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grilled lemon-herb chicken with mint drizzle

May 25, 2011

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I’m so glad you came back.  I was afraid I might have scared you off with that black cloud of grilling hanging over my website, so to speak.  But the important message in yesterday’s blog is that even though grilling animal protein is not the most healthful way to cook, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount of carcinogens that form when you grill.  That, and you may want to think twice about grilling every night and just do it occasionally.  As promised, I have a great recipe for grilled chicken that satisfies more than one of the criteria for safer grilling.

I have been making this chicken since I had dinner at my friend Joaquin’s house many years ago.  Joaquin is one of those people who always responds with a “it was so easy” when you eat something delicious at his home and ask him how he made it.  One of the reasons I adore him is that he is always right.  Take for instance the time he made me “chocolate oatmeal,” which was nothing more than regular rolled oats cooked with water and then finished with chocolate soymilk.  I have since changed it up with chocolate hemp milk and I am thinking I should do a post on it because it is so good and “so easy.”  But then again, I just gave you the recipe in one sentence!  Regardless, I was having dinner one night on his lovely patio many summers ago and he served me the best grilled shrimp ever.  It was simply marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, herbs and salt and threaded on bamboo skewers.  I’m sure it helped that he grilled them perfectly.  That shrimp dish just reinforced in my mind that when you start with good, fresh ingredients, you don’t have to do much to make something delicious.

So what does this have to do with chicken?  I’m getting to it.  After I overdosed that summer on grilled lemon-herb shrimp, I decided it was too good a recipe to retire so why not just put it on something that wasn’t shrimp.  Chicken!  And it has been my stand-by grilled chicken dish ever since.  My favorite way to make it is the way the recipe is written here with mint, parsley and thyme, but you can vary the herbs based on what you have available.  On Saturdays in the summer, we’ll have friends come down for the day and I will very often grill up a bunch of lemon-herb chicken cutlets and put them out for a make-your-own-sandwich buffet before we head out to the beach.  Even without the herbs, sometimes I’ll grill the chicken to use for sandwiches in the kids’ lunch boxes instead of deli turkey, which I think is a little scary. I don’t know when I came up with the mint drizzle, but it was probably when I had lots more time on my hands.  I will make the drizzle if we have people over, but not usually on a weeknight since the chicken is perfectly tasty without it.  Yeah, yeah.  I know what you’re thinking — but it looks so easy!

grilled lemon-herb chicken with mint drizzle

serves 6

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half to make cutlets, about 2 pounds
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (mint, parsley, thyme is a good combo)
2 teaspoons sea salt or additive-free kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mint Drizzle:
1 cup fresh mint leaves
pinch of red chili flakes
3 Tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
pinch sea salt
a teaspoon or so of raw honey
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons plain whole or low-fat yogurt ( I like Straus Family), optional

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a shallow, nonreactive container. Add chicken cutlets and toss to coat well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours and up to overnight.  If you are doing this at the last minute, marinate the chicken at room temperature for an hour and it will still be delicious.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. To make mint drizzle: Combine everything except yogurt in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides halfway through. Pour mint mixture into a small serving bowl and stir in yogurt to desired consistency.
  5. Grill chicken 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with mint drizzle, if desired.

**Many herb combinations are great with lemon chicken. Other herbs to consider are dill, oregano, basil, cilantro, tarragon or rosemary. Although the mint drizzle works best if there is mint in the marinade, too.

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24 Responses to “grilled lemon-herb chicken with mint drizzle”

  1. nadia says:

    hi there~
    this dish is wonderful! it was very easy and quick. as everyone else mentioned the sauce went quickly,,make double the amount. I made a simple couscous with raisin and pinenuts,,and then, a raspberry and ice cream layered pound cake for dessert. the ease with which this all came together was excellent.

  2. nadia says:

    hi there~ is there a rule of thumb on how many I can broil at once in an oven..ie two trays of 5?? I don’t want them to steam,,i have to cook 16 for the family. and could you give me an approximate time for cooking?
    again,,it is wonderful to have found your site-with the pictures and all your ideas,,and the helpful hints from the readers. it is a little community. LOL

    • Pamela says:

      welcome to the community, nadia! in order to broil, you need everything in one layer on a broiling pan or similar. if your oven can only fit one pan under the broiler at one time, then you need to broil in batches. depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, broil a total of 10-15 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. let me know if I am not clear here!

  3. jan alwine says:

    Thanks, I am going to try it.

  4. Lisa says:

    WOW!!!! I scored in the kitchen last night, Pamela! I never knew mint could be so delicious! I decided to grill additional chicken…and my oldest enjoyed leftovers “cold” with the drizzle and he said it was even better the next day! Thank you for making me look so good :)

  5. Isabella says:

    I made this for my dinner party on Saturday. The chicken was fantastic and the mint drizzle had a very fresh taste to it. My guests loved it! Thank goodness I made extra. They were actually using the mint drizzle on everything else they were eating.

  6. debbie says:

    Perfect! Just in time for grilling season. Mint is not usually an herb I buy on a regular basis but this recipe was SO DELICIOUS that I planted mint in my vegetable garden. Can’t wait to make it again. So different and refreshing!

    • Pamela says:

      So glad you liked it! I am nuts about mint, but be careful where you plant it. It is best to keep it contained, otherwise it will take over your universe. You might think “how can one have too much mint?” But believe me, once that root system takes hold, you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried!

  7. cheryl says:

    Just made this, but I broiled it and it’s excellent!

  8. Rebecca Foster says:

    This was a huge hit! Since my dad’s quintuple bypass surgery in April, he has been eating chicken, chicken, and more chicken. When he arrived for dinner, he was feeling underwhelmed at the thought of yet another chicken dish. This meal WOWed him. He loved it as the flavors are subtle yet distinctive, and he felt like it was something special. And, I even forgot to put out the mint drizzle that I had made earlier in the day!

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks, Rebecca. I think what was most special about the chicken was that YOU made it! Put the leftover mint sauce over some cooked quinoa. Yum!

  9. Kelly says:

    A RAVE review for this chicken dish tonight from my husband who’s always looking for “something different and healthy” as well as my three daughters who are 9, 7 and 4. I served it with the filling for your frittata (chard/onion/garlic sauted in olive oil) as a side dish. Now I have muesli in the frig for tomorrow morning. THANK YOU for reinvigorating my tired kitchen!!

  10. M.B. says:

    This dish is fabulous!. I served it on a bed of arugola tossed with the same “drizzle” and I couldn’t think of a better way to start our outdoor grilling season……
    Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

  11. cristina says:

    Okay! This dish is my favorite dish! It is so light and delicious. I made it for dinner tonight and my picky husband ate it. I really like the idea of using raw honey and yogurt to combine with the mint leaves, olive oil, and pepper flakes. It gave the chicken such delicious flavors.

  12. holiana sapinsley says:

    hi pamela
    thanks so much for your fabulous recipes & humor! the grilling article was great. folks need to be aware of that. since I don’t have a grill, what would be the best way to bake this chicken [it sounds too good to pass up]…. oven temp. & time?
    our thinking is so in alignment about food, it’s fun for me to meet a “soul food sister”.

    • Pamela says:

      Welcome, Holiana! You know, you’re better off without a grill. I would broil the chicken breasts in the oven or use a cast iron grill pan, if you have that. If you broil (which is just reverse grilling), you can do the chicken cutlets as shown in the recipe or skewers. In my oven I like to broil with the rack on the second set of rungs. The chicken should cook just fine this way, but if it gets too brown, just finish it off by baking it.

  13. Lois says:

    The mint in this dish really makes it special. I served this dish so many times last summer but we never tired of it. Now that our mint is back, it’s time to bring out the “drizzle”. So delicious!

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