Mediterranean Chicken with a Greek Yogurt Marinade

Join me as I make a Mediterranean Chicken dish with a Greek yogurt chicken marinade for heart health month.

I love taking classic dishes and adding a nutritious twist. In this recipe we’ll be swapping mayo for Greek yogurt as the main ingredient of the marinade. Using Greek yogurt instead makes chicken breasts tender, adds additional quality nutrients, and adds a Mediterranean touch.

We’ll also discuss common myths about dairy and heart health, and how much dairy is recommended per day. To add to this, I’ll discuss how this recipe fits into the Mediterranean diet which was ranked #1 best diet for heart health for 2024.

I’ve partnered with National Dairy Council to share with you my latest recipe – my Mediterranean Chicken with a Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade.

Debunking Myths about Dairy and Heart Health

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s challenge a few common myths about dairy and heart health. Many people think high-fat dairy foods can’t fit into a heart healthy diet. But the emerging science shows that saturated fat from a range of dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese behaves differently and a body of evidence shows it is not associated with CVD risk.

In fact, in some instances they were associated with lower risk.  For example, researchers analyzed data of nearly 250,000 adults from 80 countries from the (PURE) study and concluded that eating higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, and dairy (including whole-fat dairy) is associated with lower CVD and mortality in all world regions.

Mediterranean Diet and Heart Health

The Mediterranean diet was ranked the #1 diet for heart health in 2024 and it is a diet that does include dairy foods as well as other foods we need to eat more of like fruits, veggies, legumes and more. One more reason I love this Greek yogurt chicken – it has dairy, lean protein and tons of veggies!

Now that I’ve busted a couple of myths, let’s get cooking!

How to Make a Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade

In a food processor, grind the large onion. In a large bowl, stir together the onion, yogurt, salt, and pepper until well blended.

Next, we’re going to add the chicken to the marinade, ensuring it’s completely coated in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate for 20 minutes or longer.

TIP: slice the chicken breast about the same thickness and length so they all cook evenly.

The calcium and lactic acid in the yogurt gently break down the protein in the chicken, creating a tender and juicy protein.

How to Make Mediterranean Chicken

Then air fry the chicken, at 400 for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, it’s time to cook the Mediterranean-inspired flavors. In a skillet, sauté half a tablespoon of olive oil, onion, and garlic for about 4 minutes until translucent.

Add artichokes and olives, and sauté. Toss in half of the spinach and cook for about 1 minute, then add the remaining spinach until wilted.

Finally, add basil and cook. Add the cooked chicken to the skillet, sprinkle in parmesan, mix well, and voilà – a Mediterranean masterpiece!

mediterranean chicken with greek yogurt marinade
CourseMain Course
DietGluten Free


  • food processor
  • Large bowl
  • Air Fryer
  • Skillet


Greek Yogurt Chicken

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 16-ounce container 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup olive oil mayonnaise dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast strips

Mediterranean Mixture

  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion cut into very thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • ¾ cups kalamata olives pitted
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves julienned
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  • In a food processor, grind the large onion.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the processed onion, yogurt, salt, and pepper until well blended.
  • Add the chicken to the bowl, stirring to make sure the poultry is completely coated in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Cut the chicken into strips, and add to the air fryer at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet, and sauté the onion and garlic for about 4 minutes on medium heat, or until translucent.
  • Add the artichokes and olives and sauté for 4 minutes. Add half of the spinach and cook for about 1 minute; add the remaining spinach and cook for 1 minute or until it wilts.
  • Add the basil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken back to the skillet, add the parmesan, mix well, and serve.
  • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Tried and enjoyed this recipe?Mention @manuel.villacorta in your post or story!

Stay Inspired with this Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

My heart is happy! This recipe took me right back to Mykonos. If there’s one takeaway, I want you to leave here with, it’s to prioritize dairy foods in your daily choices for your heart health this month and beyond.

Next, explore other recipes with Greek yogurt:

 For more dairy inspiration visit US Dairy.


  1. de Oliveira Otto MC, Mozaffarian D, Kromhout D, et al. Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(2):397-404. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.037770
  2. Eating Cheese Might Provide Heart Health Benefits. Accessed January 17, 2024.
  3. Mente A, Dehghan M, Rangarajan S, et al. Diet, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 80 countries. Eur Heart J. 2023;44(28):2560-2579. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehad269
  4. Dairy Foods Can Fit Into the Mediterranean Diet. Accessed January 17, 2024.

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