Fresh is the move and the mood this time of year, and I have a recipe for you to match: Strawberry Chicken with Avocado Salsa. It’s a shining example of the simple, delicious pleasure that occurs when familiar, individual ingredients unite to create something new and more delightful than they could ever be apart.
The idea of experiencing something familiar in a new way has been on my mind often the past few days.
Over the weekend, Ben and I headed back to Notre Dame for our 10-year college reunion. This is going to sound so (there is no other way to put this) OLD for me to say, but the campus has changed so much since we were there, I didn’t recognize it at times. Was this the same school?
Then, a few minutes later, I’d spot one of my favorite reading benches, or walk a sidewalk I’d pounded a thousand times on my way to class, or best of all, hug an old friend who was as integral to my experience as the classes, late-night food runs, and football games, that I was back to feeling home again.
Much like the campus, in the last 10 years my friends and I have changed. We work new jobs, enter new life phases (so many babies!), and our lives have taken us places we never imagined.
We also haven’t changed. The values, good humor, and respect that made us so close in the first place are as present now as ever. It’s a joy, comfort, and blessing to spend time with someone you’ve haven’t spoken to in years and have it feel like hardly a minute has passed.
About this Strawberry Chicken Recipe
Today’s Strawberry Chicken with Avocado has the fresh-but-familiar feeling of an old friend who can still surprise you. It’s the summer berries and juicy grilled chicken you’ve long loved, presented in an unexpected way.
This strawberry chicken begins with a lively cilantro lime chicken marinade. You could grill the chicken and stop there. It’s tender and flavorful on its own and would be a quick, tasty way to top a salad or fill a tortilla.
What makes this recipe special, however, is the strawberry avocado salsa on top. I first discovered the beautiful pairing of strawberries and avocados when I made this easy grilled naan pizza, and I’ve been looking for a way to reunite them since.
This elegant strawberry chicken recipe turned out to be my answer.
The strawberry topping is a chunky mix of vibrant ingredients that enhance one another: sweet summer berries, creamy avocados, crunchy jalapeño, and edgy red onion. Cilantro and lime juice are on scene for freshness. A bit of honey keeps flavors in balance.
Spoon the strawberry salsa generously over the grilled chicken, and you have a marvel of a summer meal.
In addition to being a strawberry sauce for chicken, the topping is also yummy dipped with chips. You could toss it with greens, the grilled chicken, and a simple vinaigrette to make a strawberry chicken salad. For a dressing recipe, try replacing the balsamic vinegar with lime juice in the dressing used for this Balsamic Chicken Salad with Blackberry or this Peach Salad (omit the Dijon).
- To Make Paleo and Whole30. For those with dietary considerations, this is a Paleo and Whole30 chicken recipe (you can omit the honey).
- To Make Vegetarian. While it is not vegetarian, you could still make the strawberry salsa, then serve it over grilled tofu or grilled halloumi cheese.
- If you need a vegetarian and Whole30 recipe, try my Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls.
Recommended Tools to Make Strawberry Chicken
- Indoor Grill Pan. Ideal if you don’t have an outdoor grill, and you can make these Grilled Chicken Tenders too.
- Fish Spatula. My favorite for flipping chicken, burgers, pancakes, roasted veggies…you name it!)
- If you are looking for a sturdier grill spatula, this is a good one (the tongs work well too).
Strawberry Chicken with Avocado
For the Chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tablespoon lime zest from about 2 limes
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice from the same 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus additional for oiling the grill
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey omit to make the recipe Whole30 or Paleo
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
For the Strawberry Avocado Topping:
- 1/2 small red onion diced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup diced strawberries roughly 2/3 dry pint of whole strawberries
- 1 medium jalapeno cored seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice from about 1 small/medium lime
- 1/2 teaspoon honey omit to make the recipe Whole30 or Paleo
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium avocado diced
- Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board with some space between and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. With a mallet, lightly pound the meat to an even thickness so that each piece cooks evenly. Place in a large ziptop bag.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, honey, salt, pepper and cilantro. Pour over the chicken, seal the bag, then "squish" to coat the chicken evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day, rotating the bag once or twice if time (and memory) allow.
- When ready to grill, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high (about 425 to 450 degrees F).
- While the grill preheats, prepare the strawberry salsa: Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with very hot tap water (this takes off some of the red onion's bite while preserving its flavor. You can skip if you like raw red onion just as it is). Set aside. In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the strawberries, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in the avocado. Taste and add a bit more salt if you feel it tastes a little too flat or additional honey if it is too spicy. Drain the red onion and it to the salsa. The longer it sits, the more mild its taste, so you can wait to drain and add it just before serving if you like.
- Lightly oil the grill. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through and the temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 160 to 165 degrees, about 8 to 12 minutes total, flipping the chicken once or twice throughout. The amount of time you need will vary based on the size and thickness of each breast. Remove to a plate, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to serving plates and top each with a few generous spoonfuls of the strawberry salsa. Enjoy immediately.
- TO STORE: Store leftover salsa in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Leftover chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition information is meant to be an estimate and has been calculated with half the amount of marinade, as some is discarded. If you'd like to calculate it differently, you can do so for free at myfitnesspal.com.
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