.
  • Feta cheese.  This rich, creamy, salty, tangy cheese adds SO much flavor!  It is sold by the block or in crumbles. I always have a large container of feta crumbles in my fridge from Costco, so that is what I use but if you can get your hands on chunked feta, it is fabulous!
  • PITA Croutons!   I am a firm believer that every salad recipe needs an element of crunch – and for this Greek Chicken Salad it comes in the form of  pita croutons!  The pita croutons taste like seasoned pita chips AKA YUM.  I was so excited about my idea for pita croutons, as I love traditional homemade croutons, and these turned out even more incredibly delicious than I imagined.  If you want a shortcut, you can use some crushed pita chips, but I promise homemade pita croutons are SO EASY.
easy Greek Chicken Salad that is keto friendly

Greek Chicken Salad Dressing

Now to the best part of the Greek Chicken Salad – the creamy, fresh, vibrant Tzatziki Dressing!  Traditional Greek Salad is served with a vinaigrette while gyros are served with Tzatziki, so I went the gyro route because I LOVE garlic, dill, lemon infused Tzatziki and all its creamy tangy deliciousness.  And this Greek salad loves this Tzatziki Dressing.

The ingredient list is a little long for the Greek Dressing, but remember, it is simple to make.  The only prep you have to do is to chop the cucumber and add it to a fine mesh sieve with some salt.  This will prevent the dressing from becoming watery.   While the cucumber is doing it’s thing, you can chop the rest of the veggies, then just adding the dressing ingredients to your blender an push blend!

How to MAKE GREEK CHICKEN SALAD:

STEP 1: Make Greek Chicken

Whisk the marinade ingredients together and add chicken.  You can grill the chicken or cook it on the stove top.  You can serve it sliced or chopped.  You can also make it 2 days ahead of time and refrigerate it or cook it up right when you’re ready to make the salad.

showing how to make Greek chicken for Greek chicken salad in a skillet

STEP 2: Make Greek Dressing

Add chopped cucumbers to a fine mesh sieve and season with ½ teaspoon salt to help them release their juices. Let them sit for 15 minutes or so.  I then use the back of a spoon to press down on the cucumber to get rid of any excess juices.  This step is super easy but also super important so you don’t end up with watery dressing.

showing how to make Greek Chicken Salad by draining cucumbers

Next, add your drained cucumbers to your blender along with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dill, parsley, pepper and cumin and blend away to garlicky, herby, tangy, creamy amazingness.

showing how to make Greek chicken Salad by adding Greek Dressing ingredients to a blender

STEP 3: Make Pita Croutons

Toss your cut up pitas with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika and bake for 10 minutes and you have pita croutons you won’t be able to stop munching!

The BEST Greek Chicken Salad loaded with crazy delicious Pita Croutons and creamy Tzatziki Dressing! Its like a deconstructed gyro you will crave for days!

STEP 4: Assemble Greek Chicken Salad

You can either combine all of the ingredients or keep them separate depending on if you’re expecting leftovers.  See below for serving suggestions.

top view of Greek Chicken Salad with yogurt dressing in a white bowl with tomatoes, olives, cucumber, red onions and Greek Chicken

How to Serve Greek Chicken Salad

  • If not expecting leftovers:  Add romaine, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes olives, and onions to a large salad bowl and give it a good toss.  Now you can either toss in the chicken, dressing, croutons and feta, OR serve them on the side and let everyone dress their own salads.
  • If expecting leftovers:  Toss romaine, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes olives, and onions together in a large salad bowl. Serve chicken, dressing, croutons and feta on the side.  This will prevent the salad and croutons from getting soggy when storing.
  • Salad Bar.  If you have picky eaters or want a fun entertaining idea, then consider a salad bar where everyone can pile on as much or as little of their favorite toppings.  Everyone is a winner with a Greek Chicken Salad Bar!
  • You don’t have to make a salad!   The fixings or leftovers of this Greek Chicken Salad are fabulous in pitas or as a grain/rice bowl.

