Grilled Chicken with Peach Jalapeño Salsa ~ this lightning quick meal is low calorie, low fat, low carb, gluten free, Whole 30 and Paleo compliant, not to mention Weight Watchers friendly. But more importantly, it’s healthy and insanely delicious.
I have a confession…I’ve got a lazy streak when it comes to marinating. I know, that’s not smart. Marinating can make all the difference in the taste of meats, fish, and poultry, and all you have to do is think a little bit ahead. Not my strong suit, but I’m redeeming myself today with this fabulous grilled chicken with peach jalapeño salsa. I could have left well enough alone and let the salsa do all the heavy lifting as far as flavor goes, but a quick hour in a baggie, right on the counter, will pay off in spades, I promise. Skinless boneless chicken breasts are easy and healthy for sure, but they need a little nudge in the flavor and texture department.
TIP: Even if you think you don’t have time to marinate, throw it on the chicken while you prep the salsa, any amount of time helps the chicken absorb flavor and stay moister as it grills.
You can’t go wrong with the combination of fruit and spicy jalapeño pepper, it’s a good one, and it seems much more sophisticated than it really is. A novice cook can pull of this meal easily and everybody will be impressed.
This peach and jalapeño salsa is so good ~ and good for you ~ that you’ll find excuses to make it over and over again ~ it’s really sensational with plain old corn chips. The secret is to use ripe but still firm peaches. The red onion and jalapeño add such a nice kick…if you’ve tried my STRAWBERRY JALAPEÑO SALSA then you know how good this combination of sweet and heat can be.
The marinade is simple, but, like I said, makes a big difference, so just do it. The nice thing is you can leave it for 15 minutes, or over night, but of course the longer it sits the bigger the payoff.
When it’s time to cook the chicken you can do it on your charcoal grill or in a grill pan on the stove. I use my trusty grill pan to get great grill marks, which I think really add to the visual appeal of chicken breasts. Cook it just until it reads 165F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part.
TIP: Pound the breasts to thin them out a bit before cooking. This helps them cook faster, more evenly, and prevents them from drying out from too much time on the grill or in the oven. Lots of markets sell thin cut breasts, and breast cutlets, which are other good alternatives.
You can see the one breast I didn’t pound, below. The minute I put it on the grill I realized my mistake, and quickly pounded the other three, it really does makes a difference! Just put the breasts in a baggie, or between layers of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet, or even a rolling pin to pound them until they are evenly flattened. You don’t have to go crazy, just a few good whacks should do it. Bonus points for doing this before you marinate, so there’s more meat surface to absorb all those flavors.
The chicken can be served hot right off the grill, with the cool salsa on top, along with some couscous, quinoa, rice, and a veg. But you could also serve it chilled and sliced, maybe with a side salad.
This is a people pleaser, I highly recommend it! It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate peach season.
~ I passionately believe in buying the most responsibly raised chicken you can afford, and if you’re interested in the topic like I am, you can get facts and suggestions here. Buying this type of chicken is more expensive, and if this is an issue I suggest cutting your portions down to make it more affordable. My grilled chicken with peach jalapeño salsa is labeled for 4 servings, but there’s no reason you couldn’t get 8 servings out of it ~ just bump up your sides, or slice it and serve it on a big pile of greens.
Grilled Chicken with Peach Jalapeño Salsa
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- olive oil for brushing the grill
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 ripe but firm peaches, washed
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- lime wedges
- Pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap so they are a little thinner, maybe about 1/2 inch. Put the chicken in a shallow container, or into a gallon sized zip lock bag.
- Whisk the marinade together and add it to the chicken. Massage it into the meat, seal the container or bag, and set in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
- For the salsa, cut the peaches into a small dice...no need to peel them. Add to a bowl.
- Mince the red onion and the jalapeño pepper. Leave the seeds in for extra heat, or leave them out if you like. Add the cilantro and lime juice and toss. Refrigerate until needed.
- Grill the chicken on a hot charcoal grill or on the stove top, about 5-7 minutes per side, or until done in the center ~ an instant read thermometer should read 165 when inserted into the thickest part.
- Serve the chicken with the salsa on top. Garnish with lime wedges.
- This is a no-brainer for kids, just leave out the chiles.
- Thighs? Yes!
- Use another seasonal stone fruit like apricot or plums in place of the peaches. Even cherries.