I know what you’re thinking: Another bowl already? And also with a Mediterranean theme?! I know but bear with me here. That Mediterranean Steak Bowls recipe made great big bowls of awesome, but I almost didn’t make them. Gasp!! It was between that recipe and this Chicken Tzatziki Bowl recipe because they both sounded so good. Well, I decided not to just choose one so here we are with another Mediterranean bowl option. Yes, this one uses a few of the same ingredients, but it sounds like the flavors will be different enough that we don’t get bored. Let’s find out what my “runner up” recipe is like!
Smoky yogurt-marinated grilled chicken served over quinoa and Mediterranean-inspired tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives with tzatziki and Feta.
This recipe is actually two recipes because you also need to make Skinny Tzatziki for a topping. Hey, it’s in the title! So I made sure to print out both recipes (this can be a challenge for me LOL) and then I made up my list and went grocery shopping.
I needed most everything but the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices. I even had some kalamata olives on hand, and I assumed they would be a close enough kind of substitute for castelvetrano olives. Oh, but no.
Even though I used them, it turns out castelvetrano are large green olives with a mild flavor. It turns out that the black olives I thought I saw in the tiny recipe picture were actually charred spots on the chicken. Is 46 too soon for glasses?
The majority of the items that I did have to shop for were easy to find, even the feta. It comes in a somewhat large Tupperware-like container because it’s soaking in brine. I thought I was getting a huge block of cheese I would never use up, but the actual cheese inside isn’t terribly large. Enough for 2-3 feta dishes, I’m sure, but that’s easy for me. It won’t go to waste!
The only ingredients I couldn’t find were the three Persian cucumbers. Sometimes they have them, sometimes they don’t. I ended up substituting a second English cucumber for them and it worked a treat.
The main recipe is divided into three parts plus you have to make the tzatziki, so let’s say four parts:
- The chicken
- The tzatziki
- The salad
- The bowls
Ideally, I would make the chicken marinade and tzatziki the day before, but that’s not how it went. I did make the tzatziki the day before, but I completely forgot the marinade until the day of. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 9 minutes to make the tzatziki (not including time to strain the yogurt)
- 6 minutes to prep the marinade
- 26 minutes to finish the prep work
- 4 minutes to thread the skewers
- 20 minutes to cook and assemble the bowls
- 1 hour 5 minutes total (not including time to marinate)
Making the Tzatziki Sauce
First up for the tzatziki was straining the yogurt to remove excess moisture. I used placed one cup of yogurt into a mesh strainer placed over a small mixing bowl. Then I put the bowl into the refrigerator to drain for a couple of hours while I puttered around the kitchen. I used Greek yogurt, so there wasn’t much liquid in the bowl. I’m sure that would not be the case with regular yogurt, though.
Once I started making the tzatziki, I did have a little trouble with the cucumber. I peeled it, chopped it into smaller pieces, and put them all into my mini-prep. This should have been done in smaller batches because there were a lot of big chunks left. I ended up removing the pulp and pulsing the rest of the cucumber chunks in two batches as I should have from the start.
Then I used my other sieve (a small mesh designed for cocktails) to strain the cucumber pulp by gently pressing on it with my fingertips. By the way: you can save that leftover cucumber juice to make a Tart and Crisp Cucumber Gin Fizz.
Continuing on, the rest of the process was a little bit of chopping then mixing up all the ingredients with the strained yogurt. I did make one small change to the recipe, though. I like smooth tzatziki, so I used my garlic press instead of just crushing the garlic as listed. That way you get the garlic flavor (maybe more) but you don’t end up biting into a big piece of garlic.
Making the Chicken Tzatzkik Bowls
The next morning was when I realized I forgot to marinate the chicken, but there was still time. The recipe says it needs to be marinated 1-8 hours, and I estimate I got in 5-6 hours.
About an hour before I planned to grill the chicken, I got started on prepping the other ingredients. That meant a lot of chopping, slicing, and measuring, as well as cooking up the quinoa.
Because I absolutely hate raw tomatoes, I also made a change to the recipe here. Instead of halving them, I skewered them and grilled them with the chicken. I used my metal skewers because they hold more than bamboo skewers.
Speaking of bamboo skewers, I actually used them for the chicken. While I love my metal skewers, they are much too big to serve with bowls. I shortened four bamboo skewers so they were just a little longer than my bowls’ diameters and made sure to soak them while I did my prep work.
I also made sure to run outside and preheat the grill during my prep work, so it was ready to go when I got the chicken skewered. The chicken cooked up nicely in 15 minutes, and I’d say I took 10 minutes for the tomatoes (I like them cooked well). Then I took all that back into the kitchen, mixed up the salad part with the grilled tomatoes, and assembled the Chicken Tzatziki Bowls.