Fully-loaded souvlaki bowls

An explosion of flavour, colour and texture!

I’m serving a lot of ‘meals in a bowl’ these days. I find they are great for small gatherings because everyone gets a perfectly-plated portion, and I also love how stunningly beautiful a carefully-arranged bowl can look. I mean, we eat first with our eyes, right? This is a super flexible recipe – if you’re pressed for time, just use prepared Greek salad dressing as the marinade for the chicken and feel free to use pork or lamb if you prefer. And if you want to make a stupendously delicious vegetarian version, replace the chicken with cooked chickpeas which you will marinate for extra flavour. For more great bowl meals, check out this recipe roundup.

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts OR 3 cups cooked, drained rinsed chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground black pepper

For the bowls:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (500 mL) sliced English cucumber
  • 1 cup (250 mL) each chopped red and green pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced red onion (plus 2 tablespoons / 30 mL cider or rice vinegar, for pickling)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tzatziki
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled feta


  • Marinade chicken breasts by placing them in a non-reactive dish (glass or ceramic) just large enough to hold them in a single layer. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and give it a gentle stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 – 4 hours, turning chicken pieces over every 30 minutes.
  • If using chickpeas, place them in a broad non-reactive dish. Mix together the marinade and drizzle Dr it over the chickpeas. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 1 – 4 hours then drain before adding to the bowls.
  • While chicken or chickpeas marinate, pickle the red onions if you don’t prefer to eat them raw by heating the cider or rice vinegar in the microwave or in a small pot. Pour over the sliced onion and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and refrigerate the pickled onion.
  • Up to 6 hours before serving, prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and olives; cover and refrigerate.
  • Rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice can also be cooked ahead and reheated just before serving.
  • When ready to cook the chicken, preheat grill to medium high heat. Remove the chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place chicken breasts on grill and grill about 5 minutes per side, until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165F with an instant-read thermometer.
  • NOTE: chicken can also be broiled or cooked on the stovetop in a heavy-duty, lightly oiled skillet.
  • Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes then slice it thinly crosswise.
  • To assemble the bowls, divide the brown rice, quinoa or riced cauliflower among 4 bowls. Top with sliced chicken or chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olives, red onion, tzatziki and feta. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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