This Greek Chicken Pita with Whipped Feta is a quick, easy, and healthy Mediterranean inspired meal! Tender chicken meatballs are studded with onion, garlic, and plenty of spices and nestled on to warm pieces of pita smothered in a delicious whipped feta spread.
Greek Chicken Pita with Whipped Feta
I’ve come to a crossroads in my life. One where the decision to eat healthy versus unhealthy has become a necessity and I just have to accept it. Luckily, the diverging road to healthy eating is paved with Baked Cauliflower Gnocchi, Pad Thai Salmon, and Greek Chicken Pita with Whipped Feta.
If someone had told me healthy eating would be this easy, I would have made the change years ago.
That’s not to say that some of my weekend nights aren’t filled with greasy cheeseburgers, cheesy pastas, and creamy chicken dishes, because they are. I guess I’ve just learned what all those healthy people have been talking about all these years – balance.
Balance is exactly what we have here in this healthy chicken pita recipe. The whipped feta is admittedly, not the most low-fat spread on the planet, but it is used sparingly and that rich, tangy, salty feta cheese paired with creamy Greek yogurt, a touch of cream cheese, lemon, and dill is the perfect punch of flavor the tender chicken meatballs need.
And by the way, those greek chicken meatballs? I could eat them by themselves. They’re made with chicken breast, which can be innately dry, but we make sure they stay tender and moist with the addition of grated onion, egg, and a touch of panko breadcrumbs.
They’re also packed with plenty of herbs themselves – freshly chopped rosemary for a woodsy (evergreen, in my son’s words) flavor, dried oregano, plenty of garlic, and of course, a generous addition of kosher salt.
The Greek chicken is, as the name implies, nestled into whole-wheat pitas smothered with the homemade whipped feta, and served with paper-thin sliced cucumbers and red onion.
Ingredients in Greek Chicken Pita with Whipped Feta
Chicken. I prefer to use ground chicken breast here to keep calories and fat down. Pay attention to the label when buying ground chicken, it should explicitly say ‘Chicken breast,’ if it doesn’t, it may have skin or dark meat in it, making it a little bit more unhealthy.
Also, I really like to grind my own chicken. It’s an extra step, but I promise it’s super quick, easy, and totally worth it. Just buzz one pound of chicken breast in a food processor for about 30 seconds and boom – ground chicken.
Egg. An egg is not only used to bind everything together, but to keep the greek chicken meatballs moist as well.
Breadcrumbs. I like to use panko breadcrumbs, but any plain breadcrumb will work as well.
Onion. All of my chicken meatball recipes use onion in two ways. First, grated, and second, finely minced. I like to grate the onion to add a more evenly distributed onion flavor throughout the chicken meatball, and to add flavor. I don’t like huge chunks of onion in my chicken meatballs, but a little texture is kind of nice, so mince them up as finely as you can.
Garlic. Like the onion, I like to grate the garlic to evenly distribute it throughout the chicken meatball.
Herbs. You could go with a variety of herbs, but I like to use a little bit of fresh rosemary and dried oregano. If you don’t have access to fresh rosemary, dried is fine, just make reduce the quantity by half.
The whipped feta
The whipped feta in this Greek chicken pita is more of a spread, and actually would be lovely served as a dip with crudités. It’s light, perfectly salty, and pairs perfectly with our tender chicken meatballs.
Feta. Of course you can’t have a whipped feta spread without feta. I like to buy a block of feta because it has a little bit more moisture in it and tends to whip up a little bit smoother than crumbled feta.
Cream cheese. Light cream cheese is used to make this whipped feta super creamy. Feta can also be quite strong, so it takes the pungency down just a notch.
Greek yogurt. Same idea as the cream cheese, the Greek yogurt adds a nice smooth texture to the whipped feta and a little tang at the same time. Make sure to use low-fat, plain Greek yogurt.
Lemon juice. I find the feta needs just a touch of acid to balance the flavors out, plus lemon juice is the perfect compliment to the greek chicken pita meatballs.
Spices. A little bit of dried dill, garlic powder, and onion powder are the perfect spice blend to round out this whipped feta.
To finish off the Greek chicken pitas, I like to serve the meatballs and whipped feta of course on a warm piece of whole-wheat pita, all nestled amongst some thinly shaved cucumber and red onion. Simple but perfect.
How to make this Greek Chicken Pita with Whipped Feta
Make the chicken meatballs. To make the chicken meatballs, add all of the ingredients to a bowl. Use your hands to mix everything just until it’s combined. Be sure you don’t over mix! You want the meatballs to be tender and light, and over mixing them can cause them to be tough and dense.
Form the chicken meatballs. Line a large sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. Use a small cookie scoop to measure out even balls of the chicken meatball mixture.
Wet your hands with cold water and roll the chicken into perfect balls. If your hands start to stick to the meat, get them wet again. Repeat with all of the chicken meatballs.
Bake. Bake the meatballs on the top rack of the oven at 425 degree for about 10-12 minutes until they’re golden brown and cooked through.
Make the whipped feta. While the meatballs are cooking, make the whipped feta. Simply add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until everything is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Greek chicken pita. Spread the whipped feta on each piece of pita, top with several pieces of cucumber and red onion. Top with 4-5 meatballs. Drizzle with a little bit more of the feta. Serve.
Can I make this even healthier?
Yes! If you want to make this similar to a low carb gyro, you can leave out the pita all together and double or triple the amount of cucumber you use. You could even add in a little bit of tomatoes or serve everything on top of roasted or grilled veggies.
You can also leave out the cream cheese and double the amount of Greek yogurt you use.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Only mix the chicken meatballs until the ingredients are just combined, otherwise they will become tough.
- Again, if you want to lighten up the whipped feta even more, omit the cream cheese and increase the amount of Greek yogurt.
- You can also serve this Greek chicken pita with kalamata olives, tomatoes, pine nuts, roasted red peppers – anything you can think of!
- Greek chicken pita would also be delicious without the pita and served over a bed of romaine lettuce.
- If you don’t have fresh rosemary, use dried, but cut the quantity in half.
If you’re into fun spins on meatballs like we are, be sure to check out these other recipes.
- These Coconut Curry Meatballs are sweet, spicy, and completely addictive. Once of my favorite recipes on the planet.
- Italian Minestrone uses chicken meatballs instead of an all vegetarian soup for a more hearty take on a classic.
- Chinese spaghetti and meatballs combined sesame-infused pork meatballs with soy-laced whole-wheat noodles and plenty of veggies. Such a fun take on spaghetti and meatballs!
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 large garlic cloves, grated
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 small onion, divided
- 4 oz feta
- 1 oz light cream cheese
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1 large cucumber
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 whole-wheat pitas
- Food processor
- Mixing bowl
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchement paper.
- Add chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, rosemary and dried oregano to a medium bowl. Grate 3/4 of the onion into the bowl and then finely chop the remaining 1/4 of the onion and add it to the bowl as well. Use your hands to mix the ingredients just until they are combined.
- Use a small cookie spoon to form the chicken into meatballs. Wet hands with cold water and roll into a perfect ball. Place on the prepare baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- While the meatballs cook, make the whipped feta. Add the feta, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, onion powder, and dill to a food processor. Pulse until smooth and whipped. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse one more time.
- Use a vegetable peeler to shave the cucumber into thinly sliced pieces. To assemble, spread the whipped feta on the bottom of each pita. Top with shaved cucumber and red onion. Place chicken meatballs on top.