Peruvian Chicken

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Cumin and paprika-spiced chicken is served alongside a crisp arugula-corn salad and topped with an addictively tangy green sauce. This Peruvian Chicken is packed with flavor and sure to be a family favorite!

We’ve got texture, color, and flavor in this dish! And unlike roasting a full chicken (pollo a la brasa), we’re sticking to just boneless breasts (or thighs) to ensure you still have all the great flavors, without the 1+ hours of roasting time.

Plate of Peruvian Chicken with salad, avocado and green sauce.

I have a favorite place to get Peruvian chicken near me and I thought it was about time to recreate a simpler version. This Peruvian-inspired chicken, green sauce and salad is everything I could ever want in a meal — so much flavor, all the perfect textures and lots of color from the veggies! 

And if there’s one thing we can all probably agree on, it’s that dry, bland foods are forgettable and less appetizing. So today I’m using a deliciously creamy mayonnaise to create a sauce that is anything BUT forgettable. We’ll smear the deliciously spiced Peruvian Chicken with this sauce and then drizzle it over the simple arugula salad. I’m ready to make this dish again, just writing about it! 🙂

Process shot: making marinade and it adding to the chicken.How to make Peruvian Chicken

  • Marinade: Start by mixing together a quick marinade/rub for the chicken breasts. You’ll want smoked paprika (not sweet) for this recipe. 
  •  Salad: This salad is quick and uses a lot of the same ingredients that are in the marinade. Whisk the dressing ingredients together or shake it all up in a jar. Don’t toss with the salad until you’re ready to eat. 
  • Grill: Cook the chicken, red pepper, and corn on the cob on a gas or charcoal grill. You can also use a grill pan or skillet for this recipe. More tips on grilling below! 
  • Green sauce: While the chicken is cooking, prepare the green sauce (see below!). 

How to make the green sauce

The sauce is the crucial element that ties this Peruvian Chicken meal together. It’s essential to use a good, high-quality mayonnaise for flavor and creaminess.

To make the sauce: Give the jalapeños and garlic a quick coarse chop and then add to a high-powered blender. Pile all the other ingredients right on top and blend until smooth. It’s important to test your sauce for personal preference. Adjust seasonings and lime juice first and then adjust for spiciness. To increase spiciness, add more of the jalapeño’s seeds and ribs. I recommend starting without adding in seeds and ribs and slowly adding to personal heat preference. Keep in mind that not all jalapeños have the same amount of spiciness.

Process shot-- Image of all the ingredients that go into this green sauce for Peruvian Chicken.

Recipe tips

  • Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving to keep it from getting soggy. Leftover salad doesn’t sit well with the dressing. 
  • If you have time, make the green sauce in advance so it has time for the flavors to meld and intensify (note that the spiciness also increases).
  • Make sure to slice the chicken in half, and/or pound the breasts (this is best accomplished by a meat mallet) into an even thickness before marinating. This allows the chicken to soak up more flavor from the marinade (improving taste), and the even thickness will allow them to cook evenly.
  • Once it’s finished, let the cooked chicken rest, tented with foil, for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute.

QUICK TIP

when cutting corn kernels off the cob after grilling, an easy way to keep those kernels from flying all over the room is to use a Bundt pan. Stand the cob in the hole, and use a knife to scrape downward. The kernels will all land in the cake portion of the pan!

Image of the arugula salad that is served along side Peruvian Chicken.

 Peruvian Chicken side dishes

  • Instead of serving Peruvian Chicken with the salad, how about serving it over or with rice?
  • Add a hard-boiled egg (see my tutorial on this deviled egg recipe) to the dish.
  • Add a side of beans (Peruvian-style in the instant pot).
  • For a starchy side dish, try boiled fingerling potatoes tossed with butter and parsley (papitas al perejil).
  • Another starchy side option: fries!

Overhead shot of the arugula salad in a bowl and the grilled Peruvian Chicken on a plate, ready to eat.

More delicious (chicken) meals

Final shot of the Peruvian Chicken with the side salad, avocado, and the green sauce poured over it all.

 

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Peruvian Chicken

5 from 7 votes
Cumin and paprika-spiced chicken is served alongside a crisp arugula-corn salad and topped with an addictively tangy green sauce.
While Peruvian Chicken might look overwhelming at first glance, many ingredients are used multiple times, but written out twice (or three times) for easier reading.
Print Recipe

Peruvian Chicken

5 from 7 votes
Cumin and paprika-spiced chicken is served alongside a crisp arugula-corn salad and topped with an addictively tangy green sauce.
While Peruvian Chicken might look overwhelming at first glance, many ingredients are used multiple times, but written out twice (or three times) for easier reading.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Peruvian
Keyword peruvian chicken
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 417kcal
Cost $8.73

Ingredients

Chicken marinade

  • 2 large (~1.5 pounds) chicken breasts halved horizontally and pounded to even thickness
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika and ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Salad

  • 2 fresh ears corn
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 ounces arugula
  • Optional: cotija queso mix, 1 large avocado (thinly sliced or chopped)

Green Sauce

  • 2-3 large jalapenos coarsely chopped (Note 1)
  • 1 cup cilantro lightly packed and coarsely chopped; some stems are fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • CHICKEN MARINADE: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and dried oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper; I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Halve chicken breasts horizontally. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of your frying pan, pound breasts to even thickness (you don't want the meat super flat, just even in thickness). Place the prepared chicken in a large plastic bag and pour the marinade mix over. Seal the bag without air and knead to coat all the chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 6 hours. If possible, make the green sauce now too, so it has a chance to sit and flavors can intensify.
  • COOK CHICKEN:  Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don't skip this step.) (Grill pan: add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan) Place the marinated chicken on the grill. Discard any leftover marinade. Grill for 10-12 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until chicken juices run clear and internal temperature is at 165 degrees F.
  • SALAD: Grill the corn on the cob and red pepper (See Note 2). In a Mason jar, add the red wine vinegar, lime juice, honey, olive oil, and salt + pepper to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Shake to combine. In a bowl, toss the arugula, corn cut off the grilled cob (slightly cooled), and chopped bell pepper. Add dressing right before serving (you may not use all the dressing, but we like a generous amount). Toss to combine, taste for seasoning.
  • SAUCE: In a high-powered blender, add the following: jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper). Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust to personal preference. Note: the heat increases as the sauce sits.
  • ASSEMBLE: Serve grilled chicken alongside a generous helping of salad. Sprinkle cheese on top. Add sliced avocado if desired. Serve with a side of green sauce or drizzle it over everything.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This is about 1 cup chopped jalapenos, remove ribs and seeds before adding to the blender. Use more or less, depending on heat preference. The sauce's heat does intensify as it sits.
Note 2: How to grill corn: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat, around 400 degrees F. Once hot, clean the grill grates. Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Pour about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on each corn cob and rub that oil into all the sides. Very lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the corn. (Remember, the cotija cheese is quite salty, so you don't want to add too much salt here.) Place corn directly on grill grates and close the grill lid. Cook (temps remaining at 400 F) for about 3 minutes per side undisturbed. Using tongs, rotate and continue cooking for about 12 minutes total. When all sides are browned, remove from the grill onto a plate. To grill pepper: Rub vegetable or olive oil over the pepper and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, rotate every 3-4 minutes for a total of 10 minutes or until charred to preference. Remove all veggies and let cool before chopping.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2166IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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19 Comments

  1. The recipe looks delicious but i am one of those who hate cilantro, and sub suggestions for the green sauce?

    1. Thanks Jodi!! I haven’t personally tried it, but I bet flat leaf Italian parsley would work well in place of the cilantro. Hope you love this dish 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We have eaten this out at restaurants before but I never thought I would be able to replicate the flavor and boy was I wrong! This recipe knocks it out of the park. It’s so good, thank you!

  3. Do you think this would pair well with your Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad? I’m looking for a yummy dinner to impress my “foodie” friends. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe. Also really appreciate your website. The design is clean and the article has a good balance of photos to content. A lot of sites have terrible formatting and don’t explain the recipe well.

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