Souvlaki is a Greek dish of small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer; it’s a popular Greek fast food. This Souvlaki recipe has the chicken marinated in lemon juice and zest, fresh oregano and garlic before it’s sprinkled with Za’atar seasoning and grilled. Served with warmed pita bread and a Greek salad, this is simple food makes for an excellent, healthy summertime meal.
Grilling season never really ends in the Saucy household, but the “official” start of grilling season is always my favorite time of year. Simple foods cooked on the grill, healthy salads with garden-fresh vegetables and herbs, and little cleanup means winning on so many levels. This recipe for Za’atar Chicken Souvlaki is the perfect illustration of those concepts.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that varies in its makeup, but often contains oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac and sesame seeds and salt. Mixed with olive oil, it is used for dipping breads such as pita; it is also a typical seasoning used for seasoning meats and vegetables. Commercial blends of Za’atar (often spelled Zatar) can be found in most large grocery store spice sections.
For this recipe, chicken is marinated is a combination of fresh lemon zest and juice, fresh oregano and garlic. After a few hours in this solution, the chicken is skewered, sprinkled with Za’atar seasoning and grilled.
I served ours with warmed pita bread and a simple Greek-style salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, fresh oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Do try this simple, healthy meal!
- 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 1 large lemon, zested (about 2 tablespoons zest) and juiced (about ⅓ cup of juice)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons Za'atar seasoning
- Skewers (if wooden, pre-soak in water)
- In a large ziplock bag, place the chicken pieces, lemon zest and juice, garlic and oregano sprigs.
- Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the bag (it doesn't matter if zest is still clinging to it) and place on pre-soaked skewers.
- Sprinkle with the Za'atar seasoning on both sides.
- Grill over medium flame for 4 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1½ cups diced cucumber
- 2 small sweet bell peppers (I used orange and yellow snack-sized peppers)
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives
- 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl, toss to combine.
- Serve at room temperature.