A few weekends ago a couple girlfriends and I were sitting around the kitchen table chatting, as old friends do, while our husbands stood around the grill outdoors flipping burgers for dinner and, I don’t know, doing things that husbands of old friends do (read: staying out of our hair!) ; )
Not long after we sat down, one of my friends reached into a bag filled with munchies and goodies that she’d brought along to serve with the main meal. We’ll just have a little snack first… we all decided, and selected a bag of tortilla chips plus containers of fresh salsa, guacamole, and French Onion Dip to dunk ‘em in.
Wouldn’t you know, not more than 20 minutes later those tortilla chips and containers of salsa, guacamole, and French Onion Dip were nearly GONE. Finito. Cashed! By the three of us! Granted, there were a few toddlers helping out here and there but, by and large, our snacky, chatty faces had done the most damage.
What is it with us women and our chips and dip? We just go crazy for ‘em!
Anyway, while clearing away the salsa and guacamole graveyard, the girls and I started talking about other dips we’re obsessed with, and Tzatziki Sauce got brought into the conversation. According to one of my friends, thick and tangy plain yogurt mixed with shredded cucumber, a hint of garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice is just as good of a cracker dip as it is topping for a piping hot gyro. Who knew?
I haven’t been able to get that cool and creamy sauce off my mind since then, but thought I’d keep the crackers on the shelf, and instead dollop it on top of handheld Chicken Gyro Sliders.
Chicken Gyro Sliders have all the flavor of a hot gyro topped with signature tzatziki sauce, except they’re shrunk down to a fun, handheld slider-size and made with lean ground chicken breast. These babies are fast, fresh, and fun. Plus I could just spontaneously combust over the cuteness that is mini pitas. Thank you, Trader Joe’s!
Start the Chicken Gyro Sliders by making the Tzatziki Sauce. First peel and seed 1/2 cucumber, then shred it up and squeeze the shreds in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. You’d be shocked by how much liquid come outta there!
Next combine the cucumber shreds with 6oz plain Greek yogurt and 1 minced garlic clove.
Add in generous amounts of both salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Finally add 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (I used rice vinegar) and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil.
Mix everything up then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to give the flavors time to meld. You could do this up to a couple days ahead of time, too.
Next get those burgers ready. In a large bowl combine 1lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast with 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon lemon zest (be sure to zest the lemon before slicing and squeezing into the tzatziki sauce.)
Then add a bevy of spices including 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme, onion powder, and cumin.
Toss in a generous amount of salt and pepper then split the mixture into 8 patties and cook for 3-4 minutes a side on a grill or hot skillet sprayed with non-stick spray. Be sure to spray the uncooked side before flippin’!
Let the patties rest for about 5 minutes while you get the toppings ready. I just love this picture, btw. I mean, how can a meal be bad when it’s made with ingredients that look this good?!
Place the sliders on split mini pitas (again, found at Trader Joe’s) then top with a slice of tomato, cucumber, red onion, and a big ol’ scoop of that tzatzki sauce, natch!
Chicken Gyro Sliders
1lb lean ground chicken
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper (lots)
Toppings: sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions
8 mini pitas, sliced in half
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded
6oz plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
Salt and pepper
Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Shred cucumber then place into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze excess moisture out. Place into a large bowl then add remainingTzatziki Sauce ingredients (be sure to zest lemon for burgers before adding juice to sauce) and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine ground chicken, garlic, lemon zest, and spices in a large bowl then divide mixture into quarters, and then divide each quarter in half for 8 sections. Spray skillet with nonstick spray then form each section into a patty one at a time and add to hot skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked all the way through, spraying uncooked side with nonstick spray before flipping. Remove from skillet and let sit for 5 minutes then stack on sliced mini pitas and top with sliced tomato, cucumber, red onion, and prepared Tzatziki Sauce.
I kept the Greek theme running throughout this meal, and served a big cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad on the side, dressed with an olive oil-based Italian dressing. Fresh, easy, and fast.
If you can’t find mini pitas where you live, place these sliders onto small buns, or stuff 2 of ‘em into regular size pitas. Enjoy!