Tips for Greek Chicken Salad

  • Customize ingredients.  The salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies.
  • Don’t over marinate chicken. Don’t marinate chicken longer than 8 hours or it can become tough.
  • Flip marinating chicken. If you’re home and think of it, flip bag of marinating chicken over halfway through so the chicken marinates evenly.
  • Pound chicken to an even thickness.  Pound the thickest part of the chicken so it’s even with the thinnest part to ensure the chicken cooks evenly.  You don’t want one side to be cooked perfectly and the other side to be raw or overcooked/dry.
  • Tenderize chicken.  Pounding the chicken also  tenderizes it as well.  If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the side of a can.  I place my chicken in the ziploc bag I’m going to marinate it and then pound.
  • Let chicken rest.  Let the Greek Chicken rest for 5 minutes slicing. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the chicken.
  • Alternative proteins. Although this is Greek CHICKEN Salad, the marinade would be delicious shrimp, salmon, pork or steak, so feel free to mix it up!
  • Chill dressing.  You’ll want to refrigerate your Tzatziki Dressing for at least an hour but it is even better refrigerated overnight as it becomes creamier and the flavors become deeper.  Oh.  My.  Yum.
  • Prep ahead:  You can make your chicken, chop all your veggies, make the dressing and pita croutons all ahead of time and store in air-tight containers in your refrigerator so all that’s left is to do is assemble and EAT! Detailed prep ahead instructions below.
up close of the  Best Greek Chicken Salad

recipe variations

  • Chicken:  Go as simple as shredded rotisserie chicken tossed in the Greek chicken marinade; let it rest for 15 minutes to soak up some of the flavor.
  • Salmon: Swap the chicken for buttery Greek salmon.
  • Shrimp: Instead of chicken, add pre-cooked shrimp, grilled shrimp or marinate shrimp in a splash of the dressing before cooking
  • Steak:  Add your favorite chopped steak such as marinated flank steak.
  • Pork: Leftover chopped pork like garlic butter pork tenderloin would be super tasty. 
  • Hardboiled eggs: Add eggs for a Cobb-salad flair.   
  • Bacon  Crispy, crumbly and salty. Use thick cut bacon for its extra flavor and because it is hearty enough to stand up to the dressing without immediately becoming soggy.  The best way to cook bacon is low and slow over medium-low heat in a cast iron skillet so the fat has time to render and the bacon can crisp up.
  • Prosciutto:  Is silky and salty fabulous.
  • Veggies: Add more or less of your favs or swap in other vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, etc.
  • Grain Bowls: Turn this Greek Chicken Salad into a grain bowl by adding cooked quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, farro or couscous. Add additional topping such as pickled red onions, sliced almonds, radishes, roasted sweet potatoes, etc.

How to Store

If you plan on storing leftovers, do not toss the salad with the dressing or add the croutons. Instead, store the salad, croutons and dressing in separate airtight containers. The salad without the dressing will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

To store the dressing, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. The dressing may thicken upon standing, so just stir in a little milk to reach desired consistency.

Recipe Leftover Ideas

  • Gyros or wraps: stuff the salad into pitas or wraps and and serve with plenty of tzatziki.
  • Grain Bowls: add Greek Lemon Rice or any rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice to a large bowl along with the salad and roasted veggies and top with desired toppings such as tzatzkiki, hummus  pickled red onions and sliced almonds.
  • Greek Pasta Salad:  combine the salad with your short pasta of choice to make a pasta salad. You might want to mix the tzatziki dressing with some mayo for better pasta salad consistency.
  • Pizza or Flatbread: use my Gyro Pizza for a guide and top store-bought pizza dough, homemade pizza dough, flatbread or sliced French bread with a layer of sundried tomato basil humus mixed with a couple tablespoons Greek yogurt, then top with shredded mozzarella cheese, then bake until the cheese is melted. Top with leftover Greek chicken salad and drizzle with tzatziki.
  • Baked Potatoes. bake potatoes until tender then slice open and top with mozzarella cheese.  Return to the oven to melt.  Top with Greek chicken salad and tzatziki, feta, chives, etc. 
  • Sandwiches:  stuff Greek chicken salad in between toasted buns with all your favorite toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes, pickled red onions, bacon, etc. along with hummus and/or tzatziki.
  • Paninis: spread tzatziki or Greek yogurt mixed with a little mayo on each side of sliced ciabatta bread then layer the bottom slice with mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled red onions, feta, and Greek Chicken Salad. Top chicken with bread and grill in a greased grill pan, placing a heavy pan on top of the sandwich. Grill panini for 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted.

