The goal is to always keep things–in order of preference and priority–delicious, speedy and nutritious. This means adding protein and vegetables into the mix, while also making sure it comes together really quickly and easily. I’m talking no more than 45 mins tops in total, with no more than 15 mins of my involvement. This recipe delivers on all these fronts.

Not to state the obvious, but I’m a thigh girl; they’re so much better flavour-wise, and also don’t dry out like chicken breasts often do. But obviously use breasts if that’s what you prefer. The chicken is first coated in spices and roasted in the oven. A quick note on this: make sure you use a large enough tray to avoid overlapping them. Overcrowding the tray would make the chicken braise instead of colour. We want them to brown nicely here.

While that cooks make the tzatziki: yogurt, minced garlic, a couple grated cukes (wringed out to rid them of excess moisture). Stir it all up. Refrigerate while the chicken cooks.

To serve, dollop and swoosh the tzatziki onto your plate. Top with shredded lettuce for extra crunch, and scatter over the chicken pieces. If you have chicken juices in the pan, spoon some over too. Eat as is or with flatbreads to scoop up with. (I personally like the contrast of fridge-cold tzatziki and piping hot chicken.) All components can be made ahead/refrigerated for a few days/frozen for a month.

CHICKEN TZATZIKI SALAD

Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 500 grams boneless chicken thighs (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lettuce, to serve

Tzatziki:

  • ½ cup thick yogurt
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  • Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss with salt, oil and all the spices listed above. Lay the pieces out on a large baking tray without overlaps.
  • If the pieces are too tightly packed on the tray, they will braise and not colour very well. Do this in two trays if necessary.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-35 mins or until nicely browned.
  • Meanwhile make the tzatziki: grate the cucumbers with their skins on. Take handfuls of the cucumber and squeeze out all the excess moisture out of them. We don’t want this. Alternatively, add the grated cucumber to a sieve and squeeze out excess moisture.
  • Mix together the cucumber, yogurt, garlic and salt in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • To serve, spread a layer of tzatziki on your plate. Top with shredded lettuce. Add the chicken pieces on top. Spoon the remaining oils and chicken juices from the baking tray over the top. I like this dish best when the chicken is hot and the tzatziki is fridge-cold.
  • Serve as is or with flatbreads on the side.

Notes

If using chicken breast, follow the same instructions but add 1 extra tablespoon of oil. Also roast for 15-20 mins.
Both the chicken and tzatziki can be made up to a few days in advance and kept refrigerated separately. They can also be frozen for up to a month.

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