The juiciest and ultra-tender marinated chicken grilled and placed on a bed of cilantro-lime quinoa. Serve with fresh veggies and this delicious Greek yogurt avocado dressing.
It feels like I’ve been holding back on you guys – no grilled chicken recipes yet this summer and we are officially at the last day of July. The reason it’s taken me so long? I’ve been working really hard trying to perfect this recipe – I wanted it to be some of the juiciest and most delicious grilled chicken. And finally, this recipe is ready!
Not only do I have the marinade recipe for you, but also a great way to serve it — with some cilantro-lime quinoa, a side salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado), and a secretly healthy creamy avocado-cilantro dressing. But don’t worry – the chicken is good enough to stand alone (or even just with that dressing) so this meal can be done in a flash if that’s what you need! But if you do have the extra time, preparing the salad and quinoa as sides will be well worth the time spent!
The recipe I began with to develop this marinade is a family recipe. I made it quite a bit healthier and added a little bit of kick to it by adding some garlic, cumin, and a few other ingredients. It’s got some oil, citrus, soy sauce, spices, and of course some honey.
The key to having your chicken super tender is to marinade for at least 3 hours. I recommend 6-8 hours, but 3 hours is the absolute minimum for this recipe. If you marinate it for shorter than that, the flavors don’t have the chance to develop and you’ll definitely be missing out. Another key to having super flavorful chicken is to reserve a small amount of the marinade and brush the chicken with that marinade as it is grilling. Just take out a little bit of the marinade recipe and save it until you are ready to grill up the chicken. Use a pastry brush to apply it on each side of the chicken as you rotate the kabob sticks.
The cilantro-lime quinoa is super simple to make and can be ready by the time the chicken is done grilling. The lettuce, avocado, and tomato make a delicious complement to all the flavors. The past few nights we’ve just mixed everything together and eaten it like a big salad. Mash the avocado in a bit and it is pure perfection. 🙂
If you aren’t a quinoa fan, try rice in place of the quinoa. Or even couscous would be delicious! Add whatever veggies you like or have on hand. You could also separate the marinade recipe (or double it) and do veggies on the kabob sticks with the chicken. We’ve done that a few times with this marinade recipe and really enjoy it. Our favorites: bell peppers, onions (mine, not the husbands!), zucchini, and pineapple.
Oh, and a squeeze of lime is the perfect finishing touch!
- 3/4 cup orange juice I used Simply Orange
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoons and 1/2 low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pounds and 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 cup ⁄4 cilantro coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Romaine lettuce cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado or guacamole, fresh lime, extra chopped cilantro
- Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Remove about 1/3 cup (put in an airtight container in the fridge for later) and pour the rest into a large sealable bag.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put in the marinade.
- Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours making sure to flip the bag halfway through the time it is in the fridge. I recommend marinating for 6-8 hours.
- Once the chicken has been marinated, place the chicken pieces on a skewer.
- Lightly oil the grill grate and then place the skewers on the grill.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes turning as needed (depending on the size of your pieces) or until chicken juices run clear.
- As you turn the kabob sticks, make sure to brush the chicken with the reserved 1/3 cup marinade frequently.
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Add the chicken broth, quinoa, and minced garlic to a small pot over high heat.
- Bring to a boil and once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat but keep covered and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Lightly fluff with a fork.
- Stir in the lime juice, white sugar, cilantro, and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Coarsely chop the lettuce, halve the tomatoes, and chop the avocado (or mash it up). Place on a plate or in a bowl and add a large scoop of the cilantro-lime quinoa.
- Place the grilled chicken on top with the dressing (recipe below) if desired.
- Squeeze on some fresh lime and top with some chopped cilantro.
- Enjoy immediately.
- 1 ounce packet hidden valley ranch dressing mix 1
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons cilantro
- 1/4 cup green salsa verde
- 1 cup smallish avocado ~3/4 when chopped
- 3/4 cup milk I used 1% (or sub low-fat buttermilk)
- 1/2 small jalapeño seeded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Add more milk if needed and increase any of the flavors desired (more cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, jalapeño) to reach your personal preference for the dressing.
- Even if you don't like spicy, I wouldn't recommend omitting the jalapeño as it adds a ton of flavor. If you are worried about spice, add a very small amount to start with (make sure to remove all the seeds!)
Dressing recipe adapted (made healthier) from Our Best Bites.
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