 

Prep Ahead Greek Chicken Salad

I love this Greek Chicken Salad because although there a few steps, you can prep almost everything in advance:

  • Vegetables:  can be chopped 24 hour in advance and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Dressing:  can be made one week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Chicken:  can be cooked 1-2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Croutons:  can be made 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

If you love this Greek Chicken Salad, you’ll also love my fresh and flavorful doner kebabs and chicken shawarma!

Looking for more Chicken Salad Recipes?

top view of a serving plate of Greek chicken salad tzatziki

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

top view of Greek Chicken Salad with yogurt dressing in a white bowl with tomatoes, olives, cucumber, red onions and Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken Salad with Pita Croutons and Tzatziki Dressing

This Greek Chicken Salad recipe is like a deconstructed gyro you will crave for days! It’s loaded with juicy Greek chicken, Romaine lettuce, crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, zippy red onions, tangy Kalmata olives, salty creamy feta, PITA CROUTONS and creamy, healthy TZATZIKI DRESSING! It’s easy to make, exploding with texture and you can prep all the ingredients ahead of time for a meal you can throw together in minutes!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Tzatziki Dressing

  • 1/2 seedless/English cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled or ¼ teaspoon garliic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (may sub white)
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried dill, dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, ground cumin

Salad

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 English cucumber peeled, halved, sliced
  • 8 oz. cherry or tomatoes halved
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) chopped
  • 1/2 red onion very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives sliced if desired
  • sliced almonds optional
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Easy Pita Croutons

  • 4 plain pita breads cut into 1/2″ squares (roughly 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp EACH salt, garlic pwder, paprika

Instructions

Greek Chicken

  • Prepare chicken according to recipe directions.

Blender Tzatziki Dressing

  • Add chopped cucumbers to a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir and let sit 15-20 minutes (this prevents the dressing from becoming watery). After 15/20 minutes, use the back of a spoon to push cucumber down against sieve to release excess water.
  • Add cucumber along with all remaining Tzatziki Dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve – best if chilled at least 1 hour, the longer the better.

Pita Croutons

  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Add pita squares to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, paprika and garlic powder. Toss until evenly coated then spread into an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Assemble

  • Add romaine, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes olives, and onions to a large salad bowl and give it a good toss. Now you can either toss in the chicken, dressing, croutons and feta, OR if expecting leftovers, serve them on the side and let everyone dress their own salads. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

Prep Ahead Greek Chicken Salad

I love this Greek Chicken Salad because although there a few steps, you can prep almost everything in advance:
  • Vegetables:  can be chopped 24 hour in advance and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Dressing:  can be made one week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Chicken:  can be cooked 1-2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Croutons:  can be made 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

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(Photo update – recipe originally posted June 2, 2017)

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117 Comments

  1. Susan Christy says

    I’d love to try this in my baked chicken salad.

  2. Stefanie G says

    I love to use the KRAFT Avocado Oil Mayo in my chicken salad.

  3. Tina W says

    I want to try it in the Baked Parmesan Chicken (the one many people call OMG Chicken). It’s a family favorite!

  4. Debbie B says

    i would like to make chicken salad with it

  5. Jammie says

    I am most excited to use it in my macaroni salad, or even in tuna salad.

  6. Tabathia B says

    I would use it to make stacked sandwiches with deli meat

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  7. Thomas Murphy says

    I would use it in chicken salad.

  8. Sarah L says

    I’d first use the KRAFT Avocado Oil Mayo in my tuna fish salad.
    Thanks for the contest.

  9. Connie says

    Love your idea making croutons with pita bread. Nice and small. Sometimes large croutons can be hard to chew. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome! I think you will love the crouton and the salad – I’m excited for you to try it!

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