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Summer is in full swing; the best time of the year to fire up the grill! This is the first in a series of recipes that will help you navigate grill season in a healthy way. Too often grilling focuses on fatty cuts of meat, oily marinades, and sugary BBQ sauces. There is so much more to grilling! Follow along as we offer ideas for great tasting grilled dinners emphasizing seasonal ingredients you can find at your local farmer’s market, grocery store, or your very own garden.

Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small bites of meat on a skewer. A light and healthy marinade brings big flavor to lean chicken. Chicken can marinate overnight making this a great do-ahead option. Tzatziki sauce (the creamy condiment more commonly found in a gyro) is low fat and packed with protein, yet creamy enough to feel like a guilty pleasure. Serve with whole wheat pita bread and a fresh Greek salad of diced cucumbers, tomato, red onion, feta cheese, and kalamata olives for a well-balanced meal.

Creamy Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki Sauce)

Ingredients

1 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt
½ English (seedless) cucumber
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Optional: Place greek yogurt in a strainer over top a bowl and refrigerate. Allow to drain for one hour. Yogurt will become even thicker and creamier. Discard liquid and proceed with recipe.

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  1. Grate ½ cucumber and allow cucumber to drain thoroughly. Wring out excess liquid using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Not removing the liquid will result in a watery tzatziki sauce.

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Sauce may be prepared the day before serving.

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skewers-tzatziki

Greek Chicken Skewers (Souvlaki)

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 lemons
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano Metal or wooden skewers for grilling
Suggested Toppings: Sliced red onion, Diced tomato, Romaine lettuce

Directions

  1. Cut chicken breasts into 1 to 1½ inch cubes, keeping them as uniform as possible.
  2. In a large glass (or other nonreactive) bowl or ziploc bag, combine the juice of one lemon and all remaining ingredients. Add cubed chicken and stir to ensure all are coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. The longer the chicken marinates the more flavor it will have.

skewers-chicken-lemon

  1. Prepare charcoal grill for direct heat or preheat gas grill to medium. Skewer chicken cubes and if desired, season to taste with salt and pepper. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water first so they do not catch fire.

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  1. Grill skewers until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

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  1. If desired, squeeze the second lemon over the freshly grilled skewers. Serve hot with warm whole wheat pocket or pocketless pita, tzatziki sauce and toppings.

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Serves 4.

Nutrition

Creamy Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki Sauce)

Calories 40 Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg Sodium 27 mg
Potassium 16 mg Total Carbohydrate 4 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 2 g
Protein 6 g

Greek Chicken Skewers (Souvlaki)

Calories 147 Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 68 mg Sodium 78 mg
Potassium 26 mg Total Carbohydrate 2 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 0 g
Protein 23 g
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