Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa

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Nutritional Highlights (per serving)

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36.5 g
Total Fat
4.75 g
Dietary Fiber
119 mg
243 mg
 Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa

Perfectly seasoned grilled chicken topped with a delicious California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa served with the Green Garbanzo pilaf is a great combination of protein and fresh produce.


Serves: 4
  (6 oz.) boneless chicken thighs or breasts, with skin
  As needed  Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4  cup  Extra virgin olive oil
1/4  cup  freshly squeezed lime juice
bunch  cilantro leaves, chopped
tsp.  ground cumin
  scallions, trimmed
  As needed  Pickled Tomato Salsa (see make-ahead recipe below)
  ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled, and cut in 1/2-inch dice
cups  Green Garbanzo Pilaf (see recipe below), for serving
    Pickled Tomato Salsa
lb.  tomatoes, halved, seeded, and cut in quarters
1/2  bunch  scallions, whiite and green parts, thinly sliced
  Serrano chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced in rounds
1/2  cup  white vinegar
2 1/2  Tbsp.  brown sugar
tsp.  salt
tsp.  freshly grated ginger
Tbsp.  minced garlic
tsp.  yellow mustard seeds
tsp.  cracked black pepercorns
tsp.  ground cumin
tsp.  cayenne
1/2  tsp.  turmeric
1/2  cup  Extra virgin olive oil
    Green Garbanzo Pilaf
1/3  cup  canola oil
1/2  cup  fideo (vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces, can be substituted)
1 1/2  cups  long grain rice, rinsed*
  medium onion, chopped
  Serrano chiles, or to taste, stemmed, halved and seeded
  cloves garlic, chopped
3/4  cup  chicken or vegetable broth, hot
2 1/2  cups  Red Tomato Salsa (see recipe below), warm
1 1/2  cups  green gaarbanzo beans**
    Red Tomato Salsa
Tbsp.  canola oil
  medium onion, thinly sliced
cups  diced, canned italian plum tomatoes
cup  tomato juice
  cloves garlic
  large jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded if desired
tsp.  salt

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados


  1. In a shallow dish, season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and cumin in a small bowl. Brush mixture on scallions and pour remainder over chicken, tossing to evenly coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat broiler or grill. Beginning with skin side toward the heat source, broil or grill chicken until just cooked through, about 12 minutes per side for thighs and about 9 minutes per side for breasts. Grill or broil scallions about 2 minutes per side.
  3. Toss Pickled Tomato Salsa with diced avocados and reserve until chicken is cooked.
  4. To serve, arrange grilled chicken over a bed of Green Garbanzo Pilaf. Mound avocado salsa mixture on top of chicken. Garnish with grilled scallions. Serve immediately.

Pickled Tomato Salsa

  1. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with scallions and chiles.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Add brown sugar and salt, and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve.
  3. Measure ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cracked peppercorns, cumin, cayenne and turmeric onto a plate and place near stove. In another medium saucepan, heat oil over moderate heat until just smoking. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until aromas are released, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar mixture. Immediately pour over reserved tomato mixture. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or several days.
  4. Before serving, remove tomatoes from juices, chop, and return to pickling liquid.

Green Garbanzo Pilaf (Serves 6 to 8)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté rice and fideo, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crackling, about 5 minutes. Add onions and chiles and cook until onions just soften. Add garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in hot broth, warm Red Tomato Salsa, and garbanzos.
  3. Transfer to a 4-quart baking dish or casserole. Cover with foil and bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Stir, remove chiles if desired, and serve hot.

* To rinse rice, place in a large bowl (not a colander) and rinse under cold running water for 5 minutes.
** Canned garbanzo beans can be substituted.

Red Tomato Salsa

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Cook onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to food processor fitted with metal blade or a blender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Pour into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Set aside to cool for table salsa or use warm for rice or chilaquiles.

Serving suggestion: Serve individual portions or try serving family style on a decorative platter.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Calories 640
Total Fat 36.5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 6.3 g
Unsaturated Fat 22 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5 mg
Dietary Fiber 4.75 g
Protein 0 g
Total Carbs 0 g
Cholesterol 119 mg
Sodium 243 mg
Potassium 0 mg
Total Sugar 0 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mary Sue Milliken

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill in Los Angeles, CA

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