cilantro-lemon chicken with avocado salsa and saffron rice.

After commuting for an hour on my way home from work, it takes me all my willpower not to smash my face into a bowl of cereal when I get home.

The last thing that I want to do is marinate chicken and dice tomatoes and set the table.

But I’m so glad I was patient this time.

Because this cilantro-lemon chicken is sooo worth a half hour of your starved 6:30pm post-work self.

As you know, I like to find many ways to dress up plain old chicken breasts.

This version is really fun and super colorful.

Even the saffron rice and the avocado salsa alone was enough to make our mouths water.

I’d recommend doubling the salsa recipe if you want extra for dipping with chips.

Cilantro-Lemon Chicken with Avocado Salsa and Saffron Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2009
Serves 4

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  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to even thickness
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Salsa (Double the salsa recipe if you want extra for dipping with chips):

  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeds and juice removed and diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (about ¼ of an onion)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced

For tips on how to seed and dice tomatoes, go here.

For serving:

  • 1 8-oz. bag pre-seasoned saffron rice (Vigo)
  • lemon wedges
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tortilla chips (optional)
  1. Prepare saffron rice according to package instructions.
  2. To prepare chicken: Pound chicken breasts to even thickness with a mallet. Combine cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, and chicken in a large bowl; toss and let stand at least 10 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly about ¼ teaspoon salt. Heat a grill or a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 6 minutes on each side (will vary depending on thickness) or until internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer registers 157-160˚F.
  3. To prepare salsa: Combine tomato, onion, lemon juice, garlic powder, cilantro, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add avocado; gently combine. Season to taste.
  4. Spoon salsa over chicken. Season dish with extra fresh ground pepper. Serve with a lemon wedge, saffron rice, and tortilla chips, if desired.

Now somebody get me a margarita.

5 responses to “cilantro-lemon chicken with avocado salsa and saffron rice.

  1. kat

    wow meg this looks amazing – i can’t wait to try it! oh and if you want an easy margarita, buy the premade mix from costco, so delicous & no effort required 🙂

  2. Cindy @ Once Upon a Loaf

    Oh wow…this dinner is SO me. I saw the avocados in the image and bam, you had me! Thanks for this recipe”


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