This Greek souvlaki pita features marinated and grilled boneless chicken breast and vegetables wrapped in warm flatbread. Make this Greek street food recipe on your grill for a healthy summer meal! Be sure to watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
One of the best parts of traveling along the ancient silk road (or anywhere else in the world) is experiencing the regional popular street foods.
What’s in a Greek souvlaki pita?
Souvlaki is a popular Greek street food with small pieces of marinated meat that’s been grilled on skewers. Sometimes, vegetables are added as well. Authentic Greek souvlaki is made with pork, but beef, lamb and chicken are common too.
For this pita wrap recipe, we’re making chicken souvlaki.
In addition to pieces of grilled boneless chicken breast, I like to add raw tomato and red onion slices to my souvlaki pita.
If you prefer, feel free to grill the tomato and onion, and/or any other vegetables. Any of these veggies would be fantastic on the sandwich:
- Red bell peppers
- Portobello mushroom caps- cut them into wide strips so they stay on the skewers, or grill the caps whole and then slice.
For the souvlaki marinade, I recommend using my recipe for Mediterranean chicken marinade. It uses fresh herbs, which I think adds a lot more flavor than using dried seasonings.
Of course, if you prefer to use dry spices, that will work as well. I have my go-to version below in the recipe card. There are some pre-made Mediterranean spice blends available, or you could even use a dressing like lemon vinaigrette.
Keep in mind that the purpose of marinating chicken really to provide flavor more so than it is for tenderizing the meat. Poultry doesn't have tough connective tissue like red meat does, so it isn't necessary to marinate the chicken for longer than a hour.
In fact, if you marinate for longer than that, the protein will begin to break down, causing your chicken souvlaki to become mushy. This is not the way to make an enjoyable meal!
Before you add the chicken pieces to the marinade, reserve a little bit for basting the meat while it's on the grill.
Do not EVER use a marinade after raw meat has been in it without first boiling for at least 2 minutes to remove the bacteria.
How to grill chicken souvlaki skewers safely
- Use metal skewers if possible.
While bamboo and other wooden kabob skewers are fine to use, you'll need to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding food for grilling. Otherwise, there's a risk of them catching fire.
- Food safety is important!
When precautions aren’t taken, grilling raw meat and poultry presents a risk of food poisoning and/or illness from bacteria that's present in the raw meat.
Because your health is important, I recommend following the grilling guidelines outlined by the FDA and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Also, because of the bacteria in raw meat, do not ever reuse marinades that have had raw meat or poultry in them. If you'd like to use a marinade as a dressing or dipping sauce, just make extra and reserve it for using with the meal.
While both dishes are served in pita bread, each has a different cooking process. Gyro meat is cooked on a rotisserie spit while Greek souvlaki meat is grilled on skewers.
After the grilled meat cools to room temperature, it can be frozen for up to three months. Just be sure to freeze it in an airtight container or freezer safe storage bag.
Greek Souvlaki Pita
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts boneless skinless, cubed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon (juiced, 3 tbsp)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces and transfer to gallon size zip top food storage bag.
- Mix together the above Marinade ingredients or try my Mediterranean chicken marinade and pour over chicken. Squeeze air out of bag and seal. Toss chicken to coat and transfer to refrigerator to marinate for 45 minutes to an hour (See Note 1).
- Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto metal skewers. Leave some space between the pieces, don't pack too closely together (See Note 2).
- Preheat grill to medium-high. Clean and oil your grill to prevent food from sticking.
- Cook the skewers of chicken souvlaki for 8-10 minutes, turning until golden brown on all sides. Baste at least once with reserved marinade, being sure to discard any leftover marinade. Chicken is done cooking when food thermometer reads 163°F (chicken will continue to cook as it rests). Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before serving.
- Heat pita on grill to warm up and soften, if desired.
- Serve souvlaki pita with grilled chicken, tomatoes, onion slices, authentic tzatziki, then squeeze lemon on top.
- Chicken should not marinate for longer than an hour. Otherwise, the proteins will start to break down resulting in a mushy texture.
- I use metal skewers, but if using wooden ones, cut long wooden skewers to fit your grill or grill pan. Soak them soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent the wood from burning.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.