Greece is known for its whole-food based Mediterranean diet that is impressively healthy and tastes amazing, too! When it comes to Greek food, souvlaki definitely tops the list of most popular dishes. To get the most out of this chicken souvlaki recipe, I recommend using organic, free-range chicken to really up the health factor of this mouth-watering recipe.
So what is chicken souvlaki exactly? I’m about to tell you, and then I’ll get to the important part — a healthy and delicious version of this classic Greek-food staple.
What Is Chicken Souvlaki?
Souvlaki is one of Greece’s most beloved “fast-food” items along with gyros and kebabs. Fast food in the United States is typically loaded with highly processed, health-hazardous ingredients, including meat that isn’t even 100 percent meat. Souvlaki, on the other hand, is fast to make and easy to eat on the go, but it still uses fresh, whole and healthy ingredients.
If you’ve been to a Greek restaurant before, then you probably already know to order “chicken souvlaki” not “souvlaki chicken”. The meat always goes in front to denote which protein is the star of the souvlaki. In addition to chicken souvlaki, there’s also pork, beef and lamb souvlaki.
What is souvlaki? It’s basically pieces of meat that have been grilled on a skewer. The freshly grilled protein is often put into a pita along with vegetables, sauce and garnish. Souvlaki can also be served on a plate with rice, grilled bread or potatoes. (1)
Souvlaki is also sometimes served with Greek side dishes like lemon rice. Another popular rice option is Greek rice also known as Spanakorizo, or spinach rice. Both Greek lemon rice and spinach rice are delicious, but I would recommend using a sprouted rice to increase the nutrition and digestibility of the rice.
If you like chicken souvlaki, then you’ll most likely enjoy chicken kabobs. There isn’t a huge difference between Greek kabobs and Greek souvlaki. Greek chicken kabobs and chicken souvlaki are both made of meat that has been grilled on skewers, which are a long pieces of wood or metal used to hold pieces of food together. In addition to meat, vegetables like peppers and onions are also commonly added to the skewers. Souvlaki is more commonly served as a pita sandwich, while kebabs are more likely to be plated. (2)
- 308 calories
- 38 grams protein
- 14.9 grams fat
- <1 gram carbs
- <1 gram fiber
- <1 gram sugars
- 165 milligrams sodium
- 206 milligrams cholesterol
- 9.6 milligrams niacin (48 percent DV)
- 359 milligrams phosphorus (36 percent DV)
- 0.7 milligrams vitamin B6 (35 percent DV)
- 3 milligrams zinc (20 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligrams riboflavin (18 percent DV)
- 12 micrograms vitamin K (15 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligrams thiamin (13 percent DV)
- 0.7 micrograms vitamin B12 (12 percent DV)
- 437 milligrams potassium (12 percent DV)
- 2.1 milligrams iron (12 percent DV)
- 41 milligrams magnesium (10 percent DV)
- 11 IUs vitamin D (2.8 percent DV)
- 1.6 milligrams vitamin C (2.7 percent DV)
- 25 milligrams calcium (2.5 percent DV)
- 10 micrograms folate (2.5 percent DV)
As you can see, this recipe is quite nutritious — mainly thanks to its key ingredient of chicken. To be more exact on just how nutritious one serving of this chicken souvlaki is, one serving contains at least 10 percent the daily recommended value or more of 11 different key nutrients!
For example, a serving of this recipe has just shy of half of most people’s daily niacin requirements. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is known for reducing inflammation, improving circulation and helping the body to produce key hormones. (12)
This chicken souvlaki recipe is rich in phosphorus, which along with calcium, is essential to bone and tooth health. The body also uses phosphorus for cellular repair, waste removal, energy storage, energy usage and the production of DNA. (13)
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’re getting the picture — this Greek delicacy may be fast and inexpensive to make, but it’s loaded with healthy nutrients.
How to Make Chicken Souvlaki
This take on chicken souvlaki skips the skewers and uses the oven, which means less work for the cook. Before you get started, make sure you have your oven preheating to 375 F. This recipe is really easy — you basically just need to mix your chicken souvlaki marinade, let the chicken marinate a while and then cook the chicken.
A Greek rice recipe (such as a lemon rice recipe) makes a great addition to chicken souvlaki, but I recommend choosing between putting the chicken into a pita or having the chicken with a side of rice so that you don’t overload on carbohydrates. And don’t forget my Tzatziki Sauce Recipe — it is the perfect topping for this chicken souvlaki.
Are you ready to make one of my favorite Greek chicken recipes?
Add all ingredients, minus the chicken, to a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the chicken to the mixture and use your hands to mix until evenly-coated. Allow the mixture to marinate for up to one hour.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the chicken pieces.
You can add some extra herbs on top of the chicken if you like and then bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
You can have a side of nutritious sprouted rice (feel free to add some spinach and/or lemon for a Greek twist) with your chicken.
I chose to put tzatziki sauce and lemon over mine!
You can also put the chicken inside of a gluten-free pita with veggies like tomato, onion and cucumber. Don’t forget to top it with some sauce and maybe some crumbled feta cheese.
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Mediterranean oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Add all the ingredients, except the chicken, to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Toss in the chicken and, using your hands, mix until evenly coated.
- Allow the mixture to marinate for up to 1 hour.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add the chicken and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F.
- Add to a side of sprouted rice or in a gluten-free pita with all your favorite veggies!