Greek Style Chicken and Salsa is the perfect dish for those moments you just want (or need) a quick meal. This is the ultimate easy chicken meal; you can have it on the table in just 30 minutes.
Why we love this recipe:
Chicken tenderloins are my go-to for quick, nutritious weeknight meals. Being lean meat they are low in calories and an excellent source of protein.
There are numerous ways in which to prepare them; they can be grilled, baked, stir-fried or crumbed (breaded). You can add them to pasta, rice, soup or curry. Further, their mild taste will happily accept international flavours. They are a great, versatile ingredient.
For this recipe, I season the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano, cook it quickly in a grill pan or non-stick frying pan.
A simple salsa accompanies the Greek Style Chicken adding a boost of flavour, colour and health benefitting nutrients. Tailor the salsa to suit your family’s taste. If olives are not popular you could add cucumber, celery or avocado.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Cherry tomatoes – are juicy with a bright, fresh flavour. They are naturally sweet, containing a higher amount of naturally occurring sugar than their larger relatives.
Kalamata olives – a large, meaty, dark purple/black olive named after a city in Greece. I prefer to buy those with a stone in as I feel they have better flavour. However, to save time, you may prefer a pitted olive.
Red onion – sometimes called Spanish onions or Purple onions, they have a mild, sweet flavour making them ideal to use in salads.
Feta cheese – traditionally a Greek, sheep milk feta would be used. Use the feta of your choice – my choice is Danish feta which is creamy.
Fresh mint – adds vibrant, fresh flavour and aroma.
Dried oregano – Whilst in most instances, cooks prefer to use fresh herbs, oregano is one time when many cooks prefer the dried herb. The flavour of dried oregano is more subtle than the fresh and better complements the other ingredients without dominating them.
Extra virgin olive oil – my preference is to use extra virgin olive oil for the extra flavour it provides. In addition, it is at the heart of the much-praised Mediterranean Diet being an excellent source of healthy fat and health-benefiting antioxidants. Use the best olive oil that you have.
Lemon juice – use freshly squeezed, the flavour is superior to the bottled variety.
Chicken tenderloins – I find the tenderloins, not surprisingly, to be more tender; you can use the breast but it is inclined to become dry if even a little overcooked.
Step by Step Instructions:
- Begin by making the salsa. Add tomatoes, olives, onion, feta, mint and oregano to a small bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss gently and set aside.
- Next, I remove the white tendon at one end of the tenderloin. Place the chicken between two sheets of cling film and gently pound the tenderloins to an even thickness until they are almost double in size.
- and 4. Heat a grill pan or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush or spray the chicken on both sides with olive oil and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. When the pan is ready, working in batches, cook the chicken 1-2 minutes per side.
Tips for Success and FAQs:
As the chicken cooks very quickly you will need to prepare the salsa before you begin to cook.
The secret to cooking these tenderloins is to add them to a hot pan over medium-high heat. The exact time depends on the thickness of the chicken. If it sticks when you go to turn it, it is not quite ready.
The key is to avoid overcooking them. They are so thin they will cook in just a few minutes. After cooking, set them aside to rest for a short time.
Don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken or it will release juices and “stew” rather than char a little.
Also known as chicken tenders, chicken fingers or chicken fillets, they are the long strips of meat, loosely attached to the underside of the breast. They are often sold separately.
There is a small, tough piece of tendon at the end of the tenderloin. I recommend that you remove it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.
There’s no need to remove it all; the tendon inside the meat is very thin and you won’t notice it after cooking. Don’t try to pull it out; the meat may fall apart.
You certainly can. You could add some finely grated lemon zest, rosemary, sage or thyme. Or spice it up a bit; try a dash of cayenne pepper, paprika or even a coating of za’atar.
Yes, you can. If using chicken breasts, lay the breast flat on a cutting board. Place the palm of your hand on the chicken and carefully cut horizontally through the breast, giving you two pieces. Place between two pieces of cling film. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to lightly pound each piece to a more even thickness.
However, I prefer to use tenderloins as they are more reliable. Chicken breast tends to become tough and dry if it becomes even a little overcooked.
That’s okay, you can use a skillet or a non-stick frying-pan. Alternatively, if the weather is suitable, I cook these on an outdoor grill which adds terrific flavour.
When it comes to serving:
In this simple form, the Greek Style Chicken and Salsa is low-carbohydrate and low-calorie but it also works well with a few optional extras. I like to serve this meal with fresh lemon, a dollop of tzatziki or plain Greek yogurt.
Warmed pita bread is also great as a side and offers the opportunity of using tzatziki, salsa and chicken in a more casual rolled wrap.
If time permits, Greek-style roast potatoes are also a good accompaniment. Use this recipe as a base and make it your own with your choice of accompaniments.
Once you realise how quickly and easily you can cook the tenderloins you may want to vary the accompaniments. You could consider:
- Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, served on the side or with Pasta;
- Potato Salad with Peas and Mint;
- Broccoli Bacon and Cashew Salad;
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Tabouli;
- Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad;
- Chargrilled Asparagus with Feta and Mint.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
Here are some more easy dinner ideas:
- Easy Roast Chicken
- Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Shells
- Mediterranean Beef Stew
- Pumpkin and Ricotta Pasta Shells
- Mushroom San Choy Bow
- Creamy Tuna Pasta
- Sous Vide Salmon
- Tuna and Potato Patties
- Eggplant Involtini
This Greek Style Chicken and Salsa is a recipe that you will make over and over again. It is perfect for those times when you want a quickly prepared, nutritious meal that is full of flavour.
I would love to know when you have given it a try!
This post was originally published in September 2018. It has been updated with new photos and more information. The recipe remains the same.
Greek Style Chicken and Salsa
For the Salsa:
- 200 gm (7 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives – pitted and halved See Note 1
- 1/2 small red onion – finely sliced into half-moon shapes
- 90 gm (3 ounces) feta cheese – coarsely crumbled or diced
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves – finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil See Note 2
- 1 tbsp lemon juice – freshly squeezed See Note 2 and 3
For the Chicken:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil See Note 2
- 8 chicken tenderloins – (500 g/ 17 ounces approximately) See Note 4
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
Serving Suggestions (Optional):
- roasted potatoes, tzatziki, warmed pita bread, lemon wedges
For the Salsa:
- In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, onion, feta, mint and dried oregano.
- Dress the salsa with olive oil and the lemon juice and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently to combine, and set aside.
For the Chicken:
- To prepare the tenderloins, use a sharp knife or scissors to remove the white tendon at one end of the tenderloin. Place them between two sheets of cling film. With the flat side of a mallet or the heel of your hand, gently pound the tenderloin to an even thickness until they are almost double in size – see Note 5
- Heat a grill pan or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat – see Note 6
- Brush the chicken on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. When the pan is ready, working in batches, cook the chicken 1-2 minutes per side – see Note 7
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and cover with aluminium foil to keep warm.When all the chicken is cooked, top it with the salsa and serve with accompaniments of choice.
- Traditionally, olives would be used, but if you don’t like them, leave them out. You could add some cucumber, celery or avocado, use whatever you prefer.
- The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may need to adjust your measurements accordingly.
- If you don’t have fresh lemon you could substitute with vinegar of your choice.
- You could also use 4 chicken breasts. If using chicken breasts, lay the breast flat on a cutting board. Place the palm of your hand on the chicken and carefully cut horizontally through the breast, giving you two pieces. Place between two pieces of cling film. Using the flat side of a meat mallet lightly pound each piece to a more even thickness.
- To make this meal even quicker, you could skip the step of flattening the tenderloin and cook it for a few minutes longer.
- If you are not using a non-stick frying pan, you should add some olive oil to the pan, bring to the required heat and add the seasoned chicken.
- The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken. It is important to not overcook the chicken or it will be tough and dry. Resting the chicken on a warm plate, covered loosely with foil, will help keep the chicken tender.
- Please note, the nutritional information is an estimate only.