I absolutely love ordering sliced chicken gyro at Greek restaurants when it is available. It is the chicken-version of the delicious sliced gyro meat you traditionally find made of lamb and beef. To make this kind of delicacy from scratch is quite an undertaking; for my recipe, I use a method I adapted from Alton Brown, which creates a flavorful, moist loaf which is thinly sliced into strips, and then pan seared. This healthy sliced chicken gyro recipe works beautifully in a pita with some roasted veggies, lettuce and yogurt sauce.
The inspiration for this recipe
My inspiration for this recipe was recreating a favorite restaurant food of mine. Sliced chicken gyro is not really offered at every Greek restaurant; typically you’ll see shaved gyro meat (lamb and beef), or chicken souvlaki, which are the marinated chunks of chicken which are grilled. They’re all delicious, but my true love is sliced chicken gyro meat.
My mom and I both go crazy for it. You can’t really even describe the flavor and texture; it’s so beyond flavorful and enjoyable to eat. I love eating it on a pita with some fresh yogurt sauce, crisp lettuce and all the toppings. It’s one of my favorite things.
The only thing is, I never really knew what it was made of, and when I started on my wellness journey, I wasn’t sure how to track it. I had a feeling it was probably made with chicken thighs because it was so juicy and flavorful. I just wasn’t sure.
So one day, I decided to make my own. The only problem is, to do that, you need one of these:
I think it’s safe to say that wasn’t going to happen, especially not for some lunch meal prep.
So, I got to googling. It’s what I do best, anyway.
It was so hard to find an alternate method for making this delicacy. Then, I stumbled upon this recipe from Alton Brown. Bingo.
Alton Brown is the best when it comes to specific technique. He is so particular and scientific, that I knew his method would be spot-on. So, I read through Alton’s techniques for cooking the meat this way, and I created my own spice blend and took my own spin on it.
Thanks Alton for allowing me to enjoy one of my favorite things, and homemade.
How to prepare the meat mixture
So preparing the meat mixture is very simple. I use my food processor here, and throw everything in. First, I grind up some red onion and garlic, and then I throw in my ground chicken breast and the spices.
Once that’s done, you end up with kind of a paste-like texture. Don’t be scared, this all works out in the end. I promise. Trust me!
I usually do the mixing part overnight. It just eliminates an extra element of prep when I am in the meal prep zone, and it allows the flavors to sit a little bit in the fridge overnight; but you can do this all right before cooking.
You’ll see the spices used here are kind of varied; but I really feel they are all key in creating the flavor profile of this dish.
My kids like to help whenever I break out the food processor, so here they are posing with it (haha).
How to cook the meat
To cook the meat, preheat your oven to 325F. This is going to cook on a low temperature to remain as moist as possible.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, and then add the meat mixture in. Flatten in out with a spatula to create a smooth texture.
Place the loaf pan inside of a larger roasting pan, and then fill the roasting pan with hot water (to reach about halfway up the loaf pan). If you have never done this before, this is called a water bath. This is how many people cook cheesecakes to keep them from cracking, and to keep them moist. The same method applies here. Don’t be intimidated by this method; even though it’s probably different, it’s very easy and fool-proof. I promise.
Cook the meat for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Then, remove the loaf pan from the water bath, and remove the chicken loaf from the loaf pan. Wrap the loaf in foil, and top it with a heavy weight (like a cast iron skillet, or in my case, a brick wrapped in foil). Let it sit like this for 15 minutes. This allows the meat to really compress and hold it’s form. It’s a key step, so don’t skip it.
After that, you can get to slicing! A serving size is 1/6th of the loaf (then cut into slices). It is a generous portion. I weighed my entire batch before dividing it out into servings; one serving was about 4.5 ounces. Before serving, sear the sliced meat in a frying pan for a few minutes on each side to make the outside golden brown.
How to serve healthy sliced chicken gyro
My favorite way to serve this sliced chicken gyro is in a pita with some yogurt sauce shredded lettuce, and fat free feta. You can also incorporate this into a salad, or in a bowl with a grain and some vegetables. It’s really versatile in that way. For that reason, this makes a great meal prep because you can serve it a different style every day.
Healthy Sliced Chicken Gyro
- 2 lbs 99% fat free ground chicken breast
- ½ red onion, or one small red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add the garlic and onion to a food processor and pulse until they are minced.
- Add the ground chicken and the spices and pulse until a thick paste-like mixture is formed.
- Place into a bowl covered in the fridge until ready to cook. I did this the night before and let it sit for 12 hours, but this is optional. It cuts down on last-minute prep time.
- Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Add the meat mixture to the loaf pan, and smooth it out so it is even.
- Place the loaf pan into a larger roasting pan.
- Fill the roasting pan with hot water about halfway up the height of the loaf pan. This will form a water bath inside the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Once done, remove the loaf pan from the oven and take the chicken out of the pan.
- Wrap the chicken loaf in foil, and place a heavy pot or weight on top of the wrapped meat for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, unwrap and thinly slice.
- Before serving, sear the slices on both sides in a frying pan to brown.
- 2 WW points (green plan)
- 0 WW points (blue and purple plans)
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