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Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

Cilantro Lime Chicken is a delightful dish that brings together the fresh, vibrant flavors of lime and cilantro with tender, juicy chicken. This recipe is perfect for those who love a zesty, flavorful meal that can be prepared with minimal effort. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing dish for a gathering, Cilantro Lime Chicken fits the bill.

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Origins and Popularity

The combination of cilantro and lime is a staple in many cuisines, particularly in Mexican and Southwestern dishes. The bright, citrusy lime pairs perfectly with the fresh, slightly peppery cilantro, creating a harmonious blend that enhances the natural flavors of the chicken. This dish has gained popularity for its simplicity, versatility, and delicious taste.

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Ingredients Needed

Before you start cooking, gather all the necessary ingredients to ensure a smooth cooking process.

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Main Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Garnish and Serving Suggestions

  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Extra chopped cilantro
  • Avocado slices
  • Rice or quinoa

Preparing the Ingredients

Selecting the Right Chicken

Choose high-quality, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe. Thighs tend to be juicier and more flavorful, but breasts are leaner and cook faster.

Prepping the Marinade

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, honey, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder. This marinade will infuse the chicken with a vibrant, tangy flavor.

Marinating the Chicken

Time and Techniques

Place the chicken breasts or thighs in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure each piece is well-coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. For the best flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.

Cooking Methods

Grilling

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let any excess drip off.
  3. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
  4. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.

Baking

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the marinated chicken in a baking dish, discarding any leftover marinade.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).

Stovetop

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook for 6-7 minutes per side, or until fully cooked.
  3. For extra flavor, add a few tablespoons of the marinade to the skillet during the last few minutes of cooking, allowing it to reduce and coat the chicken.

Serving Suggestions

Ideal Side Dishes

Cilantro Lime Chicken pairs beautifully with:

  • Steamed rice or quinoa
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Black beans and corn salad
  • Fresh garden salad

Presentation Tips

For an appealing presentation, slice the chicken breasts or thighs and arrange them on a platter. Garnish with fresh lime wedges, extra chopped cilantro, and avocado slices. Serve with a side of rice or quinoa to soak up the delicious juices.

Variations and Customizations

Using Different Proteins

This versatile marinade works well with other proteins, such as:

  • Shrimp
  • Pork chops
  • Firm tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian option

Adjusting Spice Levels

Adjust the spice level to your preference by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili powder and smoked paprika. For a milder version, omit the chili powder altogether.

Tips for Success

Ensuring Juicy Chicken

To ensure juicy chicken, avoid overcooking it. Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking to retain its juices.

Maximizing Flavor Penetration

Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but for the best flavor, marinate it overnight. This allows the lime and cilantro flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat.

Health Benefits of Ingredients

This dish offers several health benefits:

  • Chicken: A great source of lean protein, supporting muscle growth and repair.
  • Lime: High in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and promotes healthy skin.
  • Cilantro: Contains antioxidants and has been shown to aid in digestion and reduce inflammation.
  • Garlic: Known for its immune-boosting properties and cardiovascular benefits.

Conclusion

Cilantro Lime Chicken is a delicious, easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Its vibrant flavors and versatility make it a favorite among home cooks and food enthusiasts alike. Whether you grill, bake, or cook it on the stovetop, this recipe is sure to impress.

FAQs

1. Can I use dried cilantro instead of fresh?

While fresh cilantro provides the best flavor, you can use dried cilantro in a pinch. Use about one-third the amount of dried cilantro as you would fresh.

2. How long can I store leftovers?

Store any leftover Cilantro Lime Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

3. Can I freeze marinated chicken?

Yes, you can freeze the marinated chicken. Place the chicken and marinade in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

4. What other herbs can I use instead of cilantro?

If you’re not a fan of cilantro, try using fresh parsley or basil for a different but equally delicious flavor.

5. Can I make this dish in advance?

Yes, you can marinate the chicken in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This makes it a great option for meal prepping or busy weeknights.

Enjoy creating and savoring this vibrant Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe, and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

Source: diethood.com

Yield: 4

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

Cilantro Lime Chicken is a delightful dish that brings together the fresh, vibrant flavors of lime and cilantro with tender, juicy chicken. This recipe is perfect for those who love a zesty, flavorful meal that can be prepared with minimal effort. Whether you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing dish for a gathering, Cilantro Lime Chicken fits the bill.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 limes,, juice and zest
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro,, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes,, omit if you don’t want a spicy dish
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,, or to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • lime wedges,, for serving

Instructions

  • Make the Marinade. In a mixing bowl (or a zip-top bag), combine the olive oil, juice, and zest of 2 limes, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, honey, chili powder, pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper; stir or mix until well combined.

  • Marinate. Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and toss around to coat well; cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 2 hours.

  • Cook. Set a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and heat it until hot. Add the chicken thighs to the hot skillet—be careful, they will sizzle—and cook them for 5 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom; flip and continue to cook for 6 to 8 more minutes, or until cooked through. The chicken is done when its internal temperature registers at 165˚F.

  • Finish. Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest for a few minutes. Brush the chicken thighs with the reserved marinade, garnish it with chopped cilantro, and serve it with lime wedges.

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