California Avocado season has ended.

Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa

Total time:

25 min

Prep time:


Cook time:

25 min

Nutritional Highlights (Per serving) See Full
640 Calories
36.5 g Fat
4.75 g Fiber
243 mg Sodium
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

4 (6 oz.) boneless chicken thighs or breasts, with skin
As needed Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
4 scallions, trimmed
As needed Pickled Tomato Salsa (see make-ahead recipe below)
2 ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled, and cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 cups Green Garbanzo Pilaf (see recipe below), for serving
As needed Pickled Tomato Salsa
1 lb. tomatoes, halved, seeded, and cut in quarters
1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 Serrano chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced in rounds
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
As needed 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*
1 medium onion, chopped
5 Serrano chiles, or to taste, stemmed, halved, and seeded
2 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 garbanzo beans**
As needed Red Tomato Salsa
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cups diced, canned Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice
2 cloves garlic
1 large jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded if desired
1 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.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 640
Total Fat 36.5 g (Sat 6.3 g, Poly 5 g, Mono 22 g)
Cholesterol 119 mg
Sodium 243 mg
Dietary Fiber 4.75 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.

About the author

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


(1 Ratings)