Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders

September 26, 2009 | By andrea | Filed in: Appetizer, Chicken, Grilling/BBQ, Main Dish, Mexican, Recipes.


If you’re a cilantro fan (like me), you’re going to LOVE this chicken! It’s delicious, extremely easy, and can be served as either an appetizer or a main dish. And, you can use the leftovers (if there are any) to make a Mexi-inspired salad (greens, corn, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, etc) the next day…think jazzed up chicken taco salad.

If using bamboo skewers, remember to let them soak in water for 30 or so minutes to keep them from disintegrating on the grill. If you don’t have skewers (or don’t want to mess with them), just grill the chicken without them. I substituted pine nuts for the walnuts, and used 2 cups of cilantro instead of 1 1/2 cups of cilantro and 1/2 cup Italian parsley. Also, I grilled the chicken over direct medium heat so it wouldn’t get too charred. Chicken tenders cook quickly so don’t walk away and leave them on the grill…you definitely don’t want skewered charcoal! Once the chicken was finished cooking, I let the skewers rest on a plate for a few minutes then finished them with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The lime juice really brightens up the flavors. Yumm!

Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders
-recipe from Weber’s Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance

Makes 4-6 servings.

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
2 medium garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds chicken breast tenders
1 lime, cut into wedges

To make the marinade: In a food processor, finely chop the walnuts and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to create a smooth puree.

Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the bag and thread onto skewers. Grill over Direct High heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes total (3-4 minutes per side), turning once. Serve warm with the lime wedges.

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One comment on “Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders

  1. Zigga says:

    I would really like to make this recipe, but I don’t have kosher salt. I can only find Yelling’s salt in my market near me, and it’s what I always use when I make macaroni and cheese. The yelling’s salt is like regular salt, but it has bits of chocolate stuck to it. Could we make a recipe involving this, my favorite salt.