The marinade in this Cilantro Lime Chili Chicken Tenders recipe is what really makes it special — just an hour or two of soaking in citrus and spice really imparts a multi-faceted flavor that makes the taste buds tingle.
And don’t skip the lime zest! If you’ve never used zest in a recipe, it creates an entirely different experience than just using the juices of the fruit. Lime zest carries several different flavors with it, including something that is reminiscent of vanilla.
- Juice of 1 lime
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground chipotle chili pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders
- Combine first 9 ingredients through cumin in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Add chicken breast tenders to a gallon Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and massage to make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Place the bag into the refrigerator and rotate every half hour or so. Allow chicken to marinate for 1 ½ to 2 hours, but no longer — the citrus will start to break down the chicken flesh and create an undesirable texture after 2 hours.
- Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the bag and add to the grill pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until the flesh is nicely browned.
- Serve with extra chopped cilantro as a garnish and your favorite side. I served mine with asparagus prepared in my favorite way — steamed with salt and pepper and drizzled with fresh lime juice just before serving.
Looking for more yummy Paleo ways to each chicken? Check out our Ultimate Paleo Chicken Recipes Round-Up!