This is the best meal I have eaten in weeks. Months? Years? It’s hard to know for sure, but I do know that this recipe is absolutely delicious. I was craving Greek food intensely, but being halfway through whole 30, hummus and feta cheese and creamy sauces are still totally off limits, making me believe this craving would have to wait. But I conspired a bit with the ingredients in my fridge and decided this could be done. And I didn’t miss the hummus, or the feta, or the creamy sauces at all! Well, perhaps because I made a pseudo-tzatziki with coconut milk, and mimicked the grains with cauliflower rice, but seriously, it all works as well as any Greek restaurant meal.
I also, after eating this dinner, went out to run a few hours later, in the 80 degree evening after sunset, and ran faster and stronger than I have in weeks, months? I’m not sure if it’s the three months of training finally catching up and working, or the past two weeks of really prioritizing nutrition and sleep, or maybe… the chicken!? Ha, probably not the chicken. But just maybe it is, indeed, magic.
This recipe seems elaborate, with multiple components and ingredients; however, it truly is a 30-minute meal (not a-la-Rachel Ray) and comes together easily. I’ll emphasize that I do multi-task like a pro in the kitchen, but I’d wager that anyone can whip this up easily on a weeknight. There’s a few hours of hands-off time to marinate the chicken, but that’s as labor unintensive as can be.
If you’re following whole 30, or just really into Greek food, please make this. And, if you’d rather, you could always replace the cauliflower with rice or cous cous, but you definitely don’t need to and should give this version a try.
Greek Chicken Plate with Garlic Cauliflower Rice and Coconut Tzatziki
1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 1 1/2 small lemons (or 1 large), juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
1 large head of cauliflower, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, sliced finely into half-moons
2-4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup coconut cream, cooled (cooling after whisked and stored in a small container allows the cream to thicken to a consistency nearer a thin yogurt)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 large cucumber, diced
- 2 green onion sprigs, diced
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Start by mixing together all marinade ingredients in a large dish. Add the chicken, turning a few times to coat. Refrigerate the chicken in the marinade for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown for 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip. Cook on the reverse side for 1 minute, then move the pan to the oven and bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes (it will depend on the size of the breasts; I find 0.5 lb breasts to take 12 minutes, but you can check with a meat thermometer or cut into the chicken to verify its cooked through).
While cooking the chicken, split the head of cauliflower into quarters, then cut the leaves and stems from the head, cutting at an angle underside the cauliflower head. Break the quarters into florets then pulse in a food processor until the cauliflower is the consistency of small grains (I had to do this in 4 smaller batches). Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower mixture. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic-cauliflower mixture as well as oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened somewhat.
While the cauliflower is cooking, mix together the coconut cream, lemon juice, cucumber, green onion, and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower rice from the pan and plate. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to that pan and add the diced onion with a bit of salt and pepper. Sauté briefly, about 2-3 minutes, over medium-high heat, just until the onion is translucent.
Add the onion next to the plated cauliflower rice. Slice the tomatoes and align beside the onions. Slice the rested chicken and plate atop the rice and veggies. Spoon the coconut tzatziki over the chicken. Serve!
Take big bites with all ingredients on one forkful. Then slow down and savor each flavor. Enjoy!