Tender juicy spicy Mexican chicken with bright fruity salsa. There's a lot of flavor packed into this dish, from the chili-lime and brown sugar marinade to the delicious salsa. I make this dish often. It's relatively easy and everyone loves it.
Hands-on time for this recipe is very little. Let the chicken marinate for an hour or two. Make the salsa. Thread the chicken onto skewers and grill.
If ripe nectarines are elusive, use fresh pineapple or mango. What we're after here is a fruit that's fresh and sweet with a bit of tartness, to balance out the salty, salty, spicy, tangy flavors of the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeño, avocado, salt and lime juice.
The salsa is really something!
You'll want to spoon it over everything.
It would be great with any grilled chicken, grilled fish, steak or even just scooped onto a tortilla chip.
But it's especially great with this delicious grilled Mexican chicken!
Many of my favorite treasured recipes come from friends. This one was given to me by my friend Rachel Reid who has an unmistakable flair for cooking.
Rachel is an interior decorator with her own company: Reid Design, Inc. In a previous life she was a personal chef. Though she no longer cooks professionally, Rachel is a passionate foodie who gets as excited as I do about sharing her favorite recipes.
A big "Thank You!" to Rachel for sharing this fantastic recipe for Mexican spiced grilled chicken with nectarine salsa. I love it. I can't imagine a more perfect summer dish.
How To Make This Mexican Chicken with Nectarine Salsa
The recipe is easily manageable for a weeknight: marinate the chicken for an hour or two, make the salsa, grill the chicken and enjoy!
- Marinate The Chicken: Combine the marinade ingredients, chili powder, garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil and lime juice, add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for an hour or two. Thread chicken pieces onto 8 (12-inch) metal skewers.
- Make The Salsa: Combine the ingredients: nectarines, red bell pepper, red onion, avocado, cilantro, salt and lime juice.
- Grill The Chicken: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook the chicken kebabs for about 6 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the salsa.
Food blogging can be a lonely business. It's so great having a pal in the kitchen.
After the salsa was all chopped and in a crystal bowl, we found ourselves sorting through cilantro stems, looking for the perfect sprigs, both of us wanting to make an artistic statement with the garnish.
I love what Rachel's has to say about her love of food and cooking:
My professional training was in art, and I think my aesthetic sense informs who I am as a chef. For me, the visual presentation of a meal is as important as how everything tastes. I love taking the time to make my food look beautiful, and I believe that effort elevates the whole experience.
Years ago, when I worked as a private chef, I particularly enjoyed the challenge of making meals that my clients loved, while following whatever dietary restrictions were important to them. That created some really interesting culinary challenges, but I think those experiences had a strong influence over how I approach cooking today.
When I cook for my family, I use fresh organic ingredients, and generally cook without gluten or added sugar. I am particularly conscious of how important eating habits are now that I have a house full of teenagers, and I feel especially pleased when I can make a healthy meal that everyone loves.
Tips from The Chef:
- If you can't find ripe nectarines you can substitute diced pineapple or mango.
- The spice rub also works beautifully on shrimp, but cut the marinating time to a half hour.
- If you're short on time, use whole pieces of chicken and skip the skewers.
Here's the recipe for Mexican spiced grilled chicken with nectarine salsa. If you try this recipe, please come back to leave a star rating and a comment and let Rachel and me know what you think!Print
Spicy Mexican Grilled Chicken with Nectarine Salsa
- Total Time: 57 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Spicy marinated Mexican chicken, grilled and topped with beautiful fruit salsa. Weeknight easy. Company worthy. [paleo]
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces or left whole, if you prefer to skip the skewers.
For The Marinade:
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar (or substitute coconut sugar)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
For The Salsa:
- 2 cups finely diced nectarine or mango (about 3 nectarines or 2 mangoes)
- ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 small jalapeño or Serrano pepper seeded and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 peeled avocado finely diced
- Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl: brown sugar (2 tablespoons), chili powder (1 tablespoon), garlic (1 tablespoon), salt (1 teaspoon), cumin (1 teaspoon), pepper (½ teaspoon), olive oil (2 tablespoons), and lime juice (2 tablespoons). Mix well. Add chicken and stir to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two. Thread chicken pieces onto 8 (12-inch) metal skewers.
- Combine salsa ingredients except the avocado: nectarine (2 cups), red bell pepper (½ cup), red onion (¼ cup), Jalapeno, cilantro (2 tablespoons), salt (1 teaspoon), and lime juice (2 tablespoons). Mix well. Gently stir in the avocado.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook the chicken kebabs for about 6 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the salsa!
Make this in a skillet or grill pan: When it's not grilling season or if you prefer to cook inside, you can use a skillet (preferably cast iron) or grill pan for this recipe. Heat the pan over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon or two of of high smoke point oil such as avocado oil or canola. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook it in batches, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in July 2014. It was updated in January 2020 with new photos, added nutritional information, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe.]
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: Grilled Mexican chicken with fruit salsa, spicy marinated grilled chicken,
I've done both chicken and shrimp and it is absolutely delicious!!!!
Love this recipe!
Wow!!!! Made this now about 5 times me and my friends love it!!!!
Made this last night with ripe peaches from the farmers market & it was AMAZING! Only change was I forgot to but avocado. Today we'll use the leftover chicken & salsa to make quesadillas! Yum!
I made this last night for a small dinner party and it was fantastic. Because nectarines aren't in season I substituted with fresh mango and pineapple. Served over brown rice cooked in chicken broth, this was such a crowd pleaser. Thanks so much to you and Rachel for such a fantastic dish. lovin your Blog - keep up the great work!! Sheryl
Thanks Sheryl! I love the mango and pineapple substitutions! It's not always easy to find ripe nectarines so it's great to have alternatives.
This sounds so delicious and I love that fresh, colorful salsa!! It was so great to meet you at the conference. I hope we can stay in touch!!
I met Rachel in VT over 4th of July weekend and we bonded over food. She mentioned she'd be featured in this blog and I here I am checking it out as promised - wonderful post. I will definitely be reusing the salsa recipe often - I love the idea of using different kinds of fruit! Great to meet you Rachel and thank you for turning me onto a new, great blog! Cheers! Ahu
I just took a peek at your blog, Ahu. Such great looking recipes! I love Persian food. Glad to connect and I'm so glad you liked Rachel's recipe and the post!
Carol at Wild Goose Tea
Yep, your friend Rachel does have a flair for cooking. How nice of you to feature her recipes and share with the rest of us. The salsa is out of this world!
I made this last night and everyone loved it!
And, it's BEAUTIFUL on the plate!
Glad Nina! Thanks for letting me know!!
Amazing photos! Can't wait to try it.
The first 2 photos are absolutely amazing! Can't wait to try this!
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ)
What fun Lisa and what a delicious looking dish - will store it away for when nectarines are in season here - a few months away yet.