Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri is the perfect flavorful late summer way to change up your grilling routine with Latin flair!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
With fall fast approaching, we're trying to make the most of all of our garden goodness--especially our basil. Sure would be wonderful if basil could be hardy like rosemary and make it through our southern winter. In no time, we'll be paying $2.99 for a measly sprig. Kills me!
We normally make pesto--lots and lots of pesto--but we still have some in our freezer from last year. Because of that, I'm super excited to share my latest and most favorite way to use and preserve all that summer basil. This Spicy Basil Chimichurri!
Spicy Basil Chimichurri is super easy to make and could possibly kick pesto to the curb as my way to preserve the summer bounty of basil! It's perfect with this Grilled Citrus Chicken for a Latin American-inspired light, healthy and super-flavorful way to close out your summer!
What is chimichurri?
Classic chimichurri, the vinegary, garlicky, herbaceous Argentinian condiment is generally made from parsley or parsley and cilantro. Oregano is often included and it's served with grilled and barbecued meats. I think it's also great with pork, fish, chicken and even vegetables. I recently pushed the envelope and made a Purslane Chimichurri for my Waste Not feature.
How to make Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri:
- First, mix up the marinade. Combine fresh orange juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, oregano, vinegar, Worcestershire and some ground chipotle for a little kick!
- Pour the marinade into a zipper-top bag along with boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Chicken Freezer and Meal Prep Tips:
- Buy chicken breasts in bulk on sale.
- Trim them up so they're ready to cook when you need them.
- Place two chicken breasts halves in the bag so they lie flat and side-by-side in 1-quart freezer zipper-top bags.
- Date, seal tightly then place in the freezer. We like to combine three to four 1-quart bags in a gallon-size bag just to keep like dates together.
- When you need chicken for a recipe, take out just what you need. Because you packaged the chicken with only two breasts per bag, they'll thaw faster than a large package would and you can add the marinade directly to the bag!
- I like to use zipper-top bags to marinate chicken (and most proteins) because the marinade envelopes the protein more fully and you can just toss the bag and all when you're done.
- Be sure to place the bag on a plate or in a bowl just in case the bag leaks.
Just before grilling the chicken, make the Spicy Basil Chimichurri:
- Combine all the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor: Fresh basil, fresh parsley, a little onion, garlic, a jalapeno pepper or two, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper....
- And that's it!
This Spicy Basil Chimichurri recipe makes more than you'll need to accompany the Citrus Grilled Chicken. Simply freeze the rest in small containers for a taste of summer all winter long! Because of the parsley, it won't turn a funky brown color as all-basil pesto does.
Citrus Grilled Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri for a late summer Latin American celebration!
For some great side ideas, check out:
For more easy and healthy chicken recipes, try my:
- Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce
- Chicken with Romesco Sauce and Saffron Cauliflower Rice
- Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Guacamole and Salsa Fresca
- Chicken Scallopini with Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille
- Sheet Pan Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives and Lemon
- Bruschetta Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
- Cuban Chicken and Black Bean – Quinoa Bowls
- Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri
Marinade and Chicken
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 3 heaping cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 heaping cup Italian parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic - chopped
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers - seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ large lemon - juiced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh basil leaves and orange wedges - for garnish
Marinade and Chicken
- Whisk together orange juice, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, oregano, salt, chipotle powder and black pepper.
- Pour into a zipper-top plastic bag.
- Add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Preheat a grill over medium-high heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill. (Reserve some of the marinade. Reduce heat to medium-low. Close the lid and cook 6-8 minutes on the first (top) side.
- Flip the chicken, brush with some of the marinade and cook another 6-8 minutes on the second side or until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees. Discard remaining marinade.
- Just before grilling the chicken, combine all the ingredients for the chimichurri in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- TO SERVE: Place chicken on a platter. Drizzle with chimichurri and garnish with fresh basil leaves and orange wedges.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Dorothy Reinhold says
I think that chicken sounds amazing and then you go and add that chimichurri. I could eat it with a spoon!
Thanks so much, Dorothy! Hope you enjoy!
Karen Kerr says
I love chimichurri but have never tried it with basil! Or chicken! This looks delicious.
Thanks, Karen! It's a really versatile sauce! I thought it only went with meat but it's great with anything. Thanks again!
Ansh Dhar says
I am stealing this one for my daughter. She loves chicken and citrus together!! Great recipe!
Thanks, Ansh! Hope she enjoys! We sure did!
susan | the wimpy vegetarian says
I love chimichurri sauce, and often use it on my cauliflower 'steaks'. It's sooooo good. I typically make mine with oregano, so I'll have to try this version with basil!
Thanks so much, Susan! Oooohhh... I love the idea of putting it with cauliflower! Great idea and I'm going to try! Thanks again!
Jane Bonacci says
What a beautiful entree Carol! Healthy and mouth-watering deliciousness in every bite!
Thank you, Jane!
Tamara Andersen says
I love the spicy basil chimichurri idea! I love pesto too, but this border girl loves a little heat. Lol. The marinade is perfect too... I can't wait to give this healthy recipe a try. BTW, we were on the same wavelength this month?
Thanks, Tamara! Ha! Must have been! Hope you enjoy!
Lynn Hill says
The Basil Chimichurri Sauce sounds delicious. Although I don't grow it myself, I often buy plants from the supermarket to have on my windowsill. I'm often looking for different sauces to add to pasta. This sounds a great alternative.
Thank you, Lynn! Hope you enjoy!
Ooh, what a marvelous use of garden basil!!! And there is always chicken in our freezer. Can’t wait to give this yummy recipe a try!!!
Thanks, Liz! I'm thrilled to have found another use for all the basil we have. Hope you enjoy!