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We’re obsessed with this tasty salad! This healthy gyro salad with spiced chicken meatballs, chopped fresh vegetables and lemony tahini dressing makes a perfect low-carb, gluten-free or ketogenic main dish.
This chicken gyro salad celebrates the fantastic flavors of a Greek gyro sandwich, only lightened-up and made into a salad, one of our favorite meatball dinner ideas!
It’s a super-tasty meal-in-one salad I’ve been happily enjoying as a complete meal these days. And the bonus is that it’s so easy to put together, especially if you make a batch of the meatballs ahead of time.
You might be happy to know this creation is also low carb, keto-friendly and gluten-free (just skip the pita on the side) — basically an all-around healthy plate.
Plus the variety of colors and fresh textures make this a beautiful dish to put on the table. Can’t beat that!
Meat for gyros
Gyros are one of the tastiest sandwiches in the world, hands down.
The classic gyro features pita stuffed with spiced rotisserie-roasted meat, tomato, onions and tangy yogurt tzatziki sauce. Yum!
But instead of the meat you’d find on a gyro platter (usually beef or lamb, in loaf form), this salad has bite-size meatballs made with ground chicken and seasonings.
The combination of crunchy vegetables, grilled meat and spices make me think of Chicken Shawarma Salad, another dish that pretty much exists to make your mouth water.
Seasoning for chicken gyros
All you need are a few basic pantry herbs and spices to add a Greek flair to the chicken meat:
- Dried oregano – This woody, aromatic herb is an essential seasoning in Greek and Mediterranean cooking. Crumble it between your fingers to release its essential oils before sprinkling.
- Paprika – Ground from sweet, mild dried red chilis, this spice adds a savory fruity flavor to food, along with a gorgeous russet color.
- Cumin – The pungent, earthy aroma of cumin is hard to mistake for any other spice. It’s a classic seasoning for grilled meats in Greece and Middle Eastern cooking
- Garlic – Use fresh cloves, either grated on a Microplane or finely chopped
- Onion – Grated onion is the “secret” ingredient to many a tasty meatball or burger. I use white or yellow onion, shredded on the medium-side of a box grater or handheld grater.
Gyro salad dressing
Instead of the traditional Tzatziki sauce for gyros, I drizzled this salad with a variation of my all-time favorite lemon tahini sauce simply because I always have some in the refrigerator.
Of course, if you’d prefer to skip the dressing and use your own cucumber-yogurt tzatziki or other tangy sauce (even hummus) go for it!
Easy tzatziki sauce recipe:
Tzatziki is easily made by mixing 1 1/4 cups plain thick yogurt (Greek-style is perfect) with 1 cup chopped seedless cucumber and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.
Chicken Gyro Meatball Salad
- 1 pound (450 g) ground chicken thigh meat
- 1/4 cup (40 g) grated onion
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped or grated fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) ground paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tahini paste
- ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces (140 g) baby salad greens or torn butter lettuce
- 3 baby Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 pint (310 g) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
- ½ red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- ¾ cup (115 g) crumbled feta cheese
- Pita bread or flatbread, for serving
- Green sauce, optional
Make the meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the chicken, onion, garlic and spices in a large bowl. Use damp hands to form approximately 36 1-inch meatballs. Arrange them on an oiled baking sheet.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once or twice, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through (they will be firm to the touch).
Make the Tahini Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a mini food processor, or whisk in a medium bowl until smooth.
Assemble the salad
- Toss the greens, cucumbers, red pepper, onion and feta cheese in a serving bowl with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- Serve with the meatballs on top of the salad and drizzle with additional dressing and green sauce. Serve with warm pita or flatbread if you like.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Refrigerate leftover tahini dressing for up to a week. Stir in a tablespoon or so of cold water to loosen if necessary.
- Meatballs may be made 3-5 days ahead of serving. Warm them slightly in a microwave (30-60 seconds) or in a heated pan on the stovetop before serving.