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grilled chicken pieces on cutting board
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4.81 from 31 votes

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken

Grilled Mediterranean chicken - infused with olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, Dijon and herbs - is a go-to chicken dinner in our family. Delicious in a sandwich, salad, soup or over couscous.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Plus marinating time30 mins
Course: Main Course, make ahead
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Servings (change as needed): 5 (or 4 bigger portions)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts thighs are juicier/more flavorful; breast are lower fat and calories
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (personal preference)
  • garnish: lemon wedges

Chicken Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (vegetable oil or mayonnaise can be used instead - I use mayo all the time)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Place thighs flat on a cutting board. With the heel of your hand, pound chicken to and even thickness (for even cooking). Put all chicken marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag or other container. Mix well to combine. Add chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Shortcut: marinate it for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • GRILL CHICKEN: (Note 1 for other methods).: Sprinkle chicken with salt. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on grill. Grill 4-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness of the chicken. An instant thermometer should read 160F/71C. Cover loosely and let rest for 5-7 minutes before serving. Temperature will rise several degrees.
  • SERVE: Serve with lemon couscous or rice if desired. Note 2 for other serving options. I pour the juices, accumulated on the plate while chicken is resting, over the couscous (or rice) for added flavor. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the chicken if desired.

Notes

  1. Instead of grilling:
    • Broil: Place chicken on pan lined with foil. Broil 6 inches from the heat element at the top of the oven for about 4-6 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through. An instant thermometer should read 160F/71C. Temp will rise with resting for 5 minutes.
    • Bake: at 400F/204C for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F/71C with an instant read thermometer.
  2. Variations and Substitutions
    • Serving options:
      • Make Kabobs: cut the raw chicken into 2 inch pieces and thread onto metal skewers, then grill;
      • Fill a pita sandwich or have chicken salad: After cooking and resting the chicken (or even chilling), cut into smaller pieces.
      • Add to soup: grilled marinated chicken in soup like a Vietnamese Pho or a Vegetable Wonton Soup is fantastic.
    • Herb options: I use rosemary, thyme and oregano (fresh or dried). You can also try chives or green onion. Even herbes de provence of other Mediterranean spices. Check out our Herbs - The Bare Essentials for cooking with and storing herbs.
    • Toppings: Lemon wedges, tzatziki, garlic aioli, garlic hummus, fresh chopped tomato salad, red onions, dill Greek yogurt dip, fresh parsley or cilantro.
  3. Make Ahead: Make chicken up to 2 days ahead. Bring to room temperature, serve cold or warm for a minute or two in the microwave.  Alternatively, marinate the chicken a day ahead and grill just before serving.
Nutritional information is estimated based on chicken breasts. Thighs would have more fat and calories. Optional topping choices are not included in calculations.
Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 455mg | Potassium: 686mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg