Chopped Greek Chicken Salad with Pita Croutons and Tzatziki Dressing


Fresh and flavorful, this chopped Greek chicken salad is packed with so many delicious ingredients – toasted pita croutons + amazing tzatziki dressing + marinated chicken. Plus, most of it can be prepped ahead of time! Yes!

Top down view of chopped Greek salad in white bowl with tzatziki dressing.

Oh man, I love a good dinner salad. And I especially love a good dinner salad that can be prepped almost 100% ahead of time so when dinner time rolls around my family thinks I’m a rock star for giving them a plate piled high with tender, juicy chicken, chopped vegetables and slathered with creamy dressing. 

Ok, actually in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think any child of mine except for the two that eat like little goats have ever declared “mom of the year” status for salad (crazy kids), but all of them agree that the simple pita croutons in this recipe are the stuff dreams are made of, so that’s a win. Meanwhile, Brian and I heartily declare this chopped Greek chicken salad one of the best salads ever. 

Drizzling tzatziki dressing over chopped Greek chicken salad.


If you also have kids that might turn up their noses at salad for dinner, one way we’ve gotten around this (because we eat a lot of main dish salads) is to serve everything separately instead of tossing the salad together in one big bowl before serving. That way those of us who don’t mind building our own salad on our plate can do so, and the rest can keep everything well ordered and happily separated into little piles. With ample amounts of dressing on the side for dipping. 

You guys, this salad is so good. It may look like there’s a ton of prep. And let’s be real, there is. But that’s not bad news, because all of it (yes, all of it!) can be prepped ahead of time. Like, days ahead of time. 

As long as you store everything in separate containers and wait to toss it together until right before serving, you’ll be golden in the not-soggy-salad department. This also ensures dinner will come together snappy fast OR it can be a great make-ahead lunch option. Just grab the prepped ingredients from the fridge and put together individual servings when you want it!

Wood cutting board with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and olives.Top down view of chopped Greek salad in white bowl without dressing. 

If you still just can’t get behind eating salad for dinner, don’t worry, we can still be friends. Just promise me that you’ll still make the right choice and one day, throw some chicken into that flavorful marinade listed below in the recipe. It is incredible. So, so flavorful – and the grilled chicken is more tender and juicy than ever before. 

Don’t waste time giving the side eye or panicking at bathing chicken in buttermilk/lemon. I promise it works. Not only does it amp up the flavor profile, but buttermilk is one of the key ingredients that contributes to super juicy, perfect chicken. 

I don’t want to waste any more of your time that could be spent getting to work on this amazing salad, but let’s just have a quick moment of silence for that creamy tzatziki dressing. Light and fresh thanks to the cucumbers, it is tangy, creamy, and you’re going to want to spoon it on everything

Seriously, Do I Have to use Mayo??

If you are a mayo hater (you’ll remember, I swore it off after this traumatizing experience), you can try subbing in extra yogurt. But even I was able to dig deep and use it, and I’m a stronger woman for doing so. The mayo definitely helps bind the dressing together and adds a silkiness that you probably won’t get if using all Greek yogurt (bonus: you can hardly taste the mayo anyway). 

Fork on the side of a white bowl filled with greek Chicken salad with tzatziki dressing. 

I hope you love this super tasty chopped Greek chicken salad! It’s on my short (ok, long) list of things I could eat every day and never get sick of. It’s that good. 

Read through the recipe to get a glimpse at all the make-ahead options for everything! 


Fresh pineapple or fruit salad

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Yield:
6 servings

Prep Time:
1 hour

Cook Time:
15 minutes

Additional Time:
12 hours

Total Time:
13 hours 15 minutes

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad with Pita Croutons and Tzatziki Dressing

Ingredients

Tzatziki Dressing:

  • 1/2 seedless/English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Pinch of black pepper

Greek Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I like to use thin cut chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground; use less if finely ground)

Pita Croutons:

Salad:

  • 3 small to medium heads romaine, chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 to 1 seedless/English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup chopped or sliced kalamata or black olives
  • 1/4 to 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin slivers
  • 1/2 cup (or more, to taste) crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. For the dressing: place the cucumbers in a colander or fine mesh strainer and sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss. Let the cucumbers sit and drain for 15-20 minutes (this helps the dressing not turn watery). Place the drained cucumbers and remaining dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance.
  2. For the chicken: place the chicken in a shallow dish or gallon-size ziploc bag. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, buttermilk, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken, cover (or seal the bag) and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Grill the chicken on medium-high, discarding excess marinade, until cooked through or an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F at the thickest part. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The chicken can be marinaded, grilled and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before assembling the salad.
  3. For the pita croutons: cut the pita breads into small squares, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch in size. Place them in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 375 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn) until they are golden and crunchy on the outside. The pita croutons can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in a sealed bag at cool, room temperature (they’ll probably keep ahead best in a dry climate vs a humid climate).
  4. For the salad: in a large serving bowl, add the chopped romaine, cucumber, bell peppers, olives, and onion. You can toss all the ingredients together (salad + chicken + dressing + croutons + feta), but if you plan on having leftovers, I suggest tossing only the chopped veggies together and adding chicken, dressing, croutons and feta to each serving (so the leftovers don’t get soggy).

Notes

There is a lot going on in this recipe, but I promise it comes together fast, especially since almost all of the components can be made ahead of time!

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Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe from Jen at Carlsbad Cravings (used my own chicken marinade, changed up quantities and ingredients in dressing a bit, simplified pita croutons, etc)

Posted on March 25, 2019 by Mel